David De Gea (Atletico Madrid) – Just one of many of Los Colchoneros’ hero on Sunday night against mighty Barcelona. The youngster was instrumental in Atleti’s superb win at the Calderon as he pulled off a number of excellent saves for over an hour as the Blaugrana laid siege to his goal in an attempt to find an equaliser. Also showed a remarkable safe pair of hands by not letting anything slip past him.
Alvaro Arbeloa (Real Madrid) – The former Deportivo and Liverpool man is starting to grow more comfortable and confidenet taking on the attacking full-back role, swapping duties effortlessly down the flank. He scored the all-important breakthrough goal against Xerez, one that he finished with a striker’s clinical aplomb. Not bad for a defender who had previously only ever scored twice.
Weligton (Malaga) – Like Arbeloa, Weligton scored his side’s vital first goal against Racing Santander with a well taken half-volley on the turn from a set piece. The unheralded Brazilian centre-back also helped Malaga keep a clean sheet at El Sardinero against the Cantabrians, who had only failed to score in the league once in their last six outings.
Luis Perea (Atletico Madrid) – Atleti’s defence has been shambolic this season and Perea is often at the centre of criticism. But he looked a completely different player when he had to keep a tight leash on Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Swede did manage to get away from the shackles and score but he was an anonymous figure for the rest of the clash, and that was all due to Perea’s diligent marking.
Joan Capdevila (Villarreal) – Yet another goal for the veteran left-back. With five to his name already this term, he is El Submarino’s joint-second top scorer and what’s even more amazing is that he scores them like a seasoned forward or midfielder would. Despite surging forward against Athletic Bilbao, he never abandoned his defensive obligations.
Tiago (Atletico Madrid) – On loan from Juventus, the Portuguese appears to have settled in seamlessly to La Liga football with a series of admirable performances. He was given, without question, his toughest assignment to date - and possibly his career - when he was tasked to shadow Xavi. He did exactly what he had to do by hook or by crook and with Barca’s midfield mastermind nullified, Atleti were able to freely plot their opponent’s downfall.
Jose Antonio Reyes (Atletico Madrid) – One of those players who benefitted from Tiago’s dirty work at the back was Reyes. With Barcelona lacking in bite defensively, the winger was given the freedom to roam about. His assist for Diego Forlan’s opener was pure Xavi-esque class as he breezed past a number of challenges at what looked like jogging pace before placing the most delightfully incisive through ball to the Uruguayan. Player of the round.
David Fuster (Villarreal) – The little-known midfielder has gone quiet recently after a sensational start to the campaign. But against Athletic Bilbao, Fuster was a joy to watch as he carved open the Basque defence with his piercing through balls, including a sumptuous pass to set up Capdevila’s opening goal despite facing and moving away from his team-mate.
Kaka (Real Madrid) – After a heavily criticised first half of the season, the Brazilian playmaker is slowly but surely returning to form. He stepped up to the plate during Cristiano Ronaldo’s absences but he also proved that he can combine brilliantly with ‘CR9’. Provided the assist for both of Cristiano’s goals and he showed great tenacity and calm to tee up the second after exchanging passes with the Portuguese en route to the finish.
Felipe Caicedo (Malaga) – Malaga’s resurgence continues after a dismal first half of the season. They were the best performers at the weekend with an emphatic 3-0 win over an equally revitalised Racing Santander side. Caicedo has been impressive ever since arriving on loan in January from Manchester City via Sporting CP and he has been threatening to burst the back of the net for weeks now. No surprise that he finally got on the scoresheet with an excellent solo strike.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) – Back from his two-game suspension, ‘CR9’ looked rather rusty in the first half against Xerez. But in the second, he sparked to life and against a tiring opposition defence, Ronaldo was able to strut his stuff. He netted twice against the modest but stubborn Andalucians, two goals that demonstrated his predatory instincts infront of goal, and two goals to take his tally to 11 in just 13 league appearances.
Arbeloa - Weligton - Perea - Capdevila
Reyes - Fuster - Kaka
Caicedo - Ronaldo
Diego Lopez (Villarreal)
Marc Betran (Tenerife)
Nico Pareja (Espanyol)
Lassana Diarra (Real Madrid)
Fernando Soriano (Almeria)
Simao (Atletico Madrid)