European Leagues review
The top of the Premier League has a familiar feel to it and the usual suspects in Spain all won. However, change is in the air in the rest of Europe. Mainz lead the Bundesliga for the first time in their history, Cesena surprisingly hold the driving seat in Serie A, while Saint-Etienne are ahead of Toulouse on goal difference at the Ligue 1 summit. FIFA.com reviews the action in the major leagues across the continent.
Premier League: Chelsea stride clear
Five games into the campaign, bottom club West Ham United are finally off the mark after drawing 1-1 away to fellow strugglers Stoke City. Mid-table Sunderland nicked a point off ten-man Arsenal with an equaliser deep into stoppage time, a result that left the Gunners in second. Everton remain in trouble after losing at home to promoted Newcastle United, whose victory came courtesy of Hatem Ben Arfa's superb strike and lifted them to sixth.
The star of the weekend was unquestionably Dimitar Berbatov. The Bulgarian struck a hat-trick as third-placed Manchester United beat Liverpool in a 3-2 thriller. The Reds remain mired just above the drop zone. Promoted Blackpool became the latest team to be routed by leaders Chelsea, who were four up by half-time at Stamford Bridge and left it at that. Manchester City are up to fourth after beating Wigan Athletic 2-0.
Top three: Chelsea (15 points), Arsenal (11), Manchester United (11)
Bottom three: Wigan Athletic (4 points), Everton (2), West Ham United (1)
Leading scorers: Dimitar Berbatov, Florent Malouda (both 6 goals), Didier Drogba (5)
Weekend stat: 13 –Tottenham Hotspur were a goal down to Wolverhampton Wanderers but struck three times in 13 second-half minutes to turn the game around.
La Liga: Third victory for Valencia
Angel di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo hit the target as Real Madrid went third with a 2-1 victory over Real Sociedad. Mallorca won for the first time in 2010/11 with a 2-0 success against struggling Osasuna. In the big game of the weekend, Barcelona went sixth and knocked Atletico Madrid off top spot with a deserved 2-1 away win. Lionel Messi was on fine form, but hobbled off near the end to dampen a fine afternoon for Pep Guardiola's team.
Valencia made it three wins from three and are enjoying the view from the top of the standings. Juan Mata and Pablo Hernandez scored the goals away to Hercules. David Trezeguet’s reply proved too little for the newcomers. Sevilla remain hot on Valencia’s heels, beating Malaga 2-1 to remain ahead of Real Madrid on goal difference. In the Monday night game, Deportivo face Getafe.
Top three: Valencia (9 points), Sevilla, Real Madrid (both 7)
Bottom three: Osasuna, Real Zaragoza (both 1 point), Levante (0)
Leading scorers: Diego Forlan, Fernando Llorente, Nilmar (all 3 goals)
Weekend stat: 5 – There were five away wins on the La Liga programme at the weekend, courtesy of Real Madrid, Valencia, Villarreal, Sevilla and Barcelona.
Bundesliga: Minnows march on
Four games into the season, Mainz are clear of the pack in first place. The leaders won 2-0 away to out-of-sorts Werder Bremen to maintain their perfect start. Second-placed Hoffenheim were held 2-2 away to promoted Kaiserslautern. Borussia Dortmund beat bitter Ruhr valley rivals Schalke 3-1 to go third. Felix Magath's big-spenders are in desperate straits as the only side yet to pick up a point.
Champions Bayern Munich are meandering in ninth after a goalless draw at home to Cologne. Stuttgart had lost all three matches before the weekend, but VfB are back in business after Pavel Pogrebnyak struck a hat-trick in a 7-0 win over Borussia Monchengladbach. Another eagerly-awaited derby saw St. Pauli and Hamburg score a goal apiece and share the spoils.
Top three: Mainz (12 points), Hoffenheim (10), Dortmund (9)
Bottom three: Nurnberg, Wolfsburg (both 3 points), Schalke (0)
Leading scorers: Papiss Cisse, Srdjan Lakic, Edin Dzeko, Pavel Pogrebnyak (all 4 goals)
Weekend stat: 1 – Iceland starlet Gylfi Thor Sigurdsson scored Hoffenheim’s equaliser against Kaiserslautern with his first touch of the ball after coming on as a sub.
Serie A: New boys challenge established order
Cesena are the team of the moment in Italy. The promoted club remain undefeated and even sit proudly atop of the pile after a 1-0 triumph against Lecce. Treble winners Inter Milan are level on points following a 2-1 win away to Palermo. Brescia, also new to Serie A, knocked Chievo off the summit with a 1-0 victory, and are themselves up to fifth.
Juventus dismissed bottom club Udinese 4-0 to record a first win of the campaign, but Roma are languishing in 17th after Bologna came back from two down to draw 2-2. AC Milan were held 1-1 at home by Catania, while Fiorentina sank to second-bottom following a 2-1 home defeat to Lazio. The Rome club are up to fourth.
Top three: Cesena, Inter Milan (both 7 points), Chievo (6)
Bottom three: Palermo, Fiorentina (both 1 point), Udinese (0)
Leading scorers: Samuel Eto'o, Antonio Cassano, Edinson Cavani (all 3 goals)
Weekend stat: 0 – Promoted Cesena have yet to concede a league goal this term.
Ligue 1: Unfancied trio lead the way
Champions Marseille are steadily finding their rhythm and are up to eighth after a routine 3-0 win away to lowly Arles-Avignon. The bottom club already look doomed after losing their first six games. Saint-Etienne beat Montpellier 3-0 and now lead the standings from Toulouse, held to a goalless draw by Monaco, and Rennes, who drew 0-0 away to Paris Saint-Germain. Fifth-placed Sochaux ran up the biggest win of the weekend, downing Nice 4-0.
Promoted Caen are fourth after a 1-0 win away to struggling Lorient. Sixth-placed Lille won 1-0 away to second-bottom Auxerre and remain undefeated this term. Bordeaux beat Lyon 2-0 to pull clear of the relegation zone and deepen the crisis at Les Gones. The former serial champions are 17th.
Top three: Saint-Etienne, Toulouse (both 13 points), Rennes (12)
Bottom three: Lens (5 points), Auxerre (4), Arles-Avignon (0)
Leading scorers: Dimitri Payet (6 goals), Youssef El-Arabi (4), Andre Ayew, Guillaume Hoarau, Daniel Braaten, Benoit Pedretti, Nene, Daniel Niculae (all 3)
Weekend stat: 5 – After Saturday’s goalless stalemate at home to Toulouse, Monaco have now drawn five of their six games to date.
In Turkey, second-placed Trabzonspor surprisingly lost 3-1 at home to unfancied Manisaspor, who rose from last to 16th. Galatasaray chalked up a third win of term with a 1-0 success away to promoted Bucaspor. The first of the big Istanbul derbies between Fenerbahce and Besiktas ended 1-1. Leaders Bursaspor play on Monday.
In Portugal, champions Benfica won the Lisbon derby against Sporting 2-0. Braga were held 2-2 by Pacos de Ferreira. Nacional and Porto meet in Funchal on Monday night.