Only once in the past 16 seasons has LaLiga been won by a team other than Barcelona or Real Madrid, but Spain’s two biggest teams have struggled so far in 2020-21.
Atletico Madrid’s title triumph in 2013-14 remains the last time a side from outside the Clasico divide has claimed the trophy and the Rojiblancos consolidated their superb start with three wins in a row last month.
Diego Simeone’s side thrashed Cadiz 4-0 on November 7, before back-to-back 1-0 wins over Barcelona and Valencia after the international break – both of those secured despite the absence of Luis Suarez due to a positive Covid-19 test for the Uruguayan while away with his national side.
Atleti are now the only unbeaten team in LaLiga this term and have won six in a row in the Primera Division to sit just a point behind leaders Real Sociedad after their nine games – having played two fewer fixtures than the Basque outfit.
Real Sociedad also enjoyed a fine run in November, racking up three wins (4-1 at Celta Vigo, 2-0 at home to Granada and 1-0 in Cadiz) and a draw (1-1 against Villarreal) to end the month out front. Their only defeat in 2020-21 remains a 1-0 loss against Valencia in late September.
Meanwhile, Villarreal have continued their steady progress under Unai Emery and are just four points off the lead in third place. The Yellow Submarine have also lost just once (4-0 at Barcelona in September) this term and were on form in November with two wins (2-0 over Real Valladolid and 3-1 at Getafe) and two draws (1-1 at home to Real Madrid and again away to Real Sociedad).
Real Madrid (fourth) are without a win in LaLiga since October 31 and Los Blancos lost ground in November with two defeats (4-1 away to Valencia and 2-1 at Deportivo Alaves last weekend), either side of a 1-1 draw at Villarreal.
Barcelona picked up after a disappointing month of October. Ronald Koeman’s side secured big home wins over Real Betis (5-2) and Osasuna (4-0), but went down by a single goal at Atletico Madrid and are still well outside the top four in seventh spot – albeit having played only nine fixtures so far.
The other Spanish representative in this season’s Champions League is Sevilla and the Andalusians returned to form in LaLiga last month, with three wins in a row in the competition (1-0 and 4-2 victories at home to Osasuna and Celta Vigo, 1-0 away to Huesca) after three straight defeats in October. Julen Lopetegui’s men are fifth ahead of this weekend’s game at home to Real Madrid.
In Europe, Sevilla are already qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League, despite a humiliating 4-0 loss at home to Chelsea on Wednesday night.
Barcelona are also safely through with five wins out of five so far, ahead of next week’s meeting (and group decider) with Juventus at Camp Nou, but both Atletico and Real Madrid have work to do in order to seal a place in the last 16.
Huesca (two draws and one defeat in November) currently prop up LaLiga with seven points from their 11 games. Just above them are Levante (eight points) and Celta Vigo (10 points), although just three points separate the Galicians in the relegation zone from Athletic Club in ninth place ahead of the 12th round of matches.
LaLiga Player of the Month for November: Jan Oblak
Atletico Madrid have been built on firm foundations under Diego Simeone and keeping clean sheets has helped the Rojiblancos again in LaLiga this season.
Oblak is arguably the world’s best goalkeeper at the moment and the Slovenian did not concede a single goal in LaLiga last month, with his imperious displays key in the 1-0 wins over Barcelona and Valencia.
Overall, Atleti have let in just two goals in their nine LaLiga games in 2020-21 and if Oblak and his team-mates can continue along those lines for the remainder of the campaign, another title may just be heading their way in May.