Sergio Asenjo (Atletico
The young goalkeeper had to pull off nine saves to avoid his Atleti being trampled against Villarreal. He conceded twice in the end but things could have turned out much worse for the sleepy Rojiblancos if it wasn’t for Asenjo. Not for the first time this season, his defense let him down again.
Facundo Roncaglia (Espanyol)
The versatile 22-year-old, on loan from Boca Juniors, had a cracking game against
The Portuguese has become
Nico Pareja (Espanyol)
Together with Roncaglia, Pareja formed a brick wall infront of goal and he was instrumental in marshalling the heart of the Espanyol defence to frustrate
Jesus Navas (Sevilla)
The Spanish international was a livewire throughout the evening against Sporting Gijon, causing headaches down the flank as well as through the middle with a few decent attempts at goal. Made the assist with a determined cross for Frederic Kanoute to score the winning goal for Los Nervionenses.
David Fuster (Villarreal)
The fairly unknown 27-year-old had a barnstorming game against Atletico
Ever Banega (
The 21-year-old Argentine may have ended up on the losing side against Real Madrid, but he was easily his team’s best player. Inventive and industrious in midfield, he dictated Los Che’s attack like a seasoned veteran and had a few scoring chances of his own. A completely unrecognisable player from the struggling, lost youngster who first arrived in
Juan Albin (
Without Roberto Soldado, Albin had to shoulder the goalscoring duties for El Geta, even though he played as an attacking midfielder. The Uruguayan has a knack for scoring just when the team needs it most and he struck twice against
Gonzalo Higuain (Real
‘Pipita’ is finally delivering the goods for Los Blancos this season after an indifferent start amidst the Galacticos rebuilding project. He was the hero for his side again in this round after netting twice at
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (
The big Swede converted his penalty with authority, accuracy and aplomb… and it had to be or Carlos Kameni would have saved it. But it was his all-round performance that allowed the Blaugrana to forget that they were missing Lionel Messi. He’s starting to show that he’s not just there to prod the ball into the back of the net, and that he’s slowly settling in into Barca’s style.
Iker Muniain (Athletic
‘Bartman’ was only on the pitch for 30 minutes for the Basque outfit against Real Zaragoza, but such was his influence that he took just 120 seconds to do what neither his team-mates nor opponents could: carve open the defence and set up a goal. His introduction completely lit up a game devoid of clear-cut chances and 20 minutes later, he made another assist for Athletic.
Roncaglia - Pepe - Pareja
Jesus Navas - Fuster - Banega - Albin
Higuain - Ibrahimovic - Muniain
Carlos Kameni (Espanyol)
Ezequiel Garay (Real
Jeremy Mathieu (
Jose Luis Marti (
Diego Perotti (Sevilla)
Juan Mata (
Karim Benzema (Real
KS Leong, Goal.comWho is the Very Best? Just the coolest world music group right now. They talk about their love of football--Henrik Larsson!--in the DEC/JAN issue of Goal.com Magazine.