Barcelona took full advantage of Real Madrid's heavy defeat in the capital city derby to close the gap at the top of the Primera Division to a single point on Sunday night.
Lionel Messi had a hand in all of Barcelona's goals, scoring one, as they trounced Athletic Bilbao 5-2, with strikes from Luis Suarez, Neymar, Pedro and an Oscar de Marcos own goal taking the Catalan giants clear of their opponents.
Mikel Rico and Aritz Aduriz scored for Bilbao, but they never looked capable of springing an upset against Luis Enrique's side.
The win takes Barcelona up to 53 points and right onto Real Madrid's coattails after they lost 4-0 to third-placed rivals Atletico Madrid on Saturday.
It extends Barcelona's winning streak to nine games in all competitions, with the Catalan giants turning the screw ever since their shock 1-0 defeat to David Moyes' Real Sociedad last month.
Valencia made the most of Sevilla slumping to a 2-1 defeat at Getafe as they moved up to fourth after battling to a 2-1 win at Espanyol.
Pablo Piatti marked his return from injury by putting the visitors ahead in the second half and Valencia doubled their lead when Dani Parejo's free-kick bounced off the face of hapless goalkeeper Pau Lopez.
Sergio Garcia pulled one back for the hosts in the 89th minute but Valencia held on to claim just a fourth away victory of the season, taking them two points clear of Sevilla, who will be kicking themselves after losing to strugglers Getafe.
Unai Emery's side thought they had salvaged a point when Grzegorz Krychowiak cancelled out Alvaro Vazquez's first-half penalty for Getafe, but the hosts secured the win in the 85th minute when Pedro Leon tapped home.
At the other end of the table, two quick-fire goals from Michel Macedo saw Almeria come from behind to win a relegation six-pointer at Cordoba 2-1.
Fede Cartabia's free-kick had given the hosts the lead after 10 minutes but defender Macedo equalised just after the hour mark and four minutes later combined again with Arsenal loanee Wellington Silva to head in the winner.