Real dominate Atletico, Barca cruise
Real Madrid continued their domination of cross-town rivals Atletico Madrid on Saturday evening, claiming a 2-0 victory at the Bernabeu.
Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring with a blistering free-kick in the first-half of the highly-anticipated derby, giving the home side the edge in what was a somewhat scrappy opening period.
After the interval, Real looked to assert their authority, but it wasn't until Mesut Ozil struck 25 minutes from time after receiving a pinpoint pass from Ronaldo that they secured all three points. Atletico, for their part, created little in the way of goalscoring opportunities as their rivals stretched their unbeaten run over them to 14 years.
The win allowed Real to close the gap on second-placed Atletico to five points, but Jose Mourinho's men failed to make up any ground on the runaway league leaders.
Barcelona continued their amazing start to the season as Lionel Messi's 83rd and 84th goals of the calendar year helped the Catalan club trounce Athletic Bilbao 5-1 at Camp Nou.
Two goals in three minutes - from Gerard Pique and a deflected Messi effort - midway through the opening 45 minutes put Barca firmly in the ascendancy and Adriano added a superb third in first-half stoppage time.
Cesc Fabregas notched a neat fourth soon after the break and, after Ibai Gomez had pulled a goal back with Athletic's first noteworthy attack of the match, Messi rounded things off with a brilliant fifth goal.
Messi's brace left the 25-year-old needing just one more goal to equal Gerd Muller's record of 85 in a calendar year, set in 1972. The emphatic win consolidated top spot in La Liga for Tito Vilanova's team, whose only dropped points in 14 games this term came in the 2-2 draw against Real Madrid in October - making their start the best ever to a top-flight season in Spain.
Real Sociedad moved into seventh place in La Liga with a comprehensive 5-2 demolition of 10-man Valencia at the Mestalla.
Roberto Soldado's second-minute strike had given the hosts an early lead but they were never in control and were pegged back before half-time as Alberto de la Bella fired in an equaliser minutes after Jonas had seen a straight red card for lashing out at David Zurutuza.
Sociedad took control in the second period as further goals from Mikel Gonzalez, Diego Ifran, Imanol Agirretxe and Carlos Vela rendered Soldado's second of the evening meaningless.
The result saw the end of Mauricio Pellegrino's Valencia tenure, with the Argentine boss sacked by Los Che shortly after the game.
Getafe moved level on points with Malaga in fourth place thanks to Alberto Lopo's solitary second-half goal securing a 1-0 win.
Neither side hit top gear in a pedestrian opening period but the game came to life after Lopo nipped in between Eliseu and Willy Caballero to head home Pedro Leon's corner 11 minutes after the break.
Malaga will feel they should have had an equaliser as Roque Santa Cruz lifted the ball over with a glorious opportunity moments after coming on, before Miguel Angel Moya produced a stunning save to turn Javier Saviola's fierce shot from close range onto the bar 12 minutes from time.
However, Getafe held on to register their third consecutive league victory despite having Diego Castro sent off in stoppage time for a soft second yellow card.