After a week’s break club football was back with a bang! There were plenty of world-class goals across all five leagues, as well as some dramatic shifts in the tables.

La Liga 

Barcelona are all but certainties to go back-to-back in La Liga after defeating rivals Espanyol 2-0 in the Catalan derby. Two fantastic finishes from none other than Lionel Messi sent the Camp Nou into raptures and ensured Barça held their 10 point lead atop the table. Messi’s form suggests he in on track to win a record-breaking sixth Ballon d’Or.

Atlético Madrid needed to respond after a dip in form and that they did. A 4-0 demolition away to Champions League hopefuls Alavés would have put a smile on Diego Simeone’s face, as would they fact that all four goal scorers were different. Saúl, Diego Costa, Alvaro Morata and Thomas Partey all finished emphatically to round out the win for Atléti.

After battling amongst the relegation spots earlier in the season, Valencia are now on track to snatch fourth spot. A crucial 1-0 win away to Sevilla has arguably put Los Ches in the box seat to qualify for consecutive Champions League campaigns. They face Real Madrid at home next week in what would be a season-defining fixture.

Other results:

Girona 1-2 Athletic Bilbao

Getafe 0-2 Leganés

Celta Vigo 3-2 Villarreal

Levante 2-2 Eibar

Rayo Vallecano 1-1 Real Betis

Real Valladolid 1-1 Real Sociedad

Real Madrid 3-2 Huesca

 

Bundesliga

Borussia Dortmund are back on top in Germany after two late Paco Alcacer goals helped them to a 2-0 win over Wolfsburg. A draw was looking the likely result before the Spaniard stepped up to fire home a dead ball in the 91st minute. A blistering Dortmund counter-attack then allowed Alcacer to get on the end of a Jadon Sancho ball and make it 2-0.

Bayern Munich have slipped up at a crucial stage of the season, only managing a point against Freiburg. The Bavarians were down 1-0 inside three minutes thanks to a Lucas Höler header, before their main man Robert Lewandowski showed his class to equalise some 20 minutes later. Bayern now trail Dortmund by two points, setting up arguably the biggest Der Klassiker in years.

RB Leipzig were one of the big winners from the weekend as they thumped Hertha 5-0. Leipzig showed no signs of capitulation, despite rivals Frankfurt and Borussia Mönchengladbach applying the pressure from places fourth and fifth. Goals from Emil Forsberg and Amadou Haidar added to a Yusseuf Poulsen hattrick, ensuring their side remain in third place and well in the frame for Champions League football.

Other results:

Hoffenheim 4-1 Bayer Leverkusen

Werder Bremen 3-1 Mainz 05

Fortuna Düsseldorf 3-1 Borussia Mönchengladbach

FC Nürnberg 3-0 FC Augsburg

Hannover 0-1 Schalke 04

Eintracht Frankfurt 3-0 VfB Stuttgart

 

Premier League

The Premier League was back with a bang as Liverpool and Tottenham played out a thriller at Anfield. Roberto Firmino opened the scoring for the Reds in the first half before Spurs were able to claw their way back, eventually finding the equaliser through Lucas Moura. A draw would have likely seen the title slip away from Liverpool; however, they were able to find a 90th minute winner thanks to a Toby Alderweireld own goal. The win sees them go top of the league.

Manchester City’s recent dominance has continued with a comfortable 2-0 win away to Fulham. Bernardo Silva broke the deadlock just five minutes in, making the home side’s task all the more difficult. Sergio Agüero then doubled City’s lead with a sublime dribble and finish to virtually end Fulham’s season. City remain in second, however still have a game in hand over their rivals Liverpool.

Chelsea’s top four hopes are still alive thanks to a late comeback against Cardiff. Maurizio Sarri’s men have been dismal away from home this season and things weren’t looking good after going down 1-0 just after the interval. César Azpilicueta popped up in the 84th to score his first goal of the season, despite quite clearly being in an offside position, before a 91st minute Ruben Loftus-Cheek header stole the three points for the Blues – a crucial win at this stage of the season.

Other results:

Burnley 2-0 Wolves

Crystal Palace 2-0 Huddersfield

Leicester 2-0 Bournemouth

Manchester United 2-1 Watford

Brighton 0-1 Southampton

West Ham 0-2 Everton

 

Serie A

Napoli showed just how ruthless they can be with a 4-1 win over Roma at the Olimpico. Roma gave themselves a chance when Diego Perotti cancelled out Arek Milik’s fantastic opener, however it was all Napoli from there on. Goals to Dries Mertens, Simone Verdi and Amin Younes rounded out a dominant performance from Carlo Ancelotti’s men as they all but secure second place.

Lazio are right back in the race for the top four with a 1-0 win away to Inter. A Sergej Milinković-Savić header just 12 minutes in was enough to secure Lazio’s 10th ever win against Inter at the San Siro. The Biancocelesti jump up to fifth win the win and still have a game in hand over Inter, Milan, Roma and Atalanta.

Milan have stumbled for the second consecutive game-week, this time going down 1-0 to Sampdoria. A horrendous error from Gigi Donnarumma directly resulted in a Sampdoria goal just 30 seconds into the match. Milan were unable find the net themselves, failing to capitalise on the defeats that their top four rivals suffered. They remain in fourth and still have a massive opportunity for Champions League football.

Other results: 

Chievo 0-3 Cagliari

Udinese 2-0 Genoa

Juventus 1-0 Empoli

Parma 1-3 Atalanta

Frosinone 0-1 SPAL

Fiorentina 1-1 Torino

Bologna 2-1 Sassuolo

 

Ligue 1

Lyon recorded a massive result on the road, defeating Rennes 1-0. Desperate to return to the Champions League, Lyon must keep winning to fend off any assault from their rivals. The match was heading for a draw before Martin Terrier tapped home from close range to steal all three points. Lyon’s lead in third place extends to seven points.

Marseille’s season has taken a hit after coughing up a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 against Angers. Mario Balotelli continued his hot form, scoring twice inside the first 16 minutes, before a Thomas Mangani brace levelled things up late in the match. Marseille’s grip on the top three has faded away which will likely see the club playing Europa League football next season.

Paris Saint-Germain recorded their 26th Ligue 1 win of the season, narrowly defeating Toulouse 1-0. A wonderful Kylian Mbappe strike 15 minutes from time was enough to secure all three points for the capital club. PSG’s lead atop the table is at 20 points with a game in hand.

Other results:

Amiens 0-0 Bordeaux

Dijon 0-1 Nice

Monaco 0-1 Caen

Nantes 2-3 Lille

St Etienne 2-1 Nîmes

Montepellier v Guingamp

Strasbourg v Reims

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Damon Palmar
damon@footballnationradio.com