Leaders hold their nerve
© AFP

Inter Milan continue to move inexorably towards the Serie A crown, but elsewhere Europe's top leagues remain fraught with suspense. In Spain, Real Madrid refuse to let Barcelona out of their sights, while in Germany five teams have designs on the title and a mere five points separates the top four in Ligue 1. Tension reigns at the Premier League summit too, although none of the challengers were in league action this weekend.

FIFA.com looks back at the pick of the action from the latest round of matches across Europe.

Premier League: Villa treading water
Held to a 1-1 draw at home by West Ham, Aston Villa spurned the chance to close to within five points of fourth-placed Arsenal, with the Gunners tied up in FA Cup semi-final action. The Villans have not tasted victory in their last nine outings, having drawn three of those and lost six.

In the race for top-flight survival, Sunderland celebrated a 1-0 win against Hull City and Portsmouth beat Bolton by the same scoreline to ease relegation fears, while the situation deteriorated for Newcastle United and West Bromwich Albion, who lost 1-0 to Tottenham Hotspur and 4-2 to Manchester City respectively.

Top three: Manchester United (71 points), Liverpool (70), Chelsea (67)
Bottom three: Middlesbrough (31), Newcastle United (30), West Bromwich Albion (25)
Leading scorers: Nicolas Anelka, Cristiano Ronaldo (15 goals), Steven Gerrard (13)
Weekend stat: 200 - The number of Premier League games already disputed by James Milner at the age of 23 years and 104 days. Only Wayne Rooney reached that landmark sooner, playing his 200th match aged 22 years and 346 days.

La Liga: Barça and Real keep winning
A goal from Lionel Messi allowed Barcelona to carve out a 1-0 victory at the home of their bête noire, Getafe, a result which kept them six points clear of Real Madrid, who ran out 1-0 winners at relegation-threatened Recreativo Huelva. In third, Sevilla succumbed 3-1 at Valencia as their hosts climbed to within five points, while Atletico Madrid overcame Numancia 3-0 to leap ahead of Villarreal and into fifth.

Espanyol gave their hopes of staying up a shot in the arm by seeing off Racing Santander 1-0 in their third outing without defeat. That brought the Barcelona side to within four points of Gijon in 17th spot.

Top three: Barcelona (78 points), Real Madrid (72), Sevilla (57)
Bottom three: Recreativo Huelva (30), Espanyol (29), Numancia (28)
Leading scorers: Samuel Eto'o (26 goals), David Villa (23), Diego Forlan (21)
Weekend stat: 26 and 20 - The number of goals Samuel Eto'o and Lionel Messi have plundered in the league. The Catalan pair are only the seventh same-club duo in Spanish league history to have struck at least 20 goals apiece in the same season.

Serie A: Inter closing in
Ten-man Juventus did well to salvage a 1-1 draw at home against Inter on Saturday, but the leaders still enjoy a healthy ten-point lead over Juve and AC Milan with six matches left. Further back, Roma climbed to within five points of fourth-placed Genoa, taking advantage of the Rossoblu's 1-0 loss to Lazio and a 3-1 reverse for Fiorentina at Udinese. Thanks to their 2-0 victory at Siena, 16th-placed Chievo now lie eight points clear of the danger zone and have surely left Torino, Bologna, Lecce and Reggina to settle the relegation question among themselves.

Top three: Inter (74 points), AC Milan, Juventus (64)
Bottom three: Bologna (26), Lecce (24), Reggina (23)
Leading scorers: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (20 goals), Marco di Vaio (19), Alberto Gilardino, Diego Milito (16)
Weekend stat: 23 - The number of consecutive Serie A games during which Inter have registered at least one goal.

Bundesliga: Five in contention
With six games remaining, Germany's five title challengers are locked in an almighty tussle and each of them refuses to give way. Leaders Wolfsburg defeated Bayer Leverkusen 2-1, Bayern Munich won 1-0 at Bielefeld, Hamburg beat Hannover 2-1, Hertha Berlin managed a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Werder Bremen and Stuttgart brushed aside Cologne 3-0.

Little changed at the opposite end of the table, meanwhile, with six of the seven lowest teams failing to add points. Only bottom club Karlsruhe managed to bolster their account, drawing 2-2 at Hoffenheim.

Top three: Wolfsburg (57 points), Bayern Munich, Hamburg (54)
Bottom three: Borussia Monchengladbach, Energie Cottbus (23), Karlsruhe (19)
Leading scorers: Grafite (22 goals), Vedad Ibisevic, Patrick Helmes, Mario Gomez (18)
Weekend stat: 10 - The number of consecutive wins Wolfsburg have put together in the Bundesliga, equalling the record set by Borussia Monchengladbach during the 1986/87 season.

Ligue 1: Marseille dig deep
Marseille continue to hold sway in Ligue 1 thanks to a winning goal from January signing Brandao, who struck late on to secure a 2-1 win at Lorient. The Mediterranean outfit now enjoy a two-point lead over Bordeaux, newly installed in second spot following their 1-0 home triumph over third-placed Lyon. PSG kept themselves within five points of the frontrunners by putting together a stylish 3-0 victory over Le Havre.

At the bottom, former giants Nantes and Saint-Etienne boosted their survival bids by beating Nice 2-0 and Lille 2-1 respectively. That was enough to take Les Canaris out of the bottom three, while Les Verts now lie level on points with 17th-placed Sochaux.

Top three: Marseille (64 points), Bordeaux (62), Lyon (60)
Bottom three: Saint-Etienne (32), Caen (31), Le Havre (21)
Leading scorers: Andre-Pierre Gignac (19 goals), Guillaume Hoarau (17), Karim Benzema (14)
Weekend stat: 1 - Nantes' win was their first at home since the turn of the year.

Elsewhere
Despite losing 2-1 at home against Vitesse, AZ Alkmaar clinched only their second-ever Dutch title after rivals Twente suffered a 1-0 setback at Feyenoord and Ajax lost 6-2 at PSV Eindhoven.

In Scotland, the drama continues unabated, with Celtic still just a solitary point better off than Rangers after beating Aberdeen 2-0 and watching their eternal foes prevail 3-2 at Hibernian.