European Football Roundup: Tops & Flops From Weekend Action

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As always, the weekend was full of scintillating football action, with over 40 games played across the top European leagues. Most of the results went as expected, with big clubs flexing their muscles on the pitch. However, there were certainly some unexpected results as well. 

Below we take a look at the top performers and underperformers of this weekend.

 Premier League:

Tops:

Arsenal: The Gunners delivered a scintillating performance in Saturday’s late kickoff, defeating rivals Chelsea 3-0 in a London derby. The three goals, all scored in the first half, were courtesy of Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott and Mesut Ozil.

The victory was the Gunners’ first over the Blues in five years, and it should serve as a psychological boost for the North Londoners in the title race.

Manchester United: The Red Devils were ruthless in their game against current holders Leicester, scoring 4 in the first half, as they ran out 4-1 winners.

The goals were spread across the field, with Chris Smalling, Juan Mata, Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba all getting on the scoresheet.

The win, their first in three league matches, sees Manchester United finish the weekend in sixth place.

Flops:

West Ham United: The Hammers continued their dismal start to the season, losing their fifth match of the season to Southampton 0-3 on their own pitch.

In a disjointed and uninspired performance, the Hammers lacked fluidity and organisation, with midfielder Dmitri Payet especially struggling as Southampton and Charlie Austin ran them ragged.

The defeat leaves them in 18th place, with three points from six games.

Sunderland: The Black Cats reached a new low in an already dismal season, squandering a 2-0 lead in the 60th minute to lose 2-3 against Crystal Palace.

Jermain Defoe’s brace was cancelled out by goals from Joe Ledley and James MaArthur, before Christian Benteke’s last gasp winner sealed the points for the Eagles.

The result leaves David Moyes’ team at the bottom of the league table with only one point from six games.

Ligue 1:

Tops:

Toulouse: Les Pitchouns were in defiant form on Friday, defeating reigning Champions PSG 2-0. The win was in large part due to the performance of their young goalkeeper Alban Lafont, who produced some match-winning saves.

The result lifts high-flying Toulouse to second place in the standings, while PSG’s second league defeat in seven games sees them drop to third place.

Flops:

Lille: Lille, who finished fifth in the League last season, continued their shocking start to the season, losing 3-1 at Saint-Etienne for their fourth consecutive defeat.

Saint-Etienne’s goals were from Robert Beric, Arnaud Nordin and Nolan Roux, with Lille’s Renato Civelli’s goal proving to be little more than a consolation.

The result leaves Lille in 18th place on the table, with four points from six appearances.

Serie A

Tops:

Napoli: Marek Hamsik was the centre of attention, as his goal just before half-time sealed the points for the Serie A giants in a routine 2-0 win against Chievo. The goal was the Slovakian midfielder’s 100th in the colours of Napoli.

Napoli, who are expected to be the closest rivals to Juventus for the league title, currently sit one point behind the Turin side with 14 points from six games.

Flops:

Roma: Roma lost ground on the leading pack in the title race, as they slumped to a 3-1 defeat at Torino on Sunday. The loss means the gap between them and leaders Juventus has increased to five points.

Edin Dzeko was very wasteful on the night, getting foiled time and time again by former teammate Joe Hart. Totti’s 55th-minute goal, his 250th in Serie A, provided a glimpse of hope but amounted to nothing.

Roma will need a good run in their next couple of matches to close the gap between them and the teams on top of the table.

Bundesliga:

Tops:

Borussia Dortmund: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang set the Bundesliga giants on their way on Friday night, as they cruised to a comfortable win against Freiburg.

Goals from Lukasz Piszczek and Raphael Guerreiro in the second half completed the victory, as Borussia Dortmund end the weekend in second place, with 12 points from five matches.

Flops:

Schalke 04: Schalke 04’s dismal start to the season continued, as they surrendered their early lead to lose 2-1 away at Hoffenheim on Saturday. The defeat was their fifth consecutive defeat in the league this season.

Manager Markus Weinzierl currently looks clueless as to how to turn this around and is under severe pressure. The team currently sits in 17th place on the table, ahead of Werder Bremen only on goal difference.

La Liga:

Tops:

Atletico Madrid: The Rojiblancos started the league in lacklustre form, but have since recovered, with ten points in their last four games. Their latest victory was on Saturday, a 1-0 win over Deportivo La Coruna.

Antoine Griezmann’s 70th-minute winner, his fifth in the league this season, was enough to seal the points for Athletico Madrid who are yet to taste defeat this season.

The result sees them sit in third place, two points behind league leaders Real Madrid.

Flops:

Real Madrid: Real Madrid went into the game against Las Palmas as heavy favourites, but were left disappointed, as the hosts put up a spirited performance to earn a 2-2 draw.

Los Blancos attack of Alvaro Morata, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale were underwhelming on the night. Cristiano Ronaldo was substituted in the 72nd minute after a lacklustre display.

A defensive mix-up allowed Sergio Araujo to equalise for the hosts very late in the game. Real Madrid still lead the way in the league, with 14 points from six matches.

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