LaLiga talking points – Reuters

Soccer Football – LaLiga – Sevilla v Atletico Madrid – Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, Seville, Spain – December 18, 2021 Atletico Madrid players during the warm up before the match REUTERS/Marcelo Del Pozo
MADRID, Dec 20 (Reuters) – Talking points from the weekend in LaLiga.
Sevilla strengthened their case as the strongest challengers to LaLiga leaders Real Madrid after beating Atletico Madrid 2-1 on Sunday.
They have lost only two games this season so far and their 37 points from 17 league matches equals their best start in the club's history (2006-07).
That team won the UEFA Cup and the Copa del Rey, in addition to fighting for the league title until the last day of the season.
With a game in hand, Sevilla will try to cut Real's six point lead at the top with a win against struggling Barcelona on Tuesday.
"We are showing heart against some of the best teams in the world, with extraordinary players. We are doing a great job." coach Julen Lopetegui said.
Defending LaLiga champions Atletico Madrid are in a slump and pressure is mounting on their manager Diego Simeone, who is starting to be questioned by club supporters and Spanish media.
His reluctance to play young Portuguese striker Joao Felix and the surprising fragility of his side's defence are threatening to bring an end to his decade in charge of the club.
Atletico have only managed to win half of their home games so far this season and at the same point last campaign, they had 14 wins and only one defeat, 15 points better off.
The usually rock-solid defensive side have conceded 20 goals in 17 games.
It is the first time Simeone has seen his side lose three consecutive league matches since he arrived at the club in 2011.
Rayo Vallecano continue to make the case that they are a force to be reckoned with in LaLiga this season.
Led by Colombian veteran striker Radamel Falcao and manager Andoni Iraola, Rayo are undefeated at home and occupy the final Champions League qualifying place in fourth.
They are also becoming the favourites of neutral fans because of their aggressive attacking style, always entertaining.
Rayo Vallecano are aiming to secure a spot in European competition for the first time in 21 years after returning to the top flight following two seasons in the second division.
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