Barca break clear, Lyon fall back

The usual suspects all held onto their positions in Europe's top leagues this weekend. In the Premier League, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal kept their title campaigns on track with victories. In the Bundesliga, Bayern Munich stole a last-gasp win in the match of the day against leaders Hoffenheim, while Bayer Leverkusen returned to within three points of the summit. In Serie A, Inter Milan, Juventus, AC Milan and Napoli each bagged three points in their respective games. In La Liga, Barcelona brushed aside Valencia to stretch their lead to six points ahead of closest rivals Villarreal, and nine points ahead of Real Madrid, who lost a seven-goal thriller at home to Sevilla. Finally, in France, Lyon slipped up away to Nantes while Marseille and Bordeaux both claimed wins. presents a rundown of all the weekend action in the major European leagues.

Premier League: Chelsea and Liverpool bounce back
Following their 2-1 reverse at home to Arsenal last weekend, Chelsea returned to business with a 2-0 win at Bolton, where Nicolas Anelka chalked up his 13th goal of the season. Meanwhile, frontrunners Liverpool held on to their one-point lead with a convincing 3-1 victory at Blackburn.

Manchester United left it late to snatch three points against Sunderland, Nemanja Vidic grabbing a stoppage-time winner to condemn the plucky visitors to a 1-0 defeat. Fourth-placed Arsenal also notched a 1-0 home win to keep the top trio in their sights, Emmanuel Adebayor's strike proving enough to see off the challenge of Wigan.

Top three: Liverpool (37 pts), Chelsea (36), Manchester United (31)
Bottom three: Sunderland (15), Blackburn Rovers (13), West Bromwich Albion (12)
Top scorers: Nicolas Anelka (13 goals), Cristiano Ronaldo, Robinho (8)

Weekend stat: 11 - The number of successive top-flight away victories recorded by Chelsea, surpassing Tottenham's record of ten wins, set 48 years ago in 1960.

Ligue 1: Nantes fightback floors leaders
Despite opening the scoring through Frédéric Piquionne, Lyon stumbled to their third league defeat of the season, going down 2-1 at Nantes. Les Canaries owed their victory to Croatian striker Ivan Klasnic, who entered play on the hour to fire a brace which leaves Les Gones without a win in three matches.

Marseille weathered a late barrage of pressure to overcome Nice 2-1 and reclaim second place from Rennes, who slip down to third position after their 1-1 draw away at Caen. Just one point behind in fourth and fifth place respectively, Bordeaux overcame Valenciennes 2-1 while Paris Saint-Germain beat Le Mans 3-1.

Top three: Lyon (34 pts), Marseille (31), Rennes (30)
Bottom three: Sochaux, Le Havre (12), Valenciennes (11)
Top scorers: Guillaume Hoarau (10 goals), Karim Benzema, Fernando Cavenaghi (9)

Weekend stat: 17 - The number of matchdays needed by Nantes' summer signing Klasnic to open his account with his first two goals of the season.

Bundesliga: Bayern bridge the gap
First met second as Hoffenheim travelled to Bayern Munich for the Bundesliga's headline fixture, a match which more than lived up to its billing. Having gone 1-0 behind to the visitors at the start of the second half, the Reds dug deep to find an equaliser, before Luca Toni's injury-time winner handed the hosts the three points that take them level on points at the summit.

Bayer Leverkusen's 3-1 win at Borussia Monchengladbach edges them to within three points of the top two. Meanwhile, Hertha Berlin saw their four-match winning streak ended with a 1-0 defeat at Schalke 04, although they remain equal fourth with Hamburg, four points behind the leaders.

Top three: Hoffenheim (34 pts), Bayern Munich (34), Bayer Leverkusen (31)
Bottom three: Cottbus (12), Bochum, Borussia Monchengladbach (11)
Top scorers: Vedad Ibisevic (18 goals), Patrick Helmes (12), Grafite (11)

Weekend stat: 0 - The number of points separating Bayern Munich from leaders Hoffenheim. Not since Matchday 4 have the Bavarians been so close to the summit.

La Liga: King Henry leads Barça to victory
A hat-trick from Thierry Henry spearheaded Barcelona's 4-0 annihilation of Valencia at the Nou Camp, the Catalan club extending their lead at the top to six points over closest contenders Villarreal.

The Yellow Submarine, who were trailing 3-0 at home to Getafe with little more than half an hour remaining, dragged themselves back from the brink to salvage a 3-3 draw. Finally, Real Madrid launched their own spirited comeback against Sevilla at the Bernabeu, cancelling out a 3-1 deficit only to lose the match 4-3 thanks to Renato's winner on 84 minutes.

Top three: Barcelona (35 pts), Villarreal (29), Valencia (27)
Bottom three: Espanyol (13), Recreativo Huelva (10), Osasuna (9)
Top scorers: Samuel Eto'o (14 goals), David Villa (12), Forlan (10)

Weekend stat: 10 - The tenth league hat-trick scored by Thierry Henry, his second for Barcelona, which came during the Saturday evening match against Valencia.

Serie A: Inter call the shots
Inter Milan passed their latest test with flying colours away at Lazio. The Nerazzuri took all of two minutes to silence the fans in Rome's Olympic Stadium with their first goal in a convincing 3-0 win. With that performance, Jose Mourinho's men were able to keep the chasing pack at arm's length.

Their closest rivals all sateyd in contention by posting away wins. Juventus outshone Lecce 2-1, AC Milan edged Catania 1-0 and Napoli emerged 2-0 winners at Siena. Finally, Fiorentina plundered a 4-1 victory at relegation-threatened Torino, while Roma continued their revival with a 1-0 win at Chievo.

Top three: Inter Milan (36 pts), Juventus, AC Milan (30)
Bottom three: Reggina (12), Bologna (11), Chievo (9)
Top scorers: Diego Milito (12 goals), Alberto Gilardino (11), Marco di Vaio (9)

Weekend stat: 1000 - The total number of wins recorded by Roma in Serie A following their 1-0 success at Chievo on Saturday night.

In the Netherlands, Sparta Rotterdam's 6-2 mauling at FC Twente condemned them to a record-breaking 600th league defeat. Meanwhile, leaders AZ Alkmaar continue to set the pace following their 2-0 victory at Heracles Almelo, while PSV Eindhoven registered a 4-2 win at FC Groningen and Ajax ran out 2-1 victors away to FC Volendam.

In Switzerland's Axpo Super League, FC Basel's 3-1 home triumph over Aarau keeps up the pressure on leaders FC Zurich, who maintained their slender one-point lead with a clinical 3-0 win at Bellinzona.