MADRID, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- League football returned to Spain over the weekend following the international break with a thrilling game in the Wanda Metropolitan Stadium and Real Madrid moving into second place after a narrow win in Getafe; here are some things we learned in match day 8 of the Liga Santander.
1. League table recovers a familiar look
Although Barca's 1-1 draw away to Atletico Madrid saw them drop their first points of the season, a draw in one of their toughest away games of the campaign is far from a disaster for Ernesto Valverde's side.
Barca were slow to hit top gear against a rival who took the game to them in the first half hour, but were by far the better side in the second half and ended the game with Atletico pinned in their own penalty area.
Leo Messi was the standout man again, despite only returning to Spain on Thursday night after international duty and as long as he stays fit, Barca will always be hard to beat.
Meanwhile Real Madrid move into third place, so after 8 weeks the big two are just about where you expect them to be.
2. Firepower is everything
In truth Real Madrid's 2-1 win away to recently promoted Getafe was far from impressive. With Gareth Bale injured and Luka Modric and Isco both rested, Madrid played in fits and starts against a side that is hard-working and well organized.
However, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo scored the goals which ensured the points went back to the Bernabeu. Benzema with a fine solo goal on his return from injury and Ronaldo with a low drive in the closing minutes.
The Portuguese striker had earlier missed an open goal, but in games such as this the feeling is that he is always going to hit the target sooner or later and that is a luxury most sides don't have.
3. Valencia stake their claim
Sunday night's extraordinary game between Betis and Valencia always promised to be interesting, pitting as it did two of the sides who have most impressed at the start of the campaign.
After 90 frantic minutes Valencia took the points with a stunning 6-3 win to move into second place in the table, separating Barca and Real Madrid.
Whether they can stay there all season is open to debate but for the moment it is not down to luck, but hard work by coach Marcelino and his players. Marcelino began by working on the Valencia defense before introducing fluidity in attack and for the moment they are playing like a side that believes it can win every game. Sevilla are next in town for Valencia in another game for them to show whether or not they are the real deal.
4. Plan A is no use without Plan B
It's fair to say that the Basque derby between Alaves and Real Sociedad was not one for the footballing purists, despite a spectacular atmosphere in the Mendizorroza Stadium.
New Alaves coach Gianni Di Biasi has arrived with a reputation of forming his sides into tight defensive units and it worked when they defeated a flat Levante 2-0 on his debut.
However, if sides don't get a single shot on target in 90 minutes it is hard for them to win games and that is what happened with Alaves o Saturday. They made it hard for their rivals by packing their defense, but as soon as Real Sociedad took the lead in the 77th minute it was game over.
Di Biasi didn't seem to have a Plan B and unless he finds one, although Alaves are tougher to beat, they are still going to be relegated.