Individual genius proves decisive

The headlines belonged to Gonzalo Higuain and Samuel Eto'o this weekend after they scored four goals apiece, while there were also individual performances of note from Samir Nasri and Nicolas Anelka. reviews the latest action from Europe's most prestigious leagues.

Premier League: Arsenal overcome United
A Samir Nasri double helped Arsenal silence the critics on Saturday, when Arsene Wenger's side beat Manchester United 2-1. Fellow title aspirants Liverpool reacted to their 2-1 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur last time out by overcoming West Bromwich Albion 3-0 to assume temporary leadership of the competition.

However, this was reclaimed by Chelsea on Sunday. A Nicolas Anelka brace was enough to bank the Blues a 2-0 win away to Blackburn Rovers, which returned them to the summit on goal difference. 

Top three: Chelsea (29 points), Liverpool (29), Arsenal (23)
Bottom three: Newcastle United (12 points), Sunderland (12), West Bromwich Albion (11)
Leading scorers: Nicolas Anelka (10 goals), Amr Zaki (8), Robinho (7)
Weekend stat: 9 - the number of consecutive wins Chelsea have managed away from home, equalling the club record set between 28 December 2004 and 15 May 2005 and leaving them one victory behind Tottenham's benchmark from 1960.

Ligue 1: Favourites prevail
The top three remain unchanged in France after Fred earned Lyon a 1-0 win at Monaco, Marseille triumphed 3-0 at Grenoble and Bordeaux rallied in the last 20 minutes to beat Auxerre 2-0.

Further down the table, Sochaux ran out 2-1 winners over Le Mans at the Stade Bonal for their very first victory of the season, before Paris Saint-Germain defeated Lille 1-0 on Sunday.

Top three: Lyon (30 points), Marseille (26), Bordeaux (24)
Bottom three: Saint-Etienne (10 points), Sochaux (9), Valenciennes (9)
Leading scorers: Karim Benzema (8 goals), Fernando Cavenaghi (7) Hatem Ben Arfa (6)
Weekend stat: 24 - the number of goals scored by Fernando Cavenaghi from his 28 starts in all competitions since arriving at Bordeaux.

La Liga: Barça roll continues
Barcelona raced to their eighth consecutive league win on Saturday, four goals from Samuel Eto'o inspiring a 6-0 defeat of Real Valladolid that kept them one point clear of runners-up Villarreal, who downed Almeria 2-1 on Sunday. For their part, Real Madrid found themselves reduced to ten men with just 44 minutes gone against Malaga, but still managed to pull level three times before Gonzalo Higuain's fourth of the game sealed a memorable 4-3 success.

Valencia also succeeded in keeping pace with Barcelona courtesy of a 3-0 victory at Getafe, and Sevilla also kept themselves in the mix with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Recreativo Huelva.

Top three: Barcelona (25 points), Villarreal (24), Valencia (23)
Bottom three: Numancia (7 points), Athletic Bilbao (6), Osasuna (5)
Leading scorers: Samuel Eto'o (13 goals), David Villa (10), Gonzalo Higuain (9)
Weekend stat: 4Gonzalo Higuain and Samuel Eto'o both helped themselves to quartets. The previous four-goal haul in La Liga belonged to Ruud van Nistelrooy, who was Real's solitary marksman in their 4-1 win at at Osasuna on 12 November 2006.

Bundesliga: Bayern back in business
Luca Toni and Franck Ribery did the scoring as Bayern Munich moved into the top three with a 2-1 success at Schalke, and they now lie a solitary point shy of the leaders.

Bayer Leverkusen took over at the summit on goal difference, despite letting slip a three-goal lead to draw 3-3 with Karlsruhe. Previous leaders Hoffenheim lost 1-0 at Hertha Berlin, while fourth-placed Hamburg are now two points off the top courtesy of their 2-1 win over Borussia Dortmund.

Top three: Bayer Leverkusen (25 points), Hoffenheim (25), Bayern Munich (24)
Bottom three: Bochum (9), Arminia Bielefeld (8), Energie Cottbus (6)
Leading scorers: Vedad Ibisevic (13 goals), Patrick Helmes (9), Grafite, Artur Wichniarek (both 8) 
Weekend stat: 12 - the number of consecutive matches in which Dortmund have scored this season: all of their games, in fact. The total rises to 15 if last season is included.

Serie A: Milan clubs in control
AC Milan conceded pole position to arch-rivals Inter Milan, after a last-gasp equaliser consigned them to a 1-1 draw at Lecce. Earlier on Sunday, the Nerazzurri had celebrated a dramatic 1-0 victory at home against Udinese thanks to a stoppage-time winner from Julio Cruz.

Those two familiar foes have a battle on their hands in the race for honours, however, after Napoli defeated Sampdoria 2-0, Lazio saw off Siena 3-0 and Juventus beat struggling Chievo 2-0 to keep pace. The top eight sides are separated by just four points, in fact, and only Roma, held at Bologna, were unable to join in on a weekend of wins for the favourites.

Top three: Inter Milan (24 points), AC Milan (23), Napoli (23)
Bottom three: Bologna (7 points), Chievo (6), Reggina (5)
Leading scorers: Diego Milito (9 goals), Alberto Gilardino (8), Mauro Zarate (7)
Weekend stat: 400 - the number of Serie A encounters disputed by Francesco Totti in a Roma shirt. In that time, he has scored 167 times.

In the Swiss Super League, the Zurich derby belonged to FC Zurich following their 2-1 victory over Grasshoppers, while leaders Basel prevailed 2-0 at Vaduz. Another major European derby ended in Fenerbahce taking all three points against Istanbul rivals Galatasaray, courtesy of a 4-1 scoreline in the Turkish Super Lig.

PSV Eindhoven suffered their fourth reverse of the campaign in the Dutch Eredivisie, meanwhile, losing 1-0 at Nijmegen. Ajax were successful, though, sinking Sparta Rotterdam 5-2 to go level on points with leaders AZ Alkmaar. Finally, the Greek Super League's two big games at the top resulted in draws, with the match between Panathinaikos and Olympiacos finishing 0-0 and the game between Xanthi and AEK Athens ending 1-1.