Sports Mole's La Liga Team of the Week

:Headline: Sports Mole's La Liga Team of the Week: ID:210381: from db_amp
Sports Mole picks out its 11 star performers from another weekend of enthralling La Liga action.

Real Madrid relinquished first spot in the La Liga table at the weekend, with Barcelona taking charge of first position with only 12 games of the season remaining in Spain's top flight.

Real Madrid were held at home to Villarreal last weekend, but dropped more points on Saturday after losing 1-0 at a resurgent Athletic Bilbao side.

Los Blancos remained top of the table on Saturday evening, but Barcelona's 6-1 drubbing of Rayo Vallecano in Sunday's early start allowed the Catalan outfit to move one point clear at the summit.

It is a case of as you were in the battle for third, meanwhile, as Valencia secured a 1-1 draw at Atletico Madrid on Sunday to remain just one point behind last season's champions in the final Champions League position.

Week 26's action opened in Valencia on Friday evening, with Levante moving out of the relegation zone with a 2-1 victory over struggling Eibar, who have now lost their last seven in the league.

On Saturday, Sevilla maintained their push for the top four with an incredible 4-3 win at Deportivo La Coruna, while Elche beat Almeria 1-0 to move three points clear of the relegation zone.

Malaga travelled to Granada in Saturday's late start with the idea of closing the gap on the top six, but the hosts recorded a 1-0 victory to move within three points of safety following a disastrous run of form.

Real Sociedad maintained their solid home form with a 1-0 victory over Espanyol in Sunday's second fixture, before Villarreal thumped Celta Vigo 4-1 to move within one point of fifth-placed Sevilla.

Week 26's action concluded on Monday evening as Getafe won 2-1 at basement side Cordoba courtesy of two goals in the final five minutes.

Here, Sports Mole picks out its 11 star performers from another weekend of enthralling La Liga action.

Gorka Iraizoz (Bilbao)
Somewhat surprisingly, Iraizoz did not have too many saves to make during Bilbao's 1-0 win over Real Madrid on Saturday, but his calmness and experience proved key. The Spaniard dealt with a number of crosses throughout the match and was quick off his line when needed.

Xabier Etxeita (Bilbao)
The Spanish defender had an excellent match as Bilbao beat Real Madrid 1-0 at San Mames. The centre-back kept the away side's front three at arm's length for long spells, while he made a number of crucial challenges and interceptions. He made Bilbao not miss the talented Aymeric Laporte.
Mateo Musacchio (Villarreal)
Musacchio has faced some criticism in recent months after struggling to produce his form from last season, but the Argentine was back to his best on Sunday. The defender scored Villarreal's second in their 4-1 win over Celta Vigo, but it was his defensive performance that made the biggest impression.
Nicolas Otamendi (Valencia)
The tough-tackling Argentine was an injury doubt for Valencia's trip to Atletico on Sunday, but he was passed fit in the hours leading up to the match. In what was a physical affair, Otamendi rose to the challenge and proved a real tower of strength at the heart of the Los Che defence. Had a super match.

Juan Rodriguez (Getafe)
There might have been better individual performers this week than Rodriguez, but in terms of contribution, there were not many. The midfielder popped up with a 90th-minute winner to help Getafe beat Cordoba on Monday. The victory saw Getafe move five points clear of the drop zone.
Tomas Pina (Villarreal)
Pina is so often the steel in Villarreal's classy midfield, but the Spaniard turned provider this weekend with two assists in his side's 4-1 win over Celta Vigo. The 27-year-old might have had a couple of his own, but he played a crucial role in what was an emphatic and extremely impressive three points.
Mikel Rico (Bilbao)
Rico was the best player on the pitch as Bilbao beat Real Madrid on Saturday. The midfielder assisted Aritz Aduriz for the only goal of the match, but it was his box-to-box performance that impressed the most. Against a star-studded midfield, Rico absolutely ran the show at San Mames.
Vitolo (Sevilla)
The 25-year-old scored twice as Sevilla recorded a 4-3 win at Deportivo in Saturday's early start. Both of the Spaniard's goals were excellent finishes, with his ability to cut inside proving a major threat to the hosts. Vitolo has quickly become one of Sevilla's most important players.

Inaki Williams (Bilbao)
The 20-year-old had a stunning afternoon as Bilbao beat Real Madrid on Saturday. The forward's pace proved a real thorn in the side of Los Blancos, while he was more than willing to track back throughout his 75 minutes on the field. His standing ovation 15 minutes from time said it all.
Luis Suarez (Barcelona)
It was not too long ago that Suarez's performances were being called into question. Well, that is not the case anymore. The forward notched another two goals in Barcelona's 6-1 win over Rayo Vallecano, with his movement in the final third giving the visitors absolute nightmares at Camp Nou.
Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
The Argentine scored his 24th La Liga hat-trick at the weekend as he struck three times against Rayo Vallecano at Camp Nou. On another day, Messi would have had five or six, but his treble moved him onto 30 league goals for the season – the same as Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo.

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La Liga Table
1Real Madrid65102181316
2Atletico MadridAtletico642095414
3Real Sociedad641196313
6Rayo Vallecano6312106410
8Real Betis62319729
9Athletic Bilbao62315329
17Celta Vigo6114610-44
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