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Weekend Review: Barcelona and Madrid win, Atlético beaten

FC Barcelona continued their blistering start to the Liga campaign and are now three points clear of Atlético Madrid after the capital club lost for the first time since 11 April.

With the victory over Celta, Tito Vilanova secured Barça’s best ever start to a league season: nine wins and one draw, which came against Real Madrid at the Camp Nou. Pretty amazing record by Tito, considering that people questioned the wisdom of Barcelona hiring him in the first place.

My question is whether the fact have not missed a beat with Tito replacing Guardiola, does that diminish what Guardiola did as Barcelona manager in any way?

The surprise of the weekend, had to be Atlético who lost 2-0 at Valencia. Their first in 24 matches in all competitions.

Valencia survived the dismissals of Ricardo Costa and two of their coaching staff to get the win. Roberto Soldado’s stunning opener gave the hosts an interval lead and Nelson Valdez rounded off the victory in stoppage time.

Costa was dismissed in the 90th minute for a second booking and coach Mauricio Pellegrino and his assistant Carlos Compagnucci were sent from the dug-out in separate incidents, but it was Valencia’s day nonetheless.

Gonzalo Higuaín broke the deadlock for Real Madrid in the 23rd minute at home to Real Zaragoza, not long before Ángel Di María embarked on a solo run and beat Javi Varas at the second attempt. Late on, Michael Essien and Luka Modrić scored their first Madrid goals.

The 4-0 win keeps Real within eight points of the leaders and takes them into third ahead of Málaga, who lost at home for the first time this season, 2-1 to Rayo Vallecano.

Elsewhere, Aritz Aduriz’s first-half brace ensured Athletic Bilbao ended their recent dismal run of form with a 2-1 win at fellow strugglers Granada, while Sevilla were held to a frustrating goalless draw at home to Levante.

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