Real Madrid moved five points clear of Barcelona at the top of La Liga despite a lacklustre performance as goals from Karim Benzema, Isco and Nacho secured a 3-0 win over Alaves on Sunday.
Benzema volleyed home Dani Carvajal’s cutback for the opening goal just after the half hour mark.
However, the European champions were grateful to Alaves’ wastefulness in front of goal after the break as Deyverson and Edgar Mendez passed up huge chances to equalise.
Isco eventually made the game safe five minutes from time before Nacho rounded off the scoring moments later.
Barcelona can close back to within two points with victory at Granada later on Sunday.
Arsene Wenger endured more frustration as Arsenal were held to a 2-2 draw by top four rivals Manchester City, while Swansea and Middlesbrough remain in relegation danger after a 0-0 draw on Sunday.
With Arsenal fans once again calling for Wenger to resign during a pre-match protest march outside the Emirates Stadium, the Gunners boss desperately needed a dominant display from his team.
Instead, Arsenal twice had to come from behind to avoid a third successive Premier League defeat.
The north Londoners remain in sixth place, seven points behind fourth-placed City in the fight to qualify for the Champions League via a top four finish.
Arsenal fell behind after only five minutes when Leroy Sane held off Hector Bellerin as he accelerated onto Kevin De Bruyne’s pass before rounding David Ospina and slotting home.
Theo Walcott equalised for Arsenal in the 40th minute when he stabbed in after City defender Gael Clichy played him onside following a half-cleared corner.
Just two minutes later, Sergio Aguero restored City’s advantage with a predatory finish after more sloppy Arsenal defending.
Arsenal lost French defender Laurent Koscielny to an Achilles tendon injury at the interval.
But Wenger’s side were back on level terms again eight minutes after half-time as Shkodran Mustafi headed in from Mesut Ozil’s corner.
Meanwhile, at the Liberty Stadium, Middlesbrough wasted a chance to boost their survival bid in a stalemate with relegation rivals Swansea.
Mario Gomez netted a hat-trick inside seven minutes as Wolfsburg fought back from two goals down to take the lead before Bayer Leverkusen salvaged a point in Sunday’s 3-3 draw.
AC Milan’s hopes of a return to European football next season suffered a setback Sunday when they were held to a 1-1 draw at Serie A’s bottom side Pescara.
The dropped points left Vincenzo Montella’s squad in seventh place in the table, two places and four points adrift of the final Europa League qualifying spot.
MOST DOMINATING WIN
Zinedine Zidane would have been delighted with the Whites’ showing at home to Alaves.
Madrid showed no signs of rustiness after the international break and secured important breathing space at the top of the La Liga table.
Sevilla’s stuttering home draw with Sporting was without doubt a big disappointment for boss Jorge Sampaoli.
It meant Atletico Madrid stay in third place, ahead of his charges in the table, and Sevilla seem to be struggling for form when it matters – at the business end of the season.
Arsenal’s draw with Manchester City had a bit of everything and reminded us all why we missed Premier League football so much over the international break.
A point was fair for both sides in North London, however it hasn’t helped either in the table.
Sane’s composure to latch onto De Bruyne’s wonderful pass and dispatch the ball with aplomb is a worthy winner in this category.
PLAYER OF THE DAY
Isco ran the show for Madrid at the Bernabeu and it’s about time Los Blancos signed him up to a new deal.
BLUNDER OF THE DAY
Arsenal’s defence was all at sea for Sane’s opener and the Gunners struggled to deal with City’s attacking threat throughout at the Emirates.