La Liga Five things we learned from matchday 13

AFP Sports looks at five things we learned from week 13 in La Liga.

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Real Sociedad's defender Yuri Berchiche (L) vies with Barcelona's Brazilian forward Neymar da Silva Santos Junior during the Spanish league football match Real Sociedad vs FC Barcelona at the Anoeta stadium in San Sebastian, on November 27, 2016 play

Real Sociedad's defender Yuri Berchiche (L) vies with Barcelona's Brazilian forward Neymar da Silva Santos Junior during the Spanish league football match Real Sociedad vs FC Barcelona at the Anoeta stadium in San Sebastian, on November 27, 2016

(AFP)
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Real Madrid's lead at the top of La Liga continues to grow as they edged past Sporting Gijon, whilst Barcelona were thoroughly outplayed in a 1-1 draw at Real Sociedad.

Here, AFP Sports looks at five things we learned from week 13 in La Liga.

Barca's Sociedad curse continues

After years of feeling hard done by on their trips to San Sebastian, Barca finally had luck on their side despite their winless streak at Anoeta stretching to eight games over the past nine years.

Barca boss Luis Enrique described the result as a "miracle" given Sociedad's dominance against an unrecognisable Catalan outfit.

One moment of magic as Neymar teed up Lionel Messi to salvage the champions, but they will need a huge improvement to cut into Real Madrid's six-point lead at the top when the two meet in El Clasico next weekend.

Real Madrid routinely winning ugly

Real were also off colour on Saturday but extend their lead gap despite a performance so bad even coach Zinedine Zidane admitted it was one to "forget" as "a bit of everything went wrong."

Real Madrid's coach Zinedine Zidane shouts from the sideline during the Spanish league football match Real Madrid CF vs Real Sporting de Gijon at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on November 26, 2016 play

Real Madrid's coach Zinedine Zidane shouts from the sideline during the Spanish league football match Real Madrid CF vs Real Sporting de Gijon at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on November 26, 2016

(AFP/File)

A 2-1 win over a Sporting Gijon side now 10 games without a win was secured only thanks to a missed Duje Cop penalty 12 minutes from time.

Yet, in a recurring theme of the season Madrid bagged another three points to go along with performances against Celta Vigo, Athletic Bilbao and Leganes where victory has been secured without a stellar display.

Whether Zinedine Zidane's men are merely showing the resistence of champions or headed for a fall after a 31-game unbeaten run will be truly tested next weekend.

Old school Atletico

Back-to-back league defeats for the first time in four years and a first ever run of five La Liga games without a clean sheet forced Atletico boss Diego Simeone to go back to basics.

The Argentine's success over the past five years has been built on rock solid foundations and in attempting to develop a more attacking edge this season some of that solidity has been lost.

For a 2-0 Champions League win over PSV in midweek and Sunday's 3-0 romp at Osasuna, veteran Tiago was recalled to the midfield, whilst Jose Maria Gimenez renewed his partnership with Diego Godin at the heart of the defence.

Two wins and two clean sheets have Atletico back to what they know best under Simeone.

Wheels come off at Villarreal

Other than Real Madrid, Villarreal were the last team to taste defeat in La Liga this season.

Villarreal's forward Cedric Bakambu (L) vies with Deportivo Alaves' defender Zouhair Feddal during the Spanish league football match Villarreal CF vs Deportivo Alaves at El Madrigal stadium in Vila-real on November 27, 2016 play

Villarreal's forward Cedric Bakambu (L) vies with Deportivo Alaves' defender Zouhair Feddal during the Spanish league football match Villarreal CF vs Deportivo Alaves at El Madrigal stadium in Vila-real on November 27, 2016

(AFP)

But since a nine-game unbeaten run came to an end at Eibar on October 30, they have lost three of their last four.

Villarreal's realistic hopes of Champions League football for next season is to beat out high-flying Sevilla to fourth place, but Sunday's shock 2-0 home defeat by Alaves leaves them already five points adrift of the Europa League holders.

Hapless bottom four salvaging Valencia

Valencia were beaten again, 2-1 at Sevilla, but remain two points above the relegation zone thanks to the incompetence of those below them.

Defeats for Deportivo la Coruna, Sporting Gijon, Osasuna and Granada this weekend means they have won just a combined five of 52 Liga matches this season, the last of which came on October 17.

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