The weekend saw several teams begin to put their hands on their respective trophies. Meanwhile a French giant suffered their first loss of the domestic season.

 

La Liga

Valencia went to the Camp Nou with every intention of recording a scalp against league leaders Barcelona. The away side opened up a two-goal lead in the first half thanks to goals from Kevin Gameiro and Daniel Parejo. Lionel Messi didn’t seem too pleased, scoring two well-taken goals to snatch a point for Barça whose lead extends to six points at the top.

Atlético Madrid had the chance to close the gap on Barça, as they aim to add to their 2013/14 La Liga crown. However, it wasn’t to be as they were defeated by Real Betis 1-0. Atléti’s dismal away form continues as their title hopes slowly fade away.

Real Madrid’s resurgence was on display again as they recorded an emphatic 3-0 win over Alavés. A red-hot Karim Benzema put his name on the scoresheet, taking his season tally to 10. Vinícius Júnior and Mariano added to the Frenchman’s goal to round out the win for Los Blancos.

Other results:

Huesca 4-0 Real Valladolid

Levante 0-0 Getafe

Real Sociedad 2-1 Athletic Bilbao

Celta Vigo 1-0 Sevilla

Villarreal 2-2 Espanyol

Eibar 3-0 Girona

Rayo Vallecano 1-2 Leganés

 

Bundesliga

Is it over? Borussia Dortmund can begin to put their fingers on the Bundesliga trophy after they went seven points clear atop the standings. The yellow and black only managed a point away to Eintracht Frankfurt, as Marco Reus’ opener was cancelled out by Luka Jovic. The draw opened the door for Bayern Munich to make up much needed ground on their rivals, however they remarkably failed to do so.

Bayern took the lead just prior to the interval against Bayer Leverkusen through a in-form Leon Goretzka, before falling victim to a Leverkusen avalanche. Three second half goals from the home side handed Bayern their fourth loss of the season, putting a dagger in their title chances.

Borussia Mönchengladbach managed to capitalise on Bayern’s defeat, as two late goals to Christoph Kramer and Florian Neuhaus were enough to knock down a 10-man Schalke side. Mönchengladbach jump into second and are seven points off league leaders Dortmund.

RB Leipzig opened up a gap of their own, going five points clear in fourth. A rather straight-forward 3-0 win on the road to Hannover has them primed for a return to the UEFA Champions League.

Other results:

Hoffenheim 1-1 Fortuna Düsseldorf

Hertha 0-1 Wolfsburg

FC Nürnberg 1-1 Werder Bremen

FC Augsburg 3-0 Mainz

Stuttgart 2-2 SC Freiburg

 

Premier League

Feeling nervous Reds fans? Liverpool dropped points for the second week in a row, drawing 1-1 away to West Ham. Sadio Mane got his side off to the perfect start, despite James Milner being clearly offside in the build-up. However, Michail Antonio responded for the Hammers, clinically putting the ball past Alison to level the scores. Neither side could find a winner, but it was West Ham who came away the happier.

Manchester City were looking to bounce back from their shock loss to Newcastle midweek and things could not have started better in their clash with Arsenal. Sergio Agüero scored within one minute of play for the second consecutive week, sending Etihad Stadium into raptures. Laurent Koscielny equalised for the Gunners, but Agüero struck twice more to record his 10th Premier League hat-trick and seal the points for City.

Tottenham’s win over Newcastle may go down as their most crucial of the season. With the game locked at 0-0 in the 83rd, Son Heung-min stepped up to find the winner, keeping Spurs’ title hopes alive. There aren’t too many who thought we’d be saying that at this stage of the season.

Gonzalo Higuain marked his Premier League home debut with two thunderbolts, as Chelsea put five past a Huddersfield side certain for relegation. An Eden Hazard double and a David Luiz header added to Huddersfield’s misery – the match finishing 5-0 at Stamford Bridge.

Other results:

Brighton 0-0 Watford

Burnley 1-1 Southampton

Crystal Palace 2-0 Fulham

Everton 1-3 Wolverhampton

Cardiff 2-0 Bournemouth

Leicester 0-1 Manchester United

 

Serie A

Juventus were cruising against Parma, leading 3-1 at home thanks to a Cristiano Ronaldo double and a Daniele Rugani strike. Enter Gervinho. The Ivorian scored twice in the last 15 minutes including a 93rd minute equaliser to silence Allianz Stadium. It’s just the third time this season that Juventus have dropped points in the Serie A.

Milan and Roma did battle at the Olympico in a potential season-defining fixture. It was Milan’s new signings who caused Roma all sorts of problems, as Lucas Paquetá linked up with Krzysztof Piątek who tapped home the opener. Italian rising star Nicolo Zaniolo was able to slam home the equaliser just seconds after the break as the two sides shared the spoils in the capital.

There were no broken records for Fabio Quagliarella as his Sampdoria outfit went down 3-0 to Napoli. Goals to Arkadiusz Milik, Lorenzo Insigne and Simone Verdi saw Carlo Ancelotti’s men close the gap on Juventus to nine points.

Last week, Bologna lost to 19th placed Frosinone 4-0 at home and sacked their manager Filippo Inzaghi. This week, they went to the San Siro and incredibly defeated Inter 1-0. The Nerazzurri’s struggles in 2019 continue as they fail to score again and now find themselves back in the pack fighting for a top four spot.

Other results:

Empoli 2-2 Chievo

SPAL 0-0 Torino

Udinese 1-1 Fiorentina

Genoa 1-1 Sassuolo

Frosinone 0-1 Lazio

Cagliari 0-1 Atalanta

 

Ligue 1

Lyon did what no other team has done this season: beat Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1. A PSG loss seemed unlikely when Ángel Di María opened the scoring inside seven minutes, however Lyon fought back tremendously. Goals to Moussa Dembele and Nabil Fekir stunned Thomas Tuchel’s men who weren’t able to find an equaliser, as Lyon pick up a massive three points, cementing their spot in third.

Without a win since the 4th of December, Monaco went into their clash against Toulouse with their backs against the wall. However, new signing Cesc Fabregas thumped home the winning goal with just 30 minutes to play, gifting the principality club their fourth win of the season.

Lille’s quest for Champions League football remains on track as they demolished an underwhelming Nice side 4-0. Nicolas Pepe’s 16th of the season helped the home side overcome Patrick Vieira’s men who sit in eighth.

Other results:

Angers 1-0 Dijon

Rennes 1-0 Amiens

Reims 2-1 Marseille

Nîmes 1-1 Montpellier

St Etienne – Strasbourg (POSTPONED)

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Damon Palmar
damon@footballnationradio.com