Any doubts about whether Barcelona were going off the boil were well and truly dissipated after a 6-1 victory over Zaragoza on Sunday evening. Keita and Ibrahimovic scored the opening goals in the first half hour, and the two combined to set each other up for two more either side of half time. Jorge López got one back for the visitors, but Messi lobbed Carrizo for a fifth, and Keita completed his hat-trick near the end. Guardiola's side are now three points clear of Madrid at the top of the table.
Valencia moved up in to the top four with a 0-3 win at Almería earlier in the evening. All the goals came after the restart, with Pablo Hernández setting up David Villa to head the opening goal ten minutes in to the second half. Pablo himself got the second with a clever shot past keeper Esteban, who had come on a few minutes earlier after Diego Alves had been sent off for bringing down the Spanish international winger, and Mata wrapped things up with a low shot near the end.
Deportivo drop out of the Champions League spots though after a 4-0 defeat at Valladolid. Nauzet opened the scoring early on after Canobbio put him through, and added his second of the night just a minute after the restart. Diego Costa made it three later on, and substitute Medunjanin completed the scoring with the goal of the night to give his side their first home win in seven months.
Getafe are up to eighth in the table after a 2-0 win over Athletic Bilbao. The Basque side were left with ten men after Gurpegui picked up a second booking shortly before half time, and Soldado gave the locals the lead on the hour mark after Ustariz failed to clear from Boateng. Dani Parejo made it two from the penalty spot after Castillo handled in the area a few minutes later, and Athletic ended with nine players after Ustariz was shown a red card near the end for a foul on Soldado.
Osasuna are just a point behind Michel's side after a 1-1 draw at Racing Santander. The Pamplona based team appeared to be on the way to victory thanks to a strike early in the second half from Pandiani, his sixth goal of the season leaving him just one behind Villa and Ibrahimovic. But in the fifth minute of injury time Arana scrambled home the equaliser to give the Cantabrians their first point at home all season.
Down in the lower reaches, Villarreal moved off the bottom of the table after a 2-1 victory over fellow strugglers Málaga. Nilmar put the locals ahead with just under half an hour on the clock, and although Albert Luque headed the equaliser on the stroke of half time, Capdevila found a gap in the defensive wall with his free kick to net what was to prove the winner.
Málaga drop to last place, still a point behind a Xerez side who lost 1-0 at Tenerife. The Canary Islanders had several chances before Alfaro got on the end of Omar's cross later on in the second half to head past Renan and give his side their first points in four matches. (25.10.09)
A depleted Real Madrid could only draw 0-0 at Sporting Gijón, and even though the result takes them to the top of the table on goal difference, Barcelona only need a point on Sunday to overtake them again. Raúl was the only fit striker, and he and Kaká both went close early on. Miguel De las Cuevas brought a good save out of Casillas at the other end before half time, and local keeper Juan Pablo did well to stop efforts from Granero and Van der Vaart after the restart. In the end though both sides settled for a point.
A similar result in the Sánchez Pizjuán as well, Sevilla being held to a 0-0 draw by ten man Espanyol. Keepers Javi Varas and Kameni were in action early on to save from Luis García and Jesús Navas respectively, and Kameni did well to keep out a couple more efforts from Perotti before the break. The visitors were left with ten men when Nico Pareja picked up a second booking on the hour mark, but Kameni saved again from Konko and Capel, and Callejón could have won it for the Catalans when he shot just wide near the end.
Earlier in the evening manager-less Atlético Madrid disappointed again with a 1-1 draw against a Mallorca side who played for over half an hour with nine men. Forlán missed a first half penalty after Josemi was sent off for handling in the area, but he did convert a second spot kick after Ramis followed Josemi down the tunnel early in the second half. They were unable to build on their lead though, and Valero equalised with a shot which De Gea could only turn in to his own net in the last minute. (24.10.09)