No change at the top
The leaders of Europe's top leagues all came through last weekend unscathed. Indeed, despite the fact that many of the big-name clubs were playing each other, the league tables look remarkably similar to how they were this time last week. Inter Milan managed a comfortable away win at Fiorentina, while Arsenal had to come from behind and were made to fight all the way against Aston Villa.
In Spain, Real Madrid cruised to victory over Racing Santander and extended their lead over Barcelona, who were held to a draw in the Catalan derby. In France, Lyon already look odds-on to retain their title after a win over Strasbourg combined with Nancy's loss away to Le Mans. At the bottom of the table, Paris-Saint Germain went from bad to worse with another home defeat, this time to Caen. Finally in Germany, Bayern Munich proved that they could handle the pressure. Werder Bremen won the north German derby with Hamburg, but the legendary Bavarian side went back to the top of the league with a win in Bielefeld.
FIFA.com takes you through all of the
weekend's European action.
Premier League: Arsenal stand their ground
With Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie both absent through injury, Arsenal soon found themselves 1-0 down at Villa Park. The Gunners are made of sterner stuff this season, however, and a strike from Mathieu Flamini followed by an Emmanuel Adebayor header saw them take all three points and bring Aston Villa's recent unbeaten run to an end. This result piles the pressure on Manchester United, who face Fulham on Monday night and now find themselves behind both Chelsea and Liverpool.
West Ham provided a stiff test for the Stamford Bridge outfit,
and it took an individual exploit from Joe Cole, who latched onto a
kick from goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini, before slipping through the
Hammers' defence, rounding Robert Green and slotting the ball
home. With Manchester City drawing at Wigan and Everton also being
held away to Portsmouth, Liverpool leapt into the top three with an
easy 4-0 over Bolton thanks to goals from Sami Hyypia, Fernando
Torres, Steven Gerrard and Ryan Babel.
Top three: Arsenal (36 pts), Chelsea (31), Liverpool (30)
Bottom three: Middlesbrough (11 pts), Wigan Athletic (9), Derby County (6)
Top scorers: Adebayor (8 goals), Benjani (8), Keane (8)
Weekend stat: Arsenal sit comfortably atop the Premier League and have scored in all of their league matches so far this season. Chelsea have now won their last seven matches against London rivals West Ham.
Ligue 1:Nancy run out of gas,Paris out of ideas
Lyon may have got off to a bad start to the season, but the winners of the last six French championships have certainly found their rhythm of late. Two goals from Kim Kallstrom and one from Karim Benzema helped them to a 5-0 win over Strasbourg, 24 hours after Nancy slipped to their second defeat of the season. The easterners went down to a Le Mans outfit which is establishing itself towards the top of the table, mainly thanks to their rising star from Cote d'Ivoire. Gervinho notched the winner after a wonderful build-up to give them a 2-1 victory. Bordeaux stay in third place after their 4-3 win over a Toulouse team who are now looking over their shoulder at the relegation zone.
At the bottom of the table, Marseille are seemingly a more solid
proposition after stretching their unbeaten run to three matches.
Senegal's Mamadou notched his eighth goal of the season against
Lille to cancel out Patrick Kluivert's opener and give OM a
share of the points. PSG on the other hand have still not found a
way to break their home hoodoo. Nicolas Florentin pounced on a
defensive howler from Brazil's Ceara to score the only goal of
the game, giving Caen all three points and keeping Paris firmly
rooted to 18
Top three: Lyon (37 pts), Nancy (31), Bordeaux (28)
Bottom three: Paris Saint-Germain (16 pts), Sochaux (13), Metz (7)
Top scorers: Benzema (12 goals), Bellion (10), De Melo (9)
Weekend stat: Bordeaux were playing their 2000 th match in the top flight this weekend, facing Toulouse in the South-West derby. Laurent Blanc's men took a 3-0 lead only to be pegged back, Sweden's Johan Elmander scoring a hat-trick to make it 3-3. Pierre Ducasse finally sent all three points Bordeaux's way with a late winner.
La Liga: Real reign supreme, Barca struggle
Seven games, seven wins is Real Madrid's impressive record at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium this season. Racing Santander were this weekend's victims and found themselves taken apart by a vintage performance from Raul. The Madrid captain bagged a brace to join Luis Fabiano and Lionel Messi at the top of the scoring charts. The latter two failed to get on the score-sheet during a weekend where their respective teams dropped precious points in the hunt for the league title.
Sevilla conceded a late goal to go down 1-0 away to Almeria, while Barcelona let two points go begging at the hands of their city rivals Espanyol. Andres Iniesta opened the scoring after Messi raced through the home defence to set him up, but Ferran Corominas tucked away an inch-perfect centre by Albert Riera to give Espanyol a share of the spoils. Villarreal were not able to capitalise, losing 2-0 away to Valladolid, the latter being one of a number of teams towards the bottom of the league who banked three precious points. Getafe, Recreativo Huelva and Osasuna all won, against Levante, Saragossa and La Coruna respectively, though Betis slipped to another defeat, 2-0 at home to Atletico Madrid.
Top three: Real Madrid (32 pts), Barcelona (28), Villarreal (28)
Bottom three: Deportivo La Coruna (13 pts), Betis (11), Levante (7)
Top scorers: Luis Fabiano (8 goals), Messi (8), Raul (8)
Weekend stat: Barcelona may have secured a maximum haul of 21 points in seven home matches but they have only managed a point a game away from the Camp Nou. Indeed, their last away win dates back as far as 29 September (4-1 over Levante).
Bundesliga: Bayern show who's boss
Bayern Munich found themselves off the top of the league for the first time this season on Saturday, with Werder Bremen temporarily knocking them off their perch. Werder beat Hamburg SV 2-1 in their top-of-the-table clash thanks to a goal from their Cote d'Ivoire international Boubacar Sanogo and a lucky strike from Finland's Petri Pasanen. Thomas Schaaf's men spent the grand total of 24 hours in first place, before Franck Ribery scored an absolute pearl to give Bayern all three points away to Arminia Bielefeld and their tenth win of the campaign this far.
Current title-holders Stuttgart saw their fine run of four wins in a row come to an end at home to Borussia Dortmund. A mix-up between French defender Mathieu Delpierre and goalkeeper Raphael Schafer allowed Nelson Valdez to open the scoring before Croatian attacker Mladen Petric grabbed the winner after VfB captain Fernando Meira had equalised in between. At the other end of the table, Energie Cottbus managed their second win of the season, with the Bulgarians Stanislav Angelov and Dimitar Rangelov sending them to a 2-0 win over Karlsruhe. They still find themselves bottom, however, as MSV Duisburg beat Nuremberg 1-0.
Top three: Bayern Munich (34 pts), Werder Bremen (33), Hamburg SV
Bottom three: Nuremberg (12 pts), Duisburg (12), Energie Cottbus (11)
Top scorers: Klose (9 goals), Toni (9), Van der Vaart (9)
Weekend stat: Bayern Munich's win over Bielefeld on Sunday was goalkeeper and captain Oliver Kahn's 300 th in the Bundesliga.
Serie A: Inter stand firm, AC Milan continue to
Title-holders Inter Milan came, saw and conquered in Florence - never an easy place to go and get a result. Swedish star Zlatan Ibrahimovic may not have scored but he was an integral part of the Nerazzurri's win over Fiorentina. Twice he set up his team-mates for goals with slide-rule passes, with Chile's Luis Jimenez and Argentina's Julio Cruz the beneficiaries. AS Roma seem to be the only team able to keep pace with Inter, recording a 2-1 win over Udinese thanks to goals from their Brazilian duo of Juan and Rodrigo Taddei.
Saturday's high-profile clash saw AC Milan held to a goalless draw at home to Juventus. 24 hours after winning France Football's European Footballer of the Year award, Brazilian international Kaka was part of a team which were lucky to scrape a draw, opponents Juve creating by far the better chances throughout. While the Old Lady of Turin is only five points behind Inter, the Rossoneri are some 13 points adrift of their Milan rivals.
Top three: Inter Milan (31 pts), AS Roma (28), Juventus (26),
Bottom three: Cagliari (10 pts), Reggina (10), Empoli (10),
Top scorers: Trezeguet (11 goals), Bellucci (7), Cruz (7), Doni (7), Ibrahimovic (7), Kaka (7), Totti (7)
Weekend stat: In the race for a European spot next season, Atalanta Bergamo put themselves right in the hunt with a 5-1 thrashing of newly promoted Napoli. Five different players were on the score-sheet.
Can no-one stop Porto? The Dragoes have managed no fewer than ten wins and two draws in their first 12 matches, the latest victory coming at the Stadium of Light against their arch-rivals from Lisbon, Benfica. Portuguese international Ricardo Quaresma scored the only goal of the game to give the league leaders a seven-point cushion over their counterparts from the capital.
There were derbies throughout Europe this weekend, with all four Sofia clubs facing each other in the Bulgarian league. League leaders CSKA won 1-0 away at Levski thanks to a goal from Brazil's Felipe Machado, while Slavia also won away, at Lokomotiv. CSKA are currently nine points clear of Slavia at the top of the table.