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The league took a three week break for the festive season, but that was effectively reduced to two as two rounds of cup matches were fitted in between. The first of those was the second leg games of the fourth round, and there were some surprises as Atlético, Villarreal, Betis and Zaragoza were all knocked out by lower ranked teams. Despite that though first division sides managed a massive 48 goals between them, with Barcelona's youngsters (with a little help from Xavi, Iniesta and Pedro) notching up a record nine against neighbours L'Hospitalet. Callejón staked his claim for a regular place in Real Madrid's first team with two in a 5-1 win over Ponferradina, Kanouté also scored a brace against San Roque, and Soldado was one of Valencia's four scorers against Cádiz. Levante's Stuani is the current "Pichichi" in the cup though, his two against Rayo, added to two more in the first leg, took the Cantabrians through on the away goal rule despite the best efforts of Michu and company. Elsewhere Koné's extra time goal against Deportivo took Levante in to the last sixteen (as far as they have ever got in the competition), Real Sociedad's Agirretxe's strike put paid to any hopes Granada had of a comeback, and Sergio García was on target as Espanyol beat Celta 4-2 on the night.

The new year started early for 12 first division teams and four from the lower ranks, the first leg of the fifth round taking place during the opening week of 2012. This time though goals were scarce, and the four teams from the lower divisions all put in good performances which gives them a chance of making it through to the last eight. In fact the only tie which appears to be over is the one between Barcelona and Osasuna, Guardiola's side winning 4-0 with two from Fàbregas in the first half, and two more from Messi, who came on for the last half hour despite suffering from a bout of gastric flu! Real Madrid were given a fright by Málaga, who went two up before second half goals by Khedira, Higuaín and Benzema turned the scoreline around, and Jonas got the only goal as Valencia beat Sevilla 1-0. Real Sociedad's Agirretxe made one and scored one in a 2-0 victory over Mallorca which puts them on track for a quarter final meeting with eternal rivals Athletic Bilbao, and Sergio García scored a vital away goal for Espanyol at Córdoba before the second division side came back to win 2-0 on the night. Second legs take place next week.

Very few goals as well at the weekend, with no less than four of the league's first games of the new year ending 0-0. Real Madrid were the only team to score more than two, their 5-1 win over Granada (Benzema 2, Higuaín, Ramos and Ronaldo) taking them five points clear of Barcelona, who could only draw 1-1 at city neighbours Espanyol (Fàbregas the scorer for Barça). Elsewhere the only Pichichis to get their names on the scoresheet were Rayo's Michu and Tamudo, who scored a goal each either side of half time to give their side a 2-1 victory over Sevilla. (09.01.12)

Pichichi League Cup Europe Total (Penalties)
Messi (Barcelona) 17 5 9 31 (2)
Ronaldo (Real Madrid) 21 2 3 26 (8)
Soldado (Valencia) 11 1 5 17 (1)
Higuaín (Real Madrid) 13 1 2 16 (0)
Benzema (Real Madrid) 10 2 4 16 (0)
Fàbregas (Barcelona) 9 2 3 14 (0)
Falcao (Atlético) 9 0 3 12 (4)
Adrián (Atlético) 5 1 5 11 (0)
Michu (Rayo Vallecano) 7 2 0 9 (0)
Villa (Barcelona) 5 1 3 9 (0)
Callejón (Real Madrid) 2 3 4 9 (0)
Llorente (Athletic Bilbao) 6 0 2 8 (2)
Xavi (Barcelona) 5 1 2 8 (0)
Barral (Sporting Gijón) 7 0 0 7 (0)
Koné (Levante) 6 1 0 7 (0)
Sergio García (Espanyol) 5 2 0 7 (0)
Agirretxe (Real Sociedad) 5 2 0 7 (0)
Kanouté (Sevilla) 3 3 1 7 (1)
Juanlu (Levante) 6 0 0 6 (0)
Tamudo (Rayo) 5 1 0 6 (0)
Stuani (Racing) 2 4 0 6 (2)
Jonas (Valencia) 1 2 3 6 (0)
Pedro (Barcelona) 1 1 4 6 (2)