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Real Sociedad Sets Pace in La Liga

Struggling Barcelona Bigger Disappointment Than Expected

Believe it or not, the third part of La Liga season is gone and things have been tighter than expected. There are no unbeaten teams left, not even one of the powerhouses, and only one team remains winless. It has been so much fun that I can’t wait for the action to resume.

Let’s take a look at what happened in the last La Liga fixture, including how our betting online predictions did. Also, which teams are fighting at the top, the relegation zone and what comes next after the international break.

Adnan Januzaj celebrates with Aritz Elustondo after scoring his team's second goal
ANDER GILLENEA / AFP

La Liga Breakdown

Surprise

Real Sociedad finished as the runners-up for the last time in the 2002-03 season, its best result ever. Well, if the season ended today, they would be champions. They sit in first place with 28 points thanks to an 8-4-1 record. Most recently, they beat Osasuna 2-0. Mikel Oyarzabal is leading the way as the team’s top scorer with six goals.

They’re followed by Real Madrid with 27 points, but Los Blancos have played one less game. Most recently, they beat Rayo Vallecano 2-1, exactly like we predicted. They’ve been a solid soccer pick, especially when playing at home, where they remain unbeaten with a 3-2-0 record.

Reigning champions Atletico Madrid sit in fourth place with 23 points. Los Colchoneros drew in three of their last five games, most recently 3-3 to Valencia. They’re more focused on the UEFA Champions League because they’re in danger of not advancing to the Round of 16.

All three come in as favorites for the next fixture, starting on Nov. 19. Real Sociedad (-125) will face Valencia at home, where they remain unbeaten with a 4-2-0 record. Real Madrid (-270) will hit the road to face Granada. Los Blancos are 4-2-1 against the spread when playing on the road. Finally, Atletico (-320) will have a great chance to return to the winning column against Osasuna.

A New Hope

Lionel Messi left. Antoine Griezmann left. Ronald Koeman stayed. All three were bad decisions by Barcelona’s front office and the results back me up. Barcelona sit in ninth place with 17 points thanks to a 4-5-3 record. We’re not even at the half of the season and they already are 11 points behind first place.

There’s nothing they can do about Messi and Griezmann now, but fortunately they did something about Koeman. They fired him and didn’t waste any time andby signing Xavi Hernandez as his replacement. He’ll try to take advantage of the international break to implement a new mindset and style of play.

“We are the best club in the world, and we will work hard to achieve success. We can’t afford to draw or lose. We are Barça and we have to win every game,” said the new manager during his presentation.

Hernandez will debut at Camp Nou against Espanyol. Los Azulgranas are offering a -280 price at the soccer odds. Their confidence will be up to the roof by then.

Relegation Zone

Elche CF, Levante and Getafe are not having a good time. They’re the current tenants of the relegation zone with 11 and six points. Levante is 0-6-7, the only winless team in the league, but they’re not at the bottom. That place belongs to Getafe with a 1-3-9 record.

Levante will try to get their first victory when Athletic Bilbao visit in the next fixture. They’re offering a +225 price at our sportsbook.

La Liga Top Scorers

Real Madrid is not sitting in first place, but Karim Benzema is. The French striker leads the league’s scoring chart with a three-goal difference over second place. One of his teammates is sharing second place with two other players. Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo left, but there still are plenty of excellent players in La Liga.

Here’s a quick rundown of La Liga’s top scorers:

  • Karim Benzema (Real Madrid): 10
  • Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid): 7
  • Luis Suarez (Atletico Madrid): 7
  • Raul de Tomas (Espanyol): 7
  • Mikel Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad): 6

 

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