Ten things we learned this week in LaLiga Santander

Following the World Cup pause, LaLiga Santander finally returned in the last week of 2022 and there were several excellent performances and fascinating storylines. They are all outlined below, as well as news of the first transfer dealings of the winter window.

FC Barcelona and Real Madrid enter 2023 level on points

The new calendar year begins with both FC Barcelona and Real Madrid level on 38 points at the top of the LaLiga Santander table. With Los Blancos returning to action with a 2-0 win away at Real Valladolid and with Barça drawing 1-1 with RCD Espanyol in the Barcelona Derby, this means the title race is as tight as it could possibly be after 15 matchdays.

RCD Espanyol snap a 12-match losing run at the Spotify Camp Nou

By fighting back to draw Saturday’s Barcelona Derby 1-1, RCD Espanyol earned a historic point at the Spotify Camp Nou. Los Pericos had lost their previous 12 LaLiga Santander matches at the home of FC Barcelona, only scoring two goals during that run, but Joselu’s calm and composed penalty cancelled out an early Marcos Alonso header to see the spoils shared. 

Karim Benzema is back

Spanish football fans also learned this past week that Karim Benzema is back. The centre-forward made his first appearance in 58 days in Real Madrid’s visit to Real Valladolid and he scored both the goals in his team’s victory, proving that he has now fully recovered from his recent injury.

Mikel Oyarzabal’s first appearance since March

Another player making a winning return from injury in Matchday 15 was Mikel Oyarzabal, with the Basque forward playing for the first time since suffering a serious knee injury in March. He did so by coming on as a substitute for the final minutes of La Real’s 2-0 win over CA Osasuna, a result that keeps the team in third place.

Villarreal CF celebrate victory in the new-look Estadio de la Cerámica

On Saturday, Villarreal CF returned to their home ground of the Estadio de la Cerámica, where redevelopment work had been carried out over the first half of the season. It was a happy homecoming for El Submarino Amarillo, as goals from Gerard Moreno and Juan Foyth earned a 2-1 derby victory over Valencia CF, with the home fans celebrating their first three-point haul in the new-look venue.

João Félix continues his good form

After impressing for Portugal at the World Cup, João Félix kept up his good form as Atlético de Madrid defeated Elche CF 2-0 in Matchday 15. The Portuguese opened the scoring at the Estadio Cívitas Metropolitano, before Álvaro Morata added a second.

Getafe CF end 2022 as they started it, thanks to Borja Mayoral

Getafe CF enjoyed a very positive 2022, starting with a victory over Real Madrid in their first match of the year, one which propelled them towards safety. They are now comfortably in mid-table and ended the year with another home victory, this time defeating RCD Mallorca 2-0 thanks to a Borja Mayoral brace.

The first signings of the winter window

With the winter transfer window now opening, the first deals involving LaLiga Santander clubs have already been announced. For example, RCD Espanyol are excited to welcome Mexican centre-back César Montes into their squad, Sevilla FC have also strengthened their central defence by bringing in Loïc Badé on loan and Cádiz CF hope Youba Diarra can boost their central midfield options.

Spanish football pays tribute to Pelé

There was sad news for the entire footballing family on Thursday, as it was announced that Pelé had passed away at the age of 82. Over the weekend, there was a minute’s silence in his honour before each of the LaLiga Santander matches, as Spanish football paid tribute to a legend.

RCD Espanyol are the champions at LaLiga Promises

The 26th edition of the LaLiga Promises International Football Tournament was held this past week and RCD Espanyol came out on top, defeating city rivals FC Barcelona 2-1 in the final. This was the club’s fourth triumph in the history of this prestigious U12s tournament.   

MG Team

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