This week’s ‘10 things we learned in La Liga’ is dominated by the derby with Madrid giving Atletico a lesson in how to defend and take your chances that was so good it even impressed Diego Simeone.
Racism reared its ugly head before the game but Vinicius and Rodrgyo had the last laugh as Madrid made it nine wins from nine in all competitions this season.
Elsewhere Barcelona beat 10-man Elche with a win built around a red card for the opposition and another Pedri masterclass.
Betis’ Spain centre-forward Borja Iglesias grabbed his own headlines as his team stayed third. And the Williams brothers, Isco and Balde all had a weekend to remember.
Racism is only one ugly comment away from rearing its ugly head
It all started with a debate about dancing – was it disrespectful for a player to jig, bop or samba after he scores a goal as Vinicius had done the week before?
Then a Spanish football agent appearing on a late night football show suggested that Vinicius should go back to Brazil if he wants to dance, and that he shouldn’t ‘act like a monkey’.
This brought all the hard-of-thinking out of their caves and ‘Vinicius is a monkey’ was chanted by a group of Atletico supporters before the Madrid derby started.
Time will tell what action will be taken. As for how things turned out on the night – the dance goes on! Vinicius didn’t score but he did get to celebrate with Rodrygo and with Valverde as both scored as they went top.
Remarkably Madrid don’t miss Benzema
King Karim has missed the last four games and the aggregate score since is 11-2 in Madrid’s favour.
With the Vinicius-Rodrygo tandem and ‘Fede Express’ Valverde arriving from deep Carlo Ancelotti’s side remain an unstoppable attacking force even without their top scoring Frenchman.
Joao we have a problem
At first it looked as if he had disappeared down the tunnel in disgust at being taken off. He then reemerged with ice on his hamstring.
Atletico Madrid’s record signing still hasn’t become the leader of his team’s attack – the role his talent and price-tag both demand him to fill.
Courtois is only human
It didn’t seem that way last season but twice in the Madrid derby he came to punch and made little or no contact.
In the first half he got away with it but on minute 83 Mario Hermoso scored from the mistake.
Simeone misses Diego Costa
‘Watching Real Madrid defend deep and attacking like that reminded me our our Atletico with Costa,’ said Simeone after the game.
It’s the way the manager still wants to play but he can’t because he no longer has the right players.
The Nou Camp is no place for 10 men
‘What was missing from your performance?’ Gerard Gumbau was asked after his team lost 3-0 to Barcelona.
‘Another man’ came back the reply. Elche had Gonzalo Verdu sent off after 18 minutes for hauling down clean-through Robert Lewandowski and from then on in they were picked apart by a Barcelona side playing to the tune of the brilliant Pedri.
The strugglers would have lost anyway but chasing an extra man made it impossible.
Balde’s Barca’s best best left-back
He’s not 19 until next month and he has two Spain internationals to compete with but Alejandro Balde currently looks a better bet than both Jordi Alba and Marcos Alonso.
He managed two more assists at the weekend as Barcelona brushed aside Elche.
Spain have found a centre-forward
He was only called up into the squad last week so the jury will be out for a while longer regards how he fits into Luis Enrique’s side but his club form is off the scale.
Borja Iglesias got two more for Betis as they beat Girona. He now has six goals in six La Liga games.
Williams brothers enjoy being on the same side
Inaki Williams could face brother Nico at the World Cup now that the former has agreed to play for Ghana and the latter has been called up to the Spain squad.
For the time being they are in harness and both scored on Saturday as Athletic Bilbao went fourth.
Isco can still disco
We started with dancing, so let’s finish that way.
Sevilla scrapped to hard-earned draw with Villarreal and again a lean looking Isco was throwing shapes in midfield.
He huffed and puffed like a veteran in his first few games as a substitute but he is now 100 percent and getting a tune out of him looks like Julen Lopetegui’s best plan as the Sevilla coach continues for fight to turn his side’s sorry start to the season around.