Barcelona have dropped down to ninth in the league after losing to rivals Real Madrid 2-1 at the Nou Camp, in a Clásico that felt far adrift from those we are used to seeing. For the first time in 17 years, the two Spanish giants faced each other without the presence of either Lionel Messi or Sergio Ramos, with both players having joined Paris Saint Germain in the summer.
David Alaba got Real off the mark in the 32nd minute, scoring his first goal for the club, and Lucas Vasquez made it two in the third minute of stoppage time. Sergio Aguero scored his first goal for Barcelona, after coming off the bench, but in the 97th minute it was never going to be anything more than a consolation
It was a lacklustre performance from Barça, but many will consider it a sign of the times. With the club practically handcuffed in the transfer market by their debt, having let some of their big names go over the last couple of years, and not being able to bring in any adequate replacements, Barcelona is not the powerhouse of old.
Ronald Koeman is under immense pressure, and rumours are already beginning to circulate that he will be sacked any day.
Also on Sunday, reigning champions Atlético Madrid only managed a 2-2 draw at home to Real Sociedad whose strong start to the season puts them top of the league table. Sevilla are up to third after a 5-4 win over Levante.
On Wednesday evening, Barcelona grabbed their first Champions League win of the season by beating Dynamo Kiev 1-0, after having lost their previous two group games.
Gerard Pique, who voluntarily took a paycut this season to help his club through their financial woes, bagged the only goal of the game in the first half, to lift his side off the bottom of their group and up into third. In Barça’s previous two fixtures, they had conceded a total of six, were yet to score a single goal and had only registered one shot on target.
On the same night, Villarreal picked up a 4-1 away win against Swiss side Young Boys, whilst Sevilla gained a point from a 0-0 draw at Lille. Real Madrid, on the other hand, came out firing on all cylinders on Tuesday evening by smashing Shakhtar Donetsk 5-0 in the Ukraine. They are now level on six points with group leaders Sheriff Tiraspol who have got off to a dream start in Europe this season.
Atlético Madrid will feel hard done by to have come away from their Tuesday evening match with nothing. The Spanish champions lost 3-2 to at home to Liverpool despite coming back from two goals down and having Antoine Griezmann sent off shortly after he had scored a brace. To rub salt in the wounds, Liverpool’s win came from a late penalty whilst Atlético should have also been awarded one, but were not. At the full time whistle, Diego Simeone stormed down the tunnel, refusing to shake hands with Jurgen Klopp.
Sunday 24 October
Sevilla 5 Levante 3
Barcelona 1 Real Madrid 2
Real Betis 3 Rayo Vallecano 2
Atlético Madrid 2 Real Sociedad 2
Saturday 23 October
Valencia 2 Mallorca 2
Cádiz 0 Alavés 2
Elche 2 Espanyol 2
Athletic Bilbao 2 Villarreal 1
Friday 22 October
Osasuna 1 Granada 1
Monday 18 October
Alavés 0 Real Betis 1
Espanyol 2 Cádiz 0
UEFA Champions League
Wednesday 20 October
Barcelona 1 Dynamo Kiev 0
Young Boys 1 Villarreal 4
Lille 0 Sevilla 0
Tuesday 18 October
Atlético Madrid 2 Liverpool 3
Shakhtar Donetsk 0 Real Madrid 5
Thursday 21 October
SK Sturm Graz 0 Real Sociedad 1
Real Betis 1 Bayer Leverkusen 1