Four things we learned in Spain's Matchday 4 (Analysis)

Madrid, Sep 6 (IANS): Matchday four of La Liga ended with Real Madrid as solitary leaders after a 2-1 win at home to Real Betis, who complained after a foul on Nabil Fekir wasn't given as a penalty, while there were refereeing errors in other matches too. Here are some things we learned this weekend in Spain.

1. What is happening with the VAR?

Before the season, the referees informed that the VAR would only intervene for clear and obvious errors and that there would be fewer soft penalties given for slight contact in the penalty area, reports Xinhua.

That is all well and good, but Dani Carvajal's early foul on Fekir in Real Madrid's win over Betis was a clear contact that the referee didn't give and the VAR didn't correct. It's hard to understand why.

There is a rule that any handball in attack which leads to a goal has to be given, but Umar Sadiq's equalizer for Real Sociedad against Atletico Madrid clearly came after he headed the ball only with his arm and into the net. Again the VAR failed to correct a clear error.

The problem with these two errors is that neither was subjective. There was no debate about Carvajal making substantial contact with Fekir or Sadiq's handball, and inexplicable "errors" like this reduce confidence in the competition as a whole.

2. Worrying times for Lopetegui at Sevilla

Sevilla enjoyed 20 good minutes at home to FC Barcelona and could have been 2-0 ahead before Raphinha put Barca ahead in the Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium, but once falling behind Julen Lopetegui's side had no answer.

Barca cut Sevilla to pieces, finding spaces all over the pitch and could have won by considerably more than just 3-0.

The result leaves Sevilla with just one point from 12 and with the crowd losing their patience with Lopetegui.

It's clear losing defenders as Diego Carlos and Jules Kounde -- who moved to Barca -- has severely weakened Sevilla's entire defense and Lopetegui needs a solution fast, but with Manchester City next up in the Champions League, things could get worse before they get better and patience isn't a virtue seem often in football.

3. Villarreal on fire

Villarreal continued their excellent start to the season to confirm pre-season predictions that they are top-four candidates at least.

Unai Emery's side breezed past Elche 4-0 on Sunday and are currently third, behind Real Madrid and Barcelona.

As well as looking fluid and dangerous in attack, Villarreal are well balanced and are the only side not to have conceded any goals this campaign and with no Champions League to distract them, this could be Villarreal's season.

4. Crisis at Cadiz

Cadiz's 3-0 defeat away to Celta Vigo on Friday night means they have kicked off the season with four defeats from four games in which they have conceded 10 goals and scored 0.

Sergio Gonzalez's side look vulnerable in defense and lightweight in attack, where the 37-year-old veteran Alvaro Negredo is still starting.

Although Cadiz were always expected to suffer, what makes their worst ever start to a season slightly surprising is that it comes after an excellent recovery under Sergio in the second half of last season.

The coach insists he is to blame, but a look at their summer transfer activity shows that apart from right back Joseba Zaldua, they have failed to sign players with top-flight experience and at the moment, they are paying for it.



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