Whether this Barcelona side are on their way out is up for debate, but Manchester City can certainly take advantage, but only with a swing and a swagger...
Spain have such an embarrassment of riches that the likes of Jesé Rodriguéz, Isco, Dani Carvajal and Alvaro Morata are in the U-21s. Where does the production line end?
The players of Valladolid and Osasuna should be holding their collective heads in shame. Whilst the rest of La Liga (barring Monday-nighters Málaga and Athletic Bilbao) pulled out all the stops in terms of banging in the goals, the slovenly pair only managed to bring one single, measly strike to the party. It was one lousy Twiglet in a sea of Ferrero Rocher.
Such an attitude is a little harsh as, although 38 goals were scored across the eight games played on Saturday and Sunday in Spain, five sides fired blanks in the contests. Coincidentally, four of those teams were Granada, Almería, Getafe and Levante, the sides who faced La Liga's current top four, hinting at the notion that the longstanding Big Two-itis suffered by Spain's top division might well be spreading downwards.
Getafe boss Luis García certainly seems to think so having suffered a seven goal pummeling at the feet of Atlético Madrid in the Vicente Calderón, although the self-confessed Rojiblanco fan says that it has merely worked its way to the top three.
"I hate to say this, but there is a huge difference. It's there to see. In the end, perhaps Cholo is right in that the league is getting boring," hummed García referring to the thoughts of the Atlético manager who was summing up the situation in regards to just the Clásico pair.
There is, however, a huge difference between how Atlético Madrid have found their way to success and the Big Two. Although Atleti do have the third biggest share of TV money in terms of the handout, the figure is dwarfed by some €100m on annual basis in terms of what Barcelona and Real Madrid receive. They are where they are today through immense hard work, steely determination and the justified fear factor from players of upsetting Diego Simeone with a flat performance.
Barcelona kicked off the series of big-scoring batterings in Spain with a 4-0 win over visiting Granada. Although Leo Messi was missing from the attack, Barça were still able to field Pedro, Alexis Sánchez and Neymar up front with first two of that forward line getting on the scoresheet along with penalties from Cesc Fabregas and Andrés Iniesta. It was no wonder that Granada coach Lucas Alcaraz admitted to have been tired of reading all week about poor Barcelona struggling along without the Argentinean up front and Víctor Valdés in goal.
Carlo Ancelotti's Real Madrid had 15 shots on target against Almería down in Andalusia and converted five of them. Cristiano Ronaldo dutifully opened the scoring but only managed an hour of the game, having left the pitch with a dead leg. The talk in the town before the match was what Ancelotti would do without Sami Khedira for the rest of the season, and the answer was to bring in Asier Illarramendi, signed for €36million over the summer from Real Sociedad, and give Luka Modric a break by fielding Isco, signed for €30m.
Villarreal also sat at the grown-up chair on Sunday after a 3-0 win at Levante, aided by the rather harsh sending off of the opposition goalkeeper after just 12 minutes. The win keeps the Yellow Submarine in fourth, seven points behind Real Madrid in third and 13 away from Barcelona at the top, a team that has still only dropped two points over the whole league campaign.
Sevilla were also in rare prolific form with a 4-0 victory over local rivals, Betis, whose rotten year continues to see the side at the bottom of La Primera table. However, the one ground where both goals and an actual contest could be found was up in Anoeta in San Sebastian with Real Sociedad beating Celta Vigo 4-3 in a ridiculously good affair.
Although Celta Vigo, a team playing flashes of fine football under Luis Enrique, took a 3-1 lead in the match, a sending-off in the Galician back four and an inspired Carlos Vela (he scored four) turbo-jumped the home team into an immense comeback. La Real are now in sixth after a rocky start to the season. Even normally goal-shy sides like Espanyol got in on the act, this weekend, having put four past Rayo in Vallecas.
The goals flying in across the country over the weekend were of course fun to watch, but they did leave a rather iffy taste in the mouth as to whether some of them were the result of bullying rather than gung-ho, inspirational attacking play. It also left the thought that the traditional Big Two in Spain has now become the Big Three. That can only be a small positive in a league that continues to be as lopsided a competition as a see-saw occupied by Geoff Capes.
Round 14 Results
Valladolid 0-1 Osasuna
Barcelona 4-0 Granada
Real Sociedad 4-3 Celta Vigo
Almería 0-5 Real Madrid
Atlético Madrid 7-0 Getafe
Levante 0-3 Villarreal
Rayo Vallecano 1-4 Espanyol
Elche 2-1 Valencia
Sevilla 4-0 Betis
Málaga vs. Athletic (Monday)
Tim Stannard - follow him on Twitter