x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Two-goal Villa sinks new boys

David Villa made it eight goals from seven games with a brace in Valencia's 4-0 hammering of promoted Numancia.

David Villa made it eight goals from seven games with a brace in Valencia's 4-0 hammering of promoted Numancia. The Spain striker, who has also scored five for the European champions in World Cup qualifying, netted after only five minutes at the Mestalla on Sunday. He then helped set up Juan Mata midway through the second half, and after substitute Vicente had made it 3-0, Villa stole a fourth at the end.

"At 1-0 Numancia had their chances and the difference between the sides was effectiveness in front of goal," said the Valencia coach Unai Emery. "In footballing terms the difference wasn't that great. There is room for improvement." Valencia are now seven games unbeaten since the start of the season and lead the standings with 19 points, two ahead of Sevilla and Villarreal. Local rivals Villarreal were held to a 0-0 draw at Espanyol, while Sevilla climbed above them on goal difference thanks to a 1-0 victory at Almeria in Sunday's late game.

Adriano Correia volleyed the only goal, though it took a deflection off Almeria's Chico. Sevilla have gone five league games without conceding. Barcelona are fourth with 16 points after Samuel Eto'o hit a great goal to give them a 1-0 win against Athletic Bilbao. In the 63rd minute, Thierry Henry laid on the pass for Eto'o who burst past his marker to smash the ball into the net. Barca had Victor Valdes to thank for some important saves as Pep Guardiola's outfit made it five consecutive wins.

Having rested both Lionel Messi and Xavi, Guardiola said: "If we had lost, everyone would have said we depend on Xavi and Messi. My players have proved they are a tight unit that depends on no one." * Reuters