By Noah TanFollow @@Noah_Tan
Los Blancos were the biggest winners, with Jose Mourinho's men romping to an easy 5-1 win over Athletic Bilbao, but they were unable to cut the imposing eight point gap at the top after league leaders Barcelona beat Real Zaragoza 3-1.
Surprise packages Atletico just managed to keep pace with the Blaugrana after they narrowly scraped past Granada 1-0, while Sevilla put their recent woes behind them with an emphatic 5-1 victory over Real Betis.
Elsewhere, Valencia managed to eke out a victory over nine-man Espanyol in a controversial clash, while Malaga's winless streak continued as they were held to a goalless draw by Osasuna.
ESPNSTAR.com selects the best players from this round of La Liga fixtures. The formation for this week is 4-3-3.
GK: Willy Caballero (Malaga)
Malaga may have left the Esadio El Sadar frustrated that their winless streak in the La Liga has been stretched to four games following a goalless draw with Osasuna, but it could have been much worse for Los Boquerones if not for the heroics of Caballero.
Caballero earned his side a valuable point by keeping out several goal-bound Osasuna efforts; the 31-year-old was showed great handling skills to catch Kike Sola's header in the 50th minute, then displayed his cat-like reflexes with two crucial saves in the dying stages of the game to deny Alvaro Cejudo.
LB: Jordi Alba (Barcelona)
The former Valencia player showed exactly why Barcelona were willing to shell out €14 million for his services during the summer with an effective performance down the left flank for the Catalan giants.
Alba was defensively sound, making it very hard for the Zaragoza attackers to get any joy down his flank. The Spain international was an energetic presence down his flank and constantly bombed forward to support his side's attack.
Alba got himself an assist after finding Messi with an accurate through pass which set him free in the box and allowed the Argentinian to score the Blaugrana's opening goal
RB: Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)
Ramos put in a remarkable performance for Real to keep the pressure on Barcelona in the league. He opened the scoring for Los Blancos, heading Ozil's cross into the bottom corner.
Apart from his goal, Ramos was a rock for his side in defence; he was dominant in the air, tough in the tackle and distributed the ball well from the back. Bilbao just could not find a way past the indomitable defender, who seemed determined to ensure teammate Iker Casillas would not have to pick the ball from his net.
CB: Federico Fazio (Sevilla)
For a player who is more accustomed to keeping the ball from going into the back of the net, Fazio surprisingly showed that he had a clinical edge to his game as he scored a brace in his side's win over Betis.
The 25-year-old got his first goal of the game when he timed his run perfectly to connect with Ivan Rakitic's free-kick in the 5th minute. Fazio then got his second of the game just before half-time as he sent a powerful header beyond the grasp of Betis custodian Miguel Adrian.
Despite venturing forward on several occasions, Fazio did not neglect his defensive duties and was also on hand to make several important tackles to ensure Betis would not be able to make a comeback into the game.
CB: Alexis (Getafe)
Getafe finally moved into the top half of the La Liga after their win over Valladolid, but they could not have done it without the immense contributions of Alexis. The 27-year-old was on hand to score his side's equalising goal in the 74th minute after he rose highest to head home from Pedro Leon's cross.
In defence, Alexis cut an imposing figure, clearing his lines effectively and showing excellent reading of the game to make several timely interceptions and deny Valladolid a sniff at at goal.
DM: Alex Song (Barcelona)
Song has been on the periphery of the first-team ever since his transfer from Arsenal in the summer, but the Cameroonian made the most of a rare start in his favoured defensive midfielder role following a suspension to usual starter Sergio Busquets.
Song's passing was crisp, his tackling was tenacious, and the 25-year-old managed to open his Barcelona account with a well taken goal in the 29th minute as he unerringly finished from Messi's cutback to put his side into the lead.
CM: Arda Turan (Atletico Madrid)
Liverpool are reportedly interested in signing Turan during the January transfer window and based on his display for Atletico Madrid in their win against Granada, it is easy to see why.
The Turkish international was a livewire for his side as he dominated the middle of the pitch throughout the game and asked all sorts of questions of the Granada defence. His pace, trickery and dribbling was a joy to behold, and it was only fitting that he would be the man to score the winning goal for his side with an unstoppable left footed shot from close range.
AM: Mesut Ozil (Real Madrid)
Ozil was one of the key figures in Real's rout of Bilbao, with the 24-year-old playmaker pulling the strings in the middle of the pitch for Los Blancos. The former Werder Bremen player's passing range and vision was apparent in this game and the Bilba midfield had a tough time trying to contain the effervescent midfielder.
Unsurprisingly, Ozil was the catalyst for Real as he provided the assist for Ramos to score in the 29th minute before getting himself on the scoresheet with a simple tap-in from seven yards to convert Benzema' low cross.
ST: Jose Antonio Reyes (Sevilla)
Sevilla were under immense pressure prior to their game against Betis following a poor run of results, but a masterful performance from Reyes earned them some relief as they routed the Verderones. The former Spain international was in inspirational form and tormented the Betis defence throughout the game with his pace and direct running.
The former Arsenal striker got things going for Los Rojiblancos by making the most of a goalkeeping error by Adrian and scoring in the opening seconds of the game. Reyes doubled his goal tally with a predatory effort in the 33rd minute to score from close range, then turned provider when his cross was well met by Fazio who headed the ball into the back of the net.
ST: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
I know many of you are probably sick and tired of seeing Messi's name in the La Liga Team of the Week but we can hardly leave him out given the form he has been in.
The Argentina international marked his ninth year in a Barcelona shirt by turning in an eye-catching performance (yet again) to lead his side to a win over Real Zaragoza. Messi opened the scoring by calmly placing the ball past Zaragoza custodian Roberto Jimenez to finish off a wonderful pass-and-move with team-mate Alba.
The 25-year-old was proving a real handful for the Zaragoza defence with his tricky dribbling and it was no surprise when he held off three challenges to make his way to the touchline, before showing great presence of mind to find Song in the penalty box, who finished the move with aplomb. Messi then wrapped up the victory for his side with an accurate effort from just outside the box which curled past the reach of Jimenez.
ST: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
Cristiano Ronaldo may have left his scoring boots at home when Real clashed with Bilbao on Saturday but Benzema made sure the Portuguese's "off-day" would not have too much of a negative impact on his side with a clinical display in front of goal.
The Frenchman has been recently accused of not making full use of his talents after several lacklustre displays, but Benzema answered his critics in unequivocal fashion by playing an integral part in Real's first goal. The 24-year-old brilliantly controlled Luka Modric's pass from deep, before firing a shot at goal which deflected off the unfortunate Jon Aurtenetxe to wrong foot Bilbao goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz.
Benzema's first goal may have had a hint of fortune about it but the former Lyon player's second goal was a testament to quality he possesses as he received a pass from Jose Maria Callejon inside the box, made a sharp turn, and curled a left-footed shot into the bottom corner of the net. Benzema compounded his dazzling display with an assist after his low cross was turned in by Ozil.