After drawing last week to Bologna, AC Milan wanted to get back to winning ways this week and that’s what they did. In a tough away game for Stefano Pioli’s side they ran out 3-2 winners versus Frosinone, the winner coming from Luka Jović just a minute after he entered the field. A perfect example of being in the right place at the right time. AC Milan now look like they are cemented in the Champions League qualification spots, but not league challengers, sat eight points behind leaders Inter Milan but safely ahead of Bologna by thirteen points.
Speaking of Bologna, they’ll be looking to get back to the form they had pre-Christmas break. After drawing with Milan last week they came from behind versus Sassuolo to win 4-2. They now sit 6th, only three points off 4th placed Atalanta who picked up their fifth win in a row as they defeated Lazio 3-1. At this time any games between sides sitting in 4th and 10th place are six-pointers, so this was a big win for Gian Piero Gasperini’s side. This week in Serie A the game which all eyes were on was Inter Milan versus Juventus. It was a pretty even affair and all that separated the two sides in the end was an own goal from Federico Gatti, giving Inter the win and a four point lead over their rivals to walk away with. Most neutral fans are still undecided about who the favourite for the league is, however this victory for Inter will definitely swayed a few to have the Nerazzurri as their front runner.
This week’s fixtures kicked off on Friday night in Spain, more specifically in Bilbao, and it didn’t take long for the goals to start flowing too. A cheeky flick from Yuri Berchiche found the back of the net in the 3rd minute to get the ball rolling. He followed this up in the 16th minute with a truly delightful side footed volley into the top corner to double his tally for the day and Athletic’s lead. Ernesto Valverde’s side won 4-0 in the end, their attacking nature getting the better of Mallorca convincingly. This was an important win for Bilbao as they push for a Champions League qualification spot, now only three points behind Diego Simeone’s side in 4th with them still due to face off against each other.
The two sides leading the table both failed to put three points on the board this week, Girona drawing to Real Sociedad in a stalemate while Los Blancos drew 1-1 this weekend in the Madrid derby. Real weren’t far away from winning however, it was a goal in the 93rd minute from Marcos Llorente which prevented Carlo Ancelotti’s side from going four points clear at the top of the table. These results transpired to benefit Barcelona the most, after winning 3-1 versus Deportivo Alavés on Saturday, the dropped points at the top meant Xavi’s side could gain on the duo, even if it is only partially. We can’t mention Barcelona without talking about Vitor Roque. Subbed on in the 59th minute, scored in the 63rd, and sent off in the 72nd, albeit controversially. An interesting cameo to say the least for the eighteen year-old.
It’s been the same old same old in Germany this weekend. Bayer Leverkusen winning, Harry Kane scoring, and Xavi Simons starring. At the top end of the table three out of four of the teams won, only Borussia Dortmund failing to overcome their opponents, drawing 0-0 to Heidenheim. The three ahead of them all won by two goal margins though, Stuttgart and Bayern beating Borussia Monchengladbach and Freiburg 3-1 while Xabi Alonso’s side kept a clean sheet as they beat Darmstadt 2-0. Nathan Tella was the main man for Bayer Leverkusen as he scored both goals to help see them through to victory.
Dortmund’s draw now means that RB Leipzig are only one point behind them in the race for Champions League Qualification. Leipzig triumphed 2-0 over a 10-man Union Berlin this weekend, goals coming from LoÏs Openda and Benjamin Šeško, they’ll be hoping to get back to form after losing their last three games to Stuttgart, Leverkusen, and Frankfurt. Union on the other hand are slipping back into danger. Now only one point above the relegation play-off place after Köln’s win this weekend, they could be in danger, this isn’t what many would’ve expected after last season’s successful campaign.
Over in France the weekend kicked off with PSG travelling away to Strasbourg. Early on the away side won a penalty only for Kylian Mbappé’s strike to be saved by Alaa Bellaarouch. This wasn’t costly though as Kylian Mbappé and Marco Asensio both scored and assisted one another to help the Parisians win 2-1 and stretch their lead to nine points ahead of Nice and Brest facing one another on Sunday. The two sides ended up drawing 0-0 which was probably the best possible scenario for Luis Enrique’s side. Now eight points clear with a good run of form built up, it’s been fifteen games since they lost in the league.
Down at the other end of the table Lyon picked up a much needed three points against Marseille, a single goal from Alexandre Lacazette was enough to be the difference as they won 1-0. Lorient also picked up an important three points against rivals Metz. Mohamed Bamba and Panos Katseris scored as the away side won 2-1 to draw level on points with their competitors on sixteen points. The two only separated by two on goal difference! It may not be that interesting come the end of the season at the top of the table but trust me the bottom will be of interest.
This weekend in Portugal we were one fixture short after trouble at Famalicao’s ground due to low police numbers. This meant that Benfica had the opportunity to go top if they defeated Gil Vincente, and that was exactly what they did. Arthur Cabal, João Neves, and Rafa Silva all got on the scoresheet as they ran out 3-0 winners. In third and fourth place we saw Porto held to a 0-0 draw with Rio Ave and Braga wIn 1-0 thanks to an early goal from Abel Ruíz in the first ten minutes.
After PSV failed to pick up three points for the first time this season last weekend they must’ve had a dip in confidence as this week they drew once again, this time to Ajax.. Steven Berghuis put the home side ahead in the 19th minute with a smart finish only for Luuk de Jong to equalise fifteen minutes later to take it to 1-1 for half-time, and eventually full-time. PSV still sit top by ten points though, in second place is Feyenoord who were the winners in their fixture s AZ Alkmaar this weekend courtesy of an early goal from Mats Wieffer.