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Four things we learned from matchday 7 in Spain
MADRID, Oct. 1 -- Matchday seven in the Spanish Liga Santander was another in which none of the sides who kicked off in the top-three were able to win, allowing those behind to close the gap at the top of the table. Here are some things we learned this weekend in Spain.
1. Barca's Messi dependence is a worry
Leo Messi was a surprise substitute as Barca were held at home by Athletic Club Bilbao on Saturday and coach Ernesto Valverde was criticized for the decision as Barca fell behind and only came to life when he came into the action in the second half.
Barca were a different team with Messi on the pitch, but in some ways that is a problem for Valverde.
There is no doubt Messi is the best player in the world and Barca are a better with him in the side (as any side would be). However, last season made it clear that Messi can't play every game of the season - nobody can - and consequently he needs a rest now and then. The question is that why a side containing Luis Suarez, Phillipe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembele and Arturo Vidal can't do better without him.
2. Real Madrid struggling for goals
The start of the season had commentators saying that the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus meant that players such as Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Marco Asensio and Isco would have more protagonism in Real Madrid's attack and for a while that looked to be the case.
However, after Saturday's Madrid derby Julen Lopetegui's side has scored just one goal in their last three games and has lost Isco for a month after an appendix operation, while Bale had to be substituted at half time against Atletico after suffering a groin strain. Meanwhile Benzema has lost form after a bright start to the season, and it is probably time for recent arrival Mariano Diaz to be given his chance to lead the line.
3. Sevilla impress again
Just a fortnight ago Sevilla fans were complaining loudly as their side was beaten by Getafe, but they have bounced back with a Europa League triumph and three league wins, including a 3-0 victory against Real Madrid), scored 21 goals and shown that given time Machin will do a good job.
Machin showed at Girona he can organize a team and he has started to do that at the Sanchez Pizjuan. His side was tactically smarter than Real Madrid and on Saturday they were simply too good for Eibar with Andre Silva again demonstrated that they now have the central striker they have been missing in recent seasons.
4. Loren Moron one to keep an eye on
24-year-old Betis striker Loren Moron waited a long time for his chance with the first team, but after two prolific campaigns with the B-team he finally got it in the second half of last season and seized the opportunity with both hands (or feet in this case). Seven goals in just over a 1,000 minutes first team football confirmed his promise and although he had a slow start to this season, two goals in his last two games have given Betis two wins and six vital points.
The youngster has an ability to be in the right place at the right time and that is the mark of a born striker.