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Four things we learned from Spain's matchday 6
MADRID, Sept. 27 -- Although there are still three games to play in Spain's matchday 6, the past two days of Liga Santander action have already left supporters with plenty to think about as both FC Barcelona and Real Madrid slipped to defeat and the race for the title got a lot more interesting. Here are some things we have learned over the past 48 hours.
1. Valverde right to resist rotating squad
One of the criticisms leveled at FC Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde is his reluctance to rotate his squad at busy periods in the fixture calendar running the risk of key players becoming burned out as they were in last year's Champions League quarterfinal against Roma.
Seven games in three weeks has left Valverde few alternatives other than to switch things around in his last two matches and the result has been 2 points dropped at home to Girona and a defeat to bottom of the table Leganes in games where fringe players again failed to shine.
It looks as if the summer transfers have failed to add the depth Valverde wants.
2. Real Madrid show weaknesses
So far it has been a relatively positive start for new Real Madrid coach. Julen Lopetegui, but his side wasted the chance to overtake Barcelona at top of the table on Wednesday when they were totally outplayed by Sevilla and lost 3-0.
Sevilla boss Pablo Machin used three central defenders and two wing backs, with Jesus Navas setting up the first two goals after getting behind Madrid left back Marcelo and Madrid were never able to get into the game in attack, while they were undone in defense.
Worryingly for Lopetegui Karim Benzema's form appears to have deserted him after a bright start to the season and with Isco out for a month after an appendix operation, and Atletico next up, things suddenly don't look so rosy.
3. Great week for Sevilla
Sevilla's 3-0 win against Real Madrid was their third game in just seven days, but it also shows that when a club's morale is up, tiredness is not such a factor.
10 days ago there were boos and whistles in the Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium as Sevilla were beaten 2-0 by Getafe, but coach Pablo Machin has turned things around in impressive fashion with a 5-1 win against Standard Liege, a 6-2 victory away to Levante and Wednesday's thrashing of Real Madrid.
As well as Machin's tactical work with the club, strikers Wissan Ben Yedder and Andre Silva have also hit form with Ben Yedder netting six goals in those three matches and Silva scoring three.
4 Business as usual for Atletico
Rumors of crisis at Atletico Madrid also appear to have vanished after a week which has seen them win away in Europe and claim two domestic triumphs to move into third place in the league.
Tuesday saw Atletico brush Huesca aside 3-0 in the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium with all three of the goals coming before the break allowing Diego Simeone's side to conserve their energy in the second half ahead of Saturday's trip to the Bernabeu.
Atletico still aren't pretty to watch, but the effectiveness in defense is back and even though Diego Costa is struggling for goals, Thomas Lemar's arrival gives Atletico more options in attack.