La Liga week 2 review: Real Madrid rampant, Barça win, Celta Vigo and Nolito classy

La Liga correspondent Heath Chesters rounds up the second week of action in Spain, as Celta Vigo and Eibar set the pace at the top of the table.

Whilst sporting directors at clubs were focused on making their final summer signings, La Liga managers were concentrating on matters just as important - getting points - in a weekend of action which didn't lack for goals and excitement.

Friday 28th August

Villarreal 3-1 Espanyol

It was Espanyol who made the best start, with Caicedo finishing a swift move for the visitors in just the 6th minute, but they couldn't add to their advantage.

Villarreal responded well in the second-half and particularly after manager Marcelino made changes, looking for different options to make a breakthrough, with Espanyol defending well and giving away very little.

The revival of Roberto Soldado back in Spain continued, as he netted the equaliser in the 67th minute. He then proved that along with his goals, creativity is just as important, providing assists each time for substitute Bukambu to score the second and third goals for Villarreal.

Saturday 29th August

Real Sociedad 0-0 Sporting Gijon

Keeping another clean sheet will be the plus for David Moyes, but one again, his side were hugely disappointing at the other end of the pitch, failing to score for a second week running. More worrying is Real Sociedad managed to create just one shot on goal.

Sporting Gijon proved just as stubborn as they were last weekend against Real Madrid, suggesting that despite being one of the favourites for relegation, they'll certainly be making life tough for every rival they face. A big plus for them was the appearance of Alen Halilovic from the bench. On loan from Barcelona, he'll definitely be a key player

Barcelona 1-0 Malaga

Last season Malaga left the Camp Nou with all three points and were keen to repeat that, stubbornly resisting everything Barcelona threw at them. The home side enjoyed their customary dominance of possession, whilst the visitors from the Costa del Sol defended stoutly and looked for occasions to counter.

Without goals at the interval, Barça fans were less than impressed with referee Jaime Latre, who they felt could have awarded their side two penalties. First for what looked a hand-ball from Miguel Torres, then when Luis Suarez went down in the box with a shove from Marcos Angeleri.

In the 73rd minute and with the 'MSN' attacking trio unable to breach the Malaga defence successfully, it was Thomas Vermaelen who scored the decisive goal. Right at the death, Charles had a great opportunity to level the game for Malaga, but the Brazilian striker fluffed his finish.

Celta Vigo 3-0 Rayo Vallecano

The Galician side continued their excellent start to the campaign with another good victory, this time putting visiting Rayo Vallecano to the sword in convincing fashion.

Toño might have been the hero for Rayo last weekend against Valencia, but this week he was the villain, shown a straight red for bringing down Guidetti and giving away a penalty. Nolito struck home from the spot in the 11th minute.

Needless to say, the home side dominated with the man advantage, but substitute Rayo keeper Juan Carlos made a string of fine saves, denying Aspas when the former Liverpool striker had two great chances to score.

Rayo continued to resist, but as the pressure from Celta continued in the second-half, eventually Nolito added his second goal of the encounter in the 49th minute. He then assisted Fontas for the third goal of the game, two minutes from time.

Real Madrid 5-0 Real Betis

Frustrated last weekend away at Sporting Gijon, there were no problems finding the back of the net on home turf at the Santiago Bernabeu. Indeed, it was visiting Real Betis who had to do the suffering.

In a one-sided encounter Real Madrid dominated from the start, Gareth Bale needed just two minutes to open the scoring. Real Betis resisted wave after wave of threats, but eventually James added the second in the 38th minute. The visitors could have hauled a goal back just before the interval, but a superb save from Keylor Navas denied Betis talisman Ruben Castro.

Two minutes after the restart, Benzema connected with a precision ball from Bale, the Frenchman firing in the third goal for Real Madrid, who were in cruise control now. James grabbed his second of the game to make it four and Betis were even denied a consolation from the penalty spot, as Keylor Navas once more prevented Ruben Castro from finding the back of the net.

Bale rounded off what was a perfect encounter for Real Madrid, with a smashing finish just before the end. Gathering the ball centrally the Welsh star moved a little to the left, marked his target, then rocketed a stunning finish in off the woodwork. Adan had no chance of stopping that.

Sunday 30th August

Eibar 2-0 Athletic Club Bilbao

Keen to prove their win at Granada last weekend was no fluke, Eibar hosted a Basque derby against Athletic Club Bilbao, hoping to continue their excellent start to the season. And that's exactly what they did, much to the joy of their fans at the compact Ipurua ground.

Athletic sought to dominate from the start, but as the game settled, Eibar strengthened and began to dominate. Iraizoz in the Bilbao goal denied good chances, but Laporte brought down Enrich to concede a penalty in the 34th minute, which presented Saul Berjon with the opportunity to fire the home side ahead.

Eibar continued to look the better side in the second-half, whilst Athletic remained poor and simply couldn't create anything to truly threaten their rivals. Just past the hour and continuing to produce dangerous situations from set-pieces, the home side found their second goal with Adrian getting on the end of a corner. Two games, two wins and a fantastic start to the season for the Armeros.

Valencia 1-1 Deportivo La Coruña

Looking for their first win of the campaign, after being frustrated on the road at Rayo last weekend, Valencia were once more left feeling disappointed after sharing the points with the visiting Galicians.

Deportivo took the lead in the 39th minute with a superb finish from Lucas Perez, silencing the Mestalla crowd. Negredo grabbing an equaliser just before the interval restored a little confidence for the home fans, in what was otherwise a disjointed display from Valencia.

The second-half wasn't getting any better for Los Che though, who continued to look out of sorts. Things improved with the introduction of Parejo and Feghouli from the bench and chances started to come, but it was a nervous finish for Valencia, as Barragan collected his second yellow of the game. Deportivo held on to claim a valiant and deserved point.

Sevilla 0-3 Atletico Madrid

To accompany the marvellous facelift the Sanchez-Pizjuan stadium has enjoyed during the summer, Sevilla fans were hoping for a good result in their first home encounter of the season against visiting Atletico Madrid. It was a pulsating and intense encounter between the two sides, amongst five from Spain who will compete in the Champions League this season, but it was Simeone's men who showed the greater sharpness in front of goal.

Koke got enough on the end of a ball from Griezmann, sending Atletico into the break with a 1-0 lead, but the battle remained intense in the second-half, but Sevilla couldn't breach the wall of the visiting defence. Llorente spurning a great chance to score an equaliser.

In the final stages of the game and with Sevilla still threatening, a fortunate second goal came for Atletico in the 78th minute. Gabi with a speculative punt from distance, a glancing deflection off Krychowiak and goalkeeper Beto sent the wrong way. Appearing from the bench, Jackson Martinez added the third with a lovely finish, assisted by the craftsmanship of Griezmann.

Las Palmas 0-0 Levante

Araujo had the best of few chances in the first-half at Estadio Gran Canaria, as Las Palmas took the initiative against Levante, who seemed content to let their hosts have possession, whilst the visitors sought to defend in numbers and counter.

Little changed in the second-half, as Levante continued to focus more on defence, whilst Las Palmas lacked the bite or creativity to open up spaces. Araujo with the best opportunity again with an acrobatic attempt, that whizzed beyond its intended target. A fair share of points between two sides with much to improve.

Getafe 1-2 Granada

Getafe had to resist as Granada showed the most attacking initiative during the first-half, but the opener would come from a controversial penalty that had the home fans fuming. El Arabi going down theatrically inside the area, after a challenge from Velazquez, although there was contact. The Moroccan duly scored from the spot in the 25th minute.

Just three minutes later and after Getafe lost the ball in midfield, Nigerian striker Success strode forward and kept going unopposed. His shot was on target, but Guaita in goal should have done better, fluffing his save and having to collect the ball from the back of the net.

Responding much better in the second-half, Getafe threw everything forward, but had to wait until the 79th minute for Medran to pull a goal back. Alvaro and Lafita narrowly missed great chances to equaliser before the end, but Granada held on for all three points.

Best Manager and Player Reactions

Top of La Liga after their opening two games, Celta Vigo defender Andreu Fontas enthused that Nolito staying is the "best signing" for his club: "For us, more than any other signing, it's crucial that he stays. He's so important for the team and a fundamental part of our plans."

After much speculation during the summer that Barcelona were preparing a bid, Nolito is indeed staying put for now, although if his remarkable form continues, there could be clubs queueing up in the winter transfer window.

Two wins in two games for little Eibar, but manager Jose Luis Mendilibar refuses to get carried away. "Athletic were tired opponents," he explained after the 2-0 win, simply suggesting: "In that respect, we've taken advantage and made the most of it."

Despite being second in La Liga, Mendilibar continues to focus on survival as the only objective, pointing out: "We've only played two games and we've got to take a lot of points, around forty, but at least we've six less to achieve now."

Winning away at Sevilla is by no means an easy feat, so after Atletico Madrid won 0-3 at the Sanchez-Pizjuan, Diego Simeone underlined: "We have played one of our best away games in recent years." This following an encounter that was tighter than the score perhaps suggested.

And finally, after last season was plagued by injury and hugely disappointing for Thomas Vermaelen at Barcelona, after scoring the winner against Malaga, the Belgian defender admitted: "Last year was very difficult for me, so it's very important the boss has played me these last two games. Last year I couldn't show what I'm capable of doing."

As for his uncertain reaction after securing his side the points, mobbed by his Barça team-mates, Vermaelen added with good humour: "I'm not used to scoring goals, so I didn't have any celebration prepared."

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch