European Leagues review

Only two of the leaders in Europe’s five leading leagues managed maximum points at the weekend. Barcelona in Spain and Bordeaux in France both won, but the front-runners in Germany, Italy and England were all held to draws. However, there were slip-ups for a clutch of title contenders too, including Manchester United, AC Milan and Werder Bremen. reviews the weekend action from around Europe’s leading leagues.

Premier League: Chelsea extend lead despite draw
Top two Chelsea and Manchester United both failed to win. The west London side were held 3-3 at home by Everton, but still stretched their advantage over Manchester United to three points, as the champions lost 1-0 at home to Aston Villa. The Midlands club went fourth after their first league win at Old Trafford in 26 years.

Tottenham in fifth also fell at home by the same score to promoted Wolverhampton Wanderers. The timely win keeps Wolves above the drop zone in 17th. The big clash between Liverpool and Arsenal ended in a 2-1 win for the Gunners. Arsene Wenger’s side are now right back in the title race at just six points off the lead, but the Reds continue to struggle at a yawning 13 points off top spot.

Top three: Chelsea (37 points), Manchester United (34), Arsenal (31)
Bottom three: West Ham United (14), Bolton Wanderers (13), Portsmouth (11)
Leading scorers: Didier Drogba (13), Jermain Defoe (12), Wayne Rooney (11)
Weekend stat: 55 – In Wigan’s 2-2 draw with Stoke, Maynor Figueroa (Wigan Athletic) put his side 2-1 up with a shot from his own half. The ball travelled some 55 metres before crossing the line.

La Liga: Madrid and Barcelona march on
In contrast to their counterparts in England, the top two in Spain both won. Leaders Barcelona edged out city rivals Espanyol thanks to a 39th-minute Zlatan Ibrahimovic penalty. At the head of the chasing pack, Real Madrid squeezed past fellow contenders Valencia 3-2.

Sevilla won away to Sporting Gijon by the only goal of the game to topple Valencia from third spot. Nineteenth-placed Malaga drew 1-1 away to Valladolid and remain stuck on just one victory so far this term, a 3-0 success against Atletico Madrid on opening day. Since then, Malaga have lost seven and drawn six, including five consecutive draws up to the weekend.

Top three: Barcelona (39 points), Real Madrid (34), Sevilla (30)
Bottom three: Saragossa (12), Malaga (9), Deportivo Xerez (7)
Leading scorers: David Villa (12 goals), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (11), Lionel Messi (9)
Weekend stat: 15 – The 1-0 win against Espanyol means champions Barcelona equal the club record of 15 games undefeated, set back in 1984/85.

Bundesliga: Bayer thwarted, Bayern and Schalke gain ground
Top dogs Bayer Leverkusen could only draw 2-2 away to bottom club Hertha Berlin, the leaders’ second stalemate in a row. Bayer looked set for victory after going 2-1 up in the last minute, but Adrian Ramos completed his brace in stoppage time to salvage a point for the men from the capital.

Resurgent Bayern Munich pummelled Bochum 5-1 away from home to move ominously into third, helped by Werder Bremen’s 2-0 home defeat to Schalke, who leapfrogged their rivals to go second after inflicting Werder’s first defeat in 23 matches. Hamburg ended a seven-game winless run in the Bundesliga with a 4-1 triumph away to Nuremberg.

Top three: Bayer Leverkusen (32 points), Schalke (31), Bayern (30)
Bottom three: Bochum (13), Nuremberg (12), Hertha Berlin (6)
Leading scorers: Stefan Kiessling (12 goals), Lucas Barrios, Kevin Kuranyi (both 8), Mario Gomez (7)
Weekend stat: 3 – the number of own goals in Monchengladbach’s 5-3 home win over Hannover, an event last seen in the Bundesliga a decade ago. Even more curiously, all the own goals were scored by Hannover players.

Serie A: Wins scarce at the top
Despite a laboured 1-1 draw away to Atalanta, leaders Inter extended their lead at the top, aided and abetted by defeats for chief rivals AC Milan and Juventus. Milan fell 2-0 to 13th-placed Palermo, while Juve went down 3-1 away to promoted Bari, who lie fifth.

Fellow newcomers Parma strengthened their grip on fourth spot with a 2-1 victory over Bologna. Cup holders Lazio breathed a sigh of relief after beating Genoa 1-0. The Rome outfit improve to 15th after their third win of term.

Top three: Inter (36 points), AC Milan (31), Juventus (30)
Bottom three: Atalanta (13), Siena (12), Catania (9)
Leading scorers: Antonio di Natale (11 goals), Diego Milito (10), Francesco Totti (9)
Weekend stat: 5 – after ten games without defeat and wins in their last five, AC Milan came away empty-handed at the weekend

Ligue 1: Jubilant champions march on
Leaders Bordeaux visited Lyon, the club whose run of seven consecutive titles they ended last season. The battle of the titans was deadlocked until four minutes from time, when Marouane Chamakh struck the winner for the elated visitors. Bordeaux thus returned to winning ways in Lyon after losing on their last two visits.

Montpellier’s scintillating run of form continued with a 1-0 success away to Toulouse. The promoted club cemented their hold on second spot courtesy of a ninth win in 15 games. Third-placed Lille celebrated a second 4-0 victory in the space of four days, beating St Etienne in a rearranged fixture last Thursday and repeating the feat away to Monaco on Sunday. Le Mans made it three wins for the campaign with a 2-1 success against Valenciennes, although it was not enough for them to pull clear of the relegation places.

Top three: Bordeaux (34 points), Montpellier (30), Lille (28)
Bottom three: Le Mans, Boulogne-sur-Mer (both 12), Grenoble (6)
Leading scorers: Nene (10 goals), Pierre-Alain Frau, Gervinho, Lisandro Lopez, Asamoah Gyan (all 8)
Weekend stat: 5 – Olympique Lyon are down to ninth in the standings after a miserable run of three draws and two defeats in their last five games.

Dick Advocaat lost his first match in charge at Netherlands champions AZ Alkmaar. The Belgium coach and his new club charges fell 1-0 to second-placed PSV Eindhoven. In Greece, Panthrakikos remain without a win this season. The bottom club went down 3-0 away to champions Olympiakos.