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La Liga isn’t gone, yet

A good win over newly promoted CA Osasuna this weekend sees Atlético rise to fourth in the table, helped by fellow top clubs dropping points. 

Club Atletico de Madrid v PSV Eindhoven - UEFA Champions League Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

In an uncomfortable win against newly promoted CA Osasuna on Sunday, Atlético got a 3-0 win in a difficult game away from home. Having started the weekend in sixth place, at the end of matchweek 13 Atleti find themselves in fourth, keeping the dim light of a title challenge going.

Facing Osasuna at El Sadar is never an easy task, despite a poor start to the season from the home side, they were desperate for points, and the game was far from a cakewalk for Atleti.

Jose Gimenez was rewarded for a solid midweek performance against PSV with a start this weekend, however his continued issues with making mistakes became an issue once again, conceding a 14th minute penalty.

Thankfully, Jan Oblak saved Roberto Torres’ spot kick, the fourth of his Atleti career. Josema wasn’t entirely convincing in this match, but the clean sheet was maintained, though the Uruguayan may owe his ‘keeper a few drinks for the penalty save.

Atlético compounded woes for Osasuna when Diego Godin headed in Atleti’s first goal from a corner in the 36th minute, followed by a backbreaker from Kevin Gameiro just a minute later. Having given away such an early penalty kick, Atlético showed great resilience to recover and put themselves in a comfortable position.

Yannick Corrasco added the third in added time at the end of the match, capitalizing on a mistake by Miguel Flaño. On 68 minutes, Atleti had a huge penalty appeal waved off after a blatantly deliberate handball was not called by referee Antonio Lahoz.

Like in the PSV game, the midfield partnership of Tiago and Gabi was revived, with Koke and Correa acting as the wingers. Despite the allegedly “permanent” move Koke made to become a central midfielder, again he found himself mostly on the wing, which makes Atleti’s midfield tougher and safer, if less creative. Koke did register an assist from the corner for Godin’s opener, but how he fits into the team long term does remain a question mark.

Winning against a newly promoted team by a comfortable margin in the end is not and should not be wildly exciting for Atlético, but what made this a great weekend for the club was the failure of the other teams at the top of La Liga to pick up three points.

Villarreal, who started Sunday in front of Atlético, was facing a similar task of a newly promoted side in Alavés. Arguably, their match was easier as it was at home, but Alavés, who have caused trouble for both Barcelona and Atlético this season, again got an impressive result, winning 2-0. Real Sociedad, too, pulled off a good result at Anoeta, drawing 1-1 with Barcelona, continuing their great run of form at home against the Catalans.

Atleti are still nine points off of leaders Real Madrid, but only three off of Barcelona and Sevilla in second and third, respectively. Though Real Madrid have a quite substantial lead at the top of La Liga, next weekend’s El Clasico could have big ramifications for the future of the title race in Spain, and whether or not Atleti have a chance at all to win the title.