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La Liga 2021-22: Matchday 26 recap

La Liga
Ace Football

Ace Football presents a detailed view of the fixtures played in the 26th gameweek of the La Liga campaign.

Another matchday of La Liga action ended on Monday as teams locked horns with their opponents during the weekend. Ten matches took place across Spain, with the exciting race on top of the league table continuing.

As we prepare for another week of La Liga football, let’s review our main takeaways from Matchday 26.

Levante 3-0 Elche

Elche came into the game as the favourites, but Elche managed to surprise them with a brilliant attacking performance.

It was a continuation of their much-improved form in recent weeks, which has resulted in the rock-bottom side winning two of their last three league games. 

Los Franjiverdes will face Athletic Bilbao in their next game on Monday. Having beaten Atletico Madrid, we expect the Valencia-based club to put up a decent fight against Bilbao too.

Mallorca 0-1 Valencia

Valencia ended their run of five winless league games by clinching a narrow win over Mallorca. Their opponents dominated the game, registering 23 shots vs Valencia’s eight attempts.

However, it was a good start for the Bats to bounce back from their recent form. They remain in ninth place for now but see Celta Vigo lurking behind them, being only a point down.

Next week, Valencia will meet Granada, who are pushing to maintain their four-point gap above the relegation zone.

Getafe 2-2 Alaves

One of the most exciting matches of the weekend saw Getafe escape a home defeat against the Basque side. Alaves fought hard to go ahead two times, but a brace from Enes Unal prevented them from bagging the three points.

As they also showed against Real Madrid last week, Alaves’ main weakness is their defence. They will face one of the best backlines of the league next week as they take on Sevilla on Friday.

Rayo Vallecano 0-1 Real Madrid

Real Madrid achieved back-to-back victories in La Liga after their underwhelming performance against PSG in the Champions League. 

Unlike that game, the Blancos dominated the game against Rayo but failed to convert their chances. It was Karim Benzema’s mission to score a late winner for the Blancos, and he did it in the 83rd minute.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side maintained their four-point lead at the top of the table. They are now preparing to host Real Sociedad on Saturday before meeting PSG for the second leg of their last-16 tie.

Atletico Madrid 2-0 Celta Vigo

As we pointed out in our guide for the weekend’s matches, Atletico returned to their conservative style of play against Celta Vigo.

Simeone’s side sat back and let their guests have the possession. Renan Lodi scored two goals in the 36th and the 60th minutes to win the game for the Rojiblancos.

On Sunday, Atletico will face Real Betis as they hope to leapfrog Barcelona and reclaim their fourth spot on the table.

Villarreal 5-1 Espanyol

Villareal smashed Espanyol as they continued their brilliant form of recent weeks. Uani Emery’s side quickly dismantled Espanyol’s defence at El Madrigal, scoring three goals in the first half.

The Yellow Submarines are now on a six-game unbeaten run, which includes a 1-1 draw against Juventus in the Champions League. Before facing Bianconeri again, Villarreal will have to meet Osasuna in the coming weekend. 

Real Sociedad 1-0 Osasuna

Both sides completely set aside their attacking tactics used in the recent weeks in preparation for this game. Sociedad had more dangerous chances and converted one of their five shots on target to win the game.

It was a good bounce back for Sociedad after their Europa League defeat against Leipzig last week. They reclaimed the sixth spot on the table with the victory ahead of an upcoming game against Real Madrid on Saturday.

Sevilla 2-1 Real Betis

Sevilla faced Betis a day after their top-of-the-table opponents, Real Madrid, beat Rayo Vallecano. The Nervionenses, however, managed to keep the pressure on the league leaders with another home win.

Ivan Rakitic and Munir El Haddadi scored for Sevilla in the first half, before Sergio Canales got one back for Betis late in the second period.

Sevilla will face Alaves on Friday before hosting West Ham in an exciting Europa League battle six days later.

Barcelona 4-0 Athletic Bilbao

Barca have enjoyed a truly incredible form since the end of the January transfer window. Xavi’s side are smashing their opponents left and right, with their new signings quickly integrating into his plans.

You can check out the game’s complete report and player ratings here.

It was another crushing performance from the Catalans’ attacking unite. Ousmane Dembele came off the bench to silence his critics with a wonderful performance while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored again.

The Catalans will meet Elche in their next league game as they plan to close the gap with third-placed Betis.

Granada 0-0 Cadiz

The only goalless game of the gameweek saw the two relegation-struggling sides share the points at Los Camenes. Despite being down a man for nearly an hour, Granada managed to get away with a precious draw.

Their opponents, however, were not able to convert any of their four shots on target as their barren run in front of the goal continues. Cadiz will face another struggling side Rayo Vallecano, who have lost all of their last five games.