European Leagues review
Mainz, Rennes, Lazio, Valencia and Chelsea currently top Europe’s big five leagues, and only the Londoners can be considered anything other than surprise leaders. Chelsea were also the exception as reigning champions everywhere fared poorly, with Bayern Munich, Marseille, Barcelona and Inter Milan all failing to win. FIFA.com reviews the action in the leading leagues around Europe.
Premier League: Chelsea stretch lead
Chelsea beat London rivals Arsenal 2-0 to go four points clear at the top, with the Gunners slipping to fourth. Manchester United dropped a place to third after a goalless stalemate in Sunderland, and the Red Devils were overtaken by local rivals City, who beat promoted Newcastle United 2-1.
Things are not what they used to be at Liverpool, as Roy Hodgson’s side lost 2-1 to newly promoted Blackpool at Anfield and occupy a spot in the drop zone. Tottenham Hotspur moved up to fifth with a 2-1 home win over Aston Villa.
Top three: Chelsea (18 points), Manchester City (14), Manchester United (13)
Bottom three: Liverpool (6), Wolverhampton Wanderers, West Ham United (both 5)
Leading scorers: Dimitar Berbatov, Didier Drogba, Florent Malouda (all 6)
Weekend stat: 16 – Manchester United stretched their unbeaten run in the Premier League to 16 games, but the joy will have been muted by a disappointing goalless draw away to Sunderland.
Bundesliga: Mainz equal record
Mainz continued their stunning charge at the top and made it seven straight wins since the start of the campaign with a 4-2 victory at home to Hoffenheim. Borussia Dortmund are hot on the leaders’ heels after reprising the glory days of the 90s and beating Bayern 2-0. Munich are stranded in 12th - the worst-ever start to a Bundesliga season for Germany’s most successful club.
A full-blown crisis has taken hold at last term’s runners-up Schalke, for whom a 2-1 loss at Nuremberg was their fifth defeat this season, while Hamburg reversed a run of four games without a win with a 2-1 success at home to Kaiserslautern. Weary from their European travels in midweek, Bayer Leverkusen and Werder Bremen drew 2-2.
Top three: Mainz (21 points), Borussia Dortmund (18), Hannover (13)
Bottom three: Cologne (5), Schalke (4), Stuttgart (3)
Leading scorers: Demba Cisse (7 goals), Edin Dzeko, Srdjan Lakic, Theofanis Gekas, Pavel Pogrebnyak (all 5)
Weekend stat: 7 – Seven wins on the trot mean Mainz have equalled the record for the best-ever start to a Bundesliga season, jointly held by Bayern and Kaiserslautern.
La Liga: Valencia retain top spot
Six games into the Spanish season, Valencia beat 11-placed Athletic Bilbao 2-1 and stay top. Villarreal are just a point behind after overcoming Racing Santander 2-0, keeping the big two title favourites locked out of the first two spots for now.
Champions Barcelona are fourth after their stuttering start continued with a 1-1 draw against Mallorca, but Real Madrid showed ominous signs of form in thrashing Deportivo La Coruna 6-1 and easing past Barça in the standings. Sevilla moved fifth after inflicting a second defeat of term on UEFA Europa League winners Atletico Madrid, with Los Sevillistas triumphing 3-1.
Top three: Valencia (16 points), Villarreal (15), Real Madrid (14)
Bottom three: Racing (4), Zaragoza, Deportivo (both 3)
Leading scorers: Nilmar (5 goals), Giuseppe Rossi (4)
Weekend stat: 5 – After losing their opening match 1-0 to Real Sociedad, Villarreal have now put together a five-game winning streak.
Serie A: Derby d'Italia ends with honours even
Treble winners Inter drew 0-0 with long-term foes Juventus, allowing Lazio to seize top spot with a 1-0 victory over Brescia. Two clubs are now level on points with the Nerrazurri and two behind the leaders: Napoli, who beat Roma 2-0, and AC Milan, winners against Parma by the only goal of the game.
Roma are in deep trouble down in 19th, and Fiorentina are faring little better after the men from Florence fell 2-1 at home to Palermo. Chievo missed out on second spot with a goalless draw against Cagliari.
Top three: Lazio (13 points), Inter, Napoli, AC Milan (all 11)
Bottom three: Parma, Roma (both 5), Udinese (4)
Leading scorers: Edinson Cavani, Samuel Eto’o (both 5 goals), Marco di Vaio, Alessandro Matri, Sergio Pellissier (all 4)
Weekend stat: 1 – Six games into the campaign, tail-enders Udinese beat Cesena 1-0 to register a first win of term.
Ligue 1: All change at the top
Rennes are top of the Ligue 1 standings for the first time this season. The new leaders beat fellow high-flyers Toulouse 3-1 to displace St. Etienne, although Les Verts will hardly be disconsolate after a 1-1 draw with champions Marseille.
OM’s failure to win leaves them eighth, but there was relief elsewhere for the other big-name strugglers. Bordeaux beat Lorient 1-0, while Lyon followed up a midweek Champions League success with a hard-earned 3-2 win away to Nancy.
Top three: Rennes (18 points), St. Etienne (17), Lille (14)
Bottom three: Nancy (8), Lens (5), Arles-Avignon (0)
Leading scorers: Dimitri Payet (7 goals), Youseff El Arabi (5), Gervinho, Benoit Pedretti, Nene, Moussa Sow, Olivier Giroud (all 4)
Weekend stat: 0 – Avignon remain the only club in Europe’s big five leagues without a win this term. The countryside in Provence may be beautiful, but the promoted club’s record of eight defeats in eight games is anything but pretty.
In Switzerland, FC Zurich won 2-1 away to city rivals Grasshoppers, who hopped in the wrong direction to the foot of the table. Leaders Lucerne won 2-0 against Young Boys Berne, but double winners Basel were held 1-1 by Sion.
In Greece, Aris beat PAOK in the Thessaloniki derby to go third. Olympiacos beat Ethnikos Olympiakos Volos 3-1 to stay top, ahead of champions Panathinaikos, 4-1 winners away to Ergotelis.