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Casemiro a Real hero, Messi inspires Barca, Atleti joy, Aspas' derby delight

Here's five quick thoughts from the weekend's action in La Liga as Real Madrid remain just ahead of Barcelona at the top while Atletico Madrid easily overcame Sevilla in the "best of the rest" clash.

1. Casemiro the hero? Really?

Although Karim Benzema was probably Real Madrid's best player in the 2-1 win at Athletic Bilbao on Saturday, holding midfielder Casemiro symbolised the effort made by Zinedine Zidane's side to maintain their two point gap atop La Liga, with a game still in hand.

The Brazilian...

Luis Enrique, Barcelona look to start winning run, title chase vs. Las Palmas

Barcelona's meeting with Las Palmas on Saturday represents the first in a run of six league matches that Luis Enrique and his players will view as must-win games. 

Last weekend's draw against Villarreal left Barca five points adrift of league leaders Real Madrid. They've also played a game more than their title rivals, who on Sunday travel to Sevilla, who recently leapfrogged the Blaugrana into second place in the table. 

Titles are rarely mathematically won or lost in January or February...

The good, the bad and the shocking in European football so far in 2016-17

As domestic football nears completion of its second full month of the 2016-17 season, James Horncastle reviews the campaign so far on the continent.

The Good

Atletico Madrid | 1st, La Liga

After Atletico Madrid lost two Champions League finals in three years and shortened his contract, it was fair to wonder if manager Diego Simeone had taken this team as far as he could and whether he could still motivate them. Atleti, however, seem to be going forward, not backward. Their style remains...

Meet Las Palmas, the tiny team making waves and capturing hearts in Spain

Quique Setien never wanted to be a manager. And yet he has transformed tiny Las Palmas into a team worth watching.

They never dreamed of this, and their manager never really dreamed at all. Have a look at the league table, just as they have had a look daily -- hourly, even -- for the last fortnight as if scared that it might have changed, determined to enjoy every moment of this. You'll see what they see. The best team in Spain right now, the team at the top of the league, isn't FC Barcelona or Real Madrid. It's Unión Deportiva Las Palmas.

Las Palmas haven't been there for 38 years. Until last season,...

Real Madrid, Barcelona and Las Palmas win; Atletico and Valencia struggle

On a weekend when favorites Barcelona and Real Madrid earned hard-fought wins and Las Palmas continued to impress, here is what we learned from La Liga ahead of the international break.

Morata on target for Real Madrid

Alvaro Morata scored his first goal for Real Madrid since returning to his former club this summer from Juventus in Saturday's 2-1 home win over Celta Vigo.

The Spain forward had not scored for Real at the Bernabeu since May 17, 2014 when he struck twice against Espanyol in La Liga....