The leaders in England and Italy marched clear as the leadership changed hands in Germany. With Real Madrid consolidating top spot in Spain in considerable style and Rennes’ grip on pole position in France loosening, FIFA.com reviews the weekend’s developments across Europe.
Premier League: Chelsea go clear, Arsenal win at Eastlands
Chelsea saw off struggling Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-0 to cement top spot, with seven wins from nine games so far. West Bromwich Albion beat Fulham 2-1 and are the best of the promoted clubs in sixth. In the biggest clash of the weekend, ten-man Manchester City slipped to fourth after losing 3-0 at home to Arsenal, a result which sent the Gunners second.
Javier Hernandez scored a brace as Manchester United went third with a 2-1 win away to Stoke City. Liverpool beat Blackburn Rovers 2-1 in a battle of troubled teams, though the Reds’ second win of the season was not enough to lift them out of the drop zone.
Top three: Chelsea (22 points), Arsenal, Manchester United (both 17)
Bottom three: Liverpool (9 points), Wolverhampton Wanderers, West Ham United (both 6)
Leading scorers: Florent Malouda, Carlos Tevez (both 7 goals), Dimitar Berbatov, Didier Drogba (both 6)
Weekend stat: 2 – Chelsea appear in ominous form: the west London side have both the best attack and best defence in the league, with 25 goals for and just two against.
La Liga: Messi shines, Ronaldo dazzles
Cristiano Ronaldo contributed four goals as Real Madrid dismissed lowly Racing Santander 6-1 to retain pole position. Their two nearest challengers also won: Villarreal beat Atletico Madrid 2-0, and Lionel Messi scored both goals as Barcelona overcame tailenders Zaragoza.
Fourth-placed Valencia lost for the second time in succession, falling 2-1 at home to Mallorca. It rained goals in Seville, where the sixth-placed hosts ultimately beat tenth-placed Athletic Bilbao 4-3. In tonight's fixture, Real Sociedad, in 16th, entertain 19th-placed Deportivo.
Top three: Real Madrid (20 points), Villarreal, Barcelona (both 19)
Bottom three: Racing Santander (7 points), Deportivo (4), Zaragoza (3)
Leading scorers: Cristiano Ronaldo (9 goals), Fernando Llorente (6), Gonzalo Higuain, Lionel Messi, Nilmar, Giuseppe Rossi (all 5)
Weekend stat: 3 – In the Sevilla-Bilbao goal-fest, three players netted two apiece: Luis Fabiano and Frederic Kanoute for the home team, and Fernando Llorente for the visitors.
Bundesliga: Mainz reclaim top spot
Fast-starting Mainz travelled to fifth-placed Bayer Leverkusen and won 1-0, reclaiming the driving seat thanks to Borussia Dortmund’s 1-1 home draw with Hoffenheim. Hannover continued their bright start to the campaign with a 2-1 home win over Cologne. In the wake of their third defeat on the bounce, the Rhineland side dismissed coach Zvonimir Soldo.
Resurgent Werder Bremen moved up to eighth with a 4-1 win away to relegation-haunted Borussia Monchengladbach and have now gone four games undefeated. Champions Bayern Munich remain mired in mid-table after a goalless stalemate away to sixth-placed Hamburg.
Top three: Mainz (24 points), Borussia Dortmund (22), Hannover (16)
Bottom three: Schalke, Borussia Monchengladbach (both 6 points), Cologne (5)
Leading scorers: Papiss Cisse (8 goals), Theofanis Gekas (7), Grafite (6)
Weekend stat: 8 – Nine games into the campaign, Bayern are the least prolific team in the division with just eight goals so far.
Serie A: Lazio extend lead
On Matchday 8 in Italy, Lazio beat struggling Cagliari 2-1 and extended their lead at the summit. Second-placed Inter Milan were held 1-1 by Sampdoria and are now four points off the men from the capital. Juventus played out a goalless draw away to 16th-placed Bologna and missed the chance to go third.
Chievo edged promoted Cesena 2-1 and leapfrogged Juve to go fourth. Fiorentina advanced to 15th and eased the relegation pressure with a 2-1 win at home to Bari, who slipped to 18th. Tonight's game sees sixth-placed Napoli entertain third-placed AC Milan.
Top three: Lazio (19 points), Inter (15), AC Milan (14)
Bottom three: Bari (8 points), Cagliari, Parma (both 7)
Leading scorers: Samuel Eto'o (7 goals), Edinson Cavani (6), Marco di Vaio, Alessandro Matri (both 5)
Weekend stat: 4 – Leaders Lazio won for the fourth time on the bounce to keep their rivals safely at bay.
Ligue 1: Rennes taste defeat for the first time
On Matchday 10, leaders Rennes lost for the first time this term when visitors Montpellier won 1-0 to go sixth. Reigning champions Marseille went second with a 3-1 success away to Lille, while third-placed Saint-Etienne lost ground in a 1-1 draw with ninth-placed Caen. Newcomers Brest beat Bordeaux 2-0 and are now a creditable fourth.
Paris Saint-Germain tumbled to seventh after a 3-2 defeat at home to 15th-placed Auxerre, which was the relegation-threatened visitors’ second win of the campaign. Bottom club Arles-Avignon will take heart from a 1-1 draw with Lyon, although the latter are a shadow of their former selves at present and lie 14th.
Top three: Rennes (19 points), Marseille, Saint-Etienne (both 18)
Bottom three: Monaco, Lens (both 9 points), Arles-Avignon (2)
Leading scorers: Dimitri Payet (8 goals), Youssef El-Arabi, Nene (both 6)
Weekend stat: 1 – Rennes were undefeated in their first nine games, but Joris Steve Marveaux's solitary strike for Montpellier condemned the Breton outfit to their first defeat.
In Serbia, Partizan travelled to bitter local rivals Crvena Zvezda and won 1-0, displacing their opponents at the top of the SuperLiga. Meanwhile in Russia, the goalless draw between CSKA Moscow and Rubin Kazan, in third and second respectively, helped only leaders Zenit.
In Scotland, the 389th Old Firm derby between Celtic and Rangers finished 3-1 to the latter, who now lead the SPL by three points from their arch-rivals. In the Dutch Eredivisie, leaders PSV met fallen giants Feyenoord and rattled up double figures in an astonishing 10-0 romp.
Champions Bursaspor remain top of the pile in Turkey after demolishing Ankaragucu 5-1 away from home, while Istanbul pair Fenerbahce and Galatasaray took points off each other in a scoreless draw.