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La Liga Team Of The Week: Round 19

Formation: 4-1-4-1

Goalkeeper

Cesar (Valencia) – The 38-year-old pulled off a number of age-defying stops to deny Tenerife as his defenders fell asleep at the back. He made at least half a dozen quality saves, from last-ditch off the line clearances to one-on-one blocks to make sure that Los Che escaped with a point at the Heliodoro. 
 
Defence

Dani Alves (Barcelona) – The Brazilian has gone rather quiet over the past few months, putting in solid but not spectacular performances. But against Real Valldolid on Saturday, he was back to his marauding best as he set up the first goal, scored the second, initiated the third and caused endless panic in the opposition backline with his whiplash crosses.

Julien Escude (Sevilla)
– Los Nervionenses have had to rely a lot on their goalkeeper, Andres Palop in recent games but against Almeria, it was the French centre-back who held his team’s rearguard together. He read the game masterfully and regularly stepped up to midfield to break up the attack. Also made a series of crucial interceptions.

Manolo Martinez (Tenerife) – If Cesar was Valencia’s saviour, then Manolo was the hero for El Tete. The unheralded 29-year-old kept Los Che’s fearsome attacking force at bay and in particular, neutralised the threat from David Villa. Showed great awareness by cutting off crosses left and right.

Joan Capdevila (Villarreal) – El Submarino’s veteran left-back is in hot scoring form this season.  He is now the team’s joint-third leading scorer with four goals after netting from an easy tap-in to open the floodgates against Real Zaragoza. He also had a hand in the second goal and remained vigilant at the back throughout the game.

Midfield

Juca (Deportivo La Coruna) – Depor continued their impressive march in La Liga with a priceless and hard-fought win over potential direct rivals, Athletic Bilbao. And it was thanks to Juca that the Galicians pocketed all three points as the Brazilian netted his side’s second goal as well as running the show from midfield with a mammoth display both in his own half as well as in the opposition half.

Jesus Navas (Sevilla) – The exciting winger is not only showing good form this season, but excellent consistency. Against Almeria, the 24-year-old was again in good stead at the waterlogged Sanchez Pizjuan field. While other players were struggling with the conditions, Navas terrorised the visiting defence with his burst of speed down the right flank, easily taking the ball past opponents.

Xavi (Barcelona) – It was yet another clean, flawless performance from the midfield maestro. He scored Barca’s opening goal against Valladolid with a sweet volley, a goal that he helped create inside his own half before charging 50 yards down to the other end to finish. Quietly dictated his team’s attacks and no one could really get close to him. 

Guti (Real Madrid) – Los Blancos’ vice captain continues his remarkable resurgence. He was put in the starting XI against Malaga for one reason and one reason only, and that was to carve open their defence with his pin-point passing. And he did exactly that, twice, as he got the ball rolling in a brilliant team goal for the opener, before setting up Cristiano Ronaldo for the second.

Manu del Moral (Getafe) – The versatile forward has a tendency to blow hot and cold, but there was nothing of the sort in the mini city derby against his former club, Atletico Madrid. Manu was a menace out on the left flank as he left Atleti’s defenders chasing shadows. He scored the only goal of the game with a backpost tap in to hand El Geta their first ever home victory over Los Colchoneros.

Attack

Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
– An extremely controversial choice, given his reckless sending off in the second half for a swing of the arm that left his opponent with a broken nose. There’s still a debate as to whether or not his conduct was deemed intentional enough to deserve a straight red, but there’s no arguing that he was the hero at the Bernabeu with two goals against a stubborn Malaga side: the first a simple, predatory close range effort and the second a sweetly struck volley.

Cesar

Dani Alves - Escude - Martinez - Capdevila

Juca

Navas - Xavi - Guti - Manu

Ronaldo

Honourable Mentions

Victor Valdes (Barcelona)
Raul Albiol (Real Madrid)
Monreal (Osasuna)
Marcos Senna (Villarreal)
Renato (Sevilla)
David Silva (Valencia)
Nilmar (Villarreal)