Four things we learned from Spain's matchday 9

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-23 16:50:37|Editor: Liangyu
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MADRID, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- Matchday nine of the Liga Santander has been gone with Barcelona remaining top of the table with a 4-point lead over Valencia and 5 over Real Madrid.

Meanwhile at the bottom Malaga remain with one point, while Alaves have just three. Here are some things we learned at the weekend.

1. Valencia get better and better with Guedes the new star

The fact that Valencia won and played well is no longer news this season given that Marcelino Garcia's side kicked the weekend off in second place. What is news is that his side keep getting better and better, netting four goals against Sevilla on the back of a 6-3 win away to Betis last week.

Simone Zaza scored his 8th goal of the season as they swept Sevilla aside on Saturday, but the star of the show was Goncalo Guedes, a 20-year-old winger on loan from Paris Saint Germain. Guedes scored two excellent individual goals and gave an assist (his fifth of the season) for Santi Mina to score Valencia's third of the game. Sevilla never got to grips with his pace and power and he has the Valencia fans in his back pocket.

The question that comes to mind is: how good must the rest of the Paris squad be if they were prepared to loan him out this season?

2. Atletico Madrid return to script: but we should ask for more

Atletico Madrid returned to their old virtues of hard work and good organization to claim a 1-0 win away to Celta Vigo on Sunday thanks to a Kevin Gameiro goal following a set piece.

Atletico spent most of the game in their own half, closing down the spaces and repelling everything Celta could throw at them, but had goalkeeper Jan Oblak and the woodwork to thank for saving the point.

Diego Simeone was clearly pleased by his side's commitment, but he should also be aware that apart from the goal they created just two chances from open play. It's all very well to be well organized, but with the resources Atletico have available to them, we should be asking for more.

3. All not lost for Malaga

Although they have only one point from their first nine games of the season, Malaga coach Michel Gonzalez remained positive following his side's 2-0 defeat away to FC Barcelona.

The under fire coach pointed out that his side fell behind to a goal that should never been given as the ball had previously gone out of play and highlighted the spirit his players showed despite the early setback.

It is not the first time that Malaga have performed well with no reward and the coach can point to narrow defeats against Atletico Madrid and Eibar and a draw at home to Athletic Club Bilbao where they deserved more.

If Malaga lose next weekend they will equal the worst ever start to a season by a side in Spain, but with safety still just two wins away, if Malaga's luck changes, they still have a chance of survival.

4. Ziganda looks lost in Bilbao

When Jose Angel Ziganda replaced Ernesto Valverde at Athletic Club Bilbao this summer, he seemed to be the natural choice. A former team-mate of Valverde, who had spent six seasons coaching the club's B team, he seemed to guarantee continuity, but after nine games the alarm bells are ringing.

That hasn't been the case so far and following Thursday's miraculous 2-2 away to Swedish side Ostersund, who battered them for 90 minutes, some players said they didn't know what the coach wanted from them and that was again clear as they were beaten 1-0 in Leganes on Sunday.

Worryingly for Ziganda, big players for the side such as Aduriz and Raul Garcia and others are not performing and unless he can get them on board he is in deep trouble, especially as next up in San Mames are Barcelona and Valverde.