10 Things From This Weekend 11/30

  1. City look back to form as they go top.

While other top teams stumbled this weekend, Manchester City took advantage of some silly mistakes by the Southampton defense to go back on top of the table.  Raheem Sterling stole the ball from Yoshida and then drove down the wing and crossed to De Bruyne for an easy tap in goal in the 9th minute.  Delph doubled the lead just over 10 minutes later.  Shane Long pulled one back, but as the Saints looked for the equalizer Kolarov ended the game with his second goal of the season to make it 3-1.  This result, along with the Leicester and Untied draw, meant they would go top of the table.

  1. Only 2 of the top 6 in Germany get all 3 points this weekend.

And it is not a surprise which those teams were, as Munich defeated fellow top 6 side Hertha Berlin 2-0 and Dortmund defeated Stuttgart 4-1.  Both of these sides are miles ahead of the other teams in the league and should shore up a spot in next year’s Champions League fairly easily.  Third place Wolfsburg drew at struggling Augsburg.  This point took Augsburg out of the bottom 2 as they jumped Stuttgart.  Fourth place Monchengladbach drew with bottom club Hoffenheim in a thrilling 3-3 draw, which saw Gladbach go up 1-0 then fall behind 3-1 to then draw 3-3.  Lastly, 6th place Bayer Leverkusen drew 1-1 with 8th place Schalke 1-1 on Sunday.  The top two teams have been great this season and are really starting to put some distance between them and the rest of the pack.  In fact, Monchengladbach is closer to Hoffenheim in 18th place then they are Munich in first.

  1. Napoli goes top with win over 10 men Inter Milan

The top two teams squared off in Italy this weekend as Napoli hosted Inter Milan.  Napoli came away with all three points thanks to Gonzalo Higuain.  He pounced on a poor clearance attempt from Jeison Murillo and beat Handanovic on the near post to give Napoli the lead within the first two minutes of the game.  Then in the last 10 minutes of the first half, Yuto Nagatomo saw two yellow cards and was sent to the locker room.  With the numerical advantage, it would not take Napoli too long to double their lead.  This happened in the 62nd minute thanks to Higuain again.  He got on the end of a header from Raul Albiol, ran past the Inter back line and finished the ball calmly past Handanovic.  Adem Ljajic would peg one back for Inter just 5 minutes later, but it was too little too late.  Napoli jumped Inter in the table and is now 1 point clear at the top.

  1. Big 3 continue to roll in Spain

Barcelona and Atletico Madrid both won at home this weekend, meanwhile Real Madrid traveled to Eibar to win.  All three kept clean sheets in their games.  Barcelona hosted Real Sociedad in their first league game with their trio back for full 90 minutes.  In this game, Neymar scored a brace with a Suarez goal in the middle.  Then in extra time at the end of the game, Neymar combined with Suarez on a lovely one-two that put Neymar in on goal, where he crossed the ball for Messi and an easy tap in to make it 4-0.  Atletico Madrid defeated Espanyol 1-0 thanks to an early goal from Antoine Griezmann.  They dominated all of the statistics and were probably unlucky not to score a second goal.  Lastly, Real Madrid defeated Eibar 2-0 thanks to goals from Bale and Ronaldo.  Bale scored a nice goal on a great cross from Modric.  Ronaldo finished off a penalty kick to double the lead.  Keylor Navas continues his good form making some crucial saves.  The big three are starting to distance themselves from the rest of the pack.  Barcelona is 4 points clear of Atleti who have a 2 point lead on Real.

  1. France is the definition of a 1 team league.

On the weekend when PSG wins their 9th game in a row and remains unbeaten, only 3 other top half of the table teams managed to get a win.  This means that the difference between Caen in 2nd and Lille in 18th is just 14 points.  The difference between Caen and PSG is 13 points.  While Troyes will most likely be stuck on the bottom for the rest of the year, no other team is safe besides PSG. The teams thought to challenge PSG cannot seem to find a rhythm.  Lyon lost this weekend at home against Montpellier, who sit in 13th place and have won 3 games in a row.  Saint Etienne defeated Guingamp this weekend but cannot seem to string two wins in a row.  Monaco has drawn as many games as they have won.  Finally, Marseille has lost more than they have won.  PSG could have the league won by Christmas, even though we all know they can already be crowned champions.

  1. Jamie Vardy makes EPL history.

On a night in which the eyes of England were on Leicester and how could they score against the great United defense, Jamie Vardy answered the bell.  With his goal scoring streak at 10 games, he was on the brink of history.  Ruud van Nistelrooy held the record prior to Saturday at 10 consecutive games with a goal.  On Saturday, Vardy broke that when he scored in the 24th minute.  It meant that he has scored in 11 straight games.  It also gave Leicester the lead in the game.  Bastian Schweinsteiger drew the game level in first half stoppage time.  United dominated the possession but did not create too many clear cut chances, as they only had 2 shots on target.  It was a point a piece, which means Leicester are now in second because of goal difference and Untied are in third.

  1. Juventus wins 4th in a row

Don’t look now, but Juventus are back in the title race.  They traveled to Palermo this weekend and dominated with a 3-0 win.  They are currently in 5th place, just 7 points behind the leaders.  They struggled at the start, losing 2 of their first 3 games but have since only lost 2 games and drawn just 3 times all season.  They seem to have settled down after losing some big pieces in the summer and are now poised to seriously challenge for their fifth title in a row.  Paulo Dybala has really been playing well, as has Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini in the back.  They are going to be a scary team the rest of the way and are back in the title race.

  1. Monaco and Marseille have a 6 goal thriller.

On the southern coast of France, two teams expected to challenge for the title met and dazzled fans with 3 goals apiece.  The game was very much back and forth, with Marseille jumping in front thanks to Raomain Alessandrini.  Almamy Toure scored twice for Monaco to put them ahead 2-1 at halftime. Michy Batshuayi leveled the score just after the start of the second half.  Fabio Coentro put Monaco back in from before Georges-Kevin Nkoudou finally leveled the score.  The game left each team with a point, despite both teams needing all three.  Monaco is now 2 points off the Champions league places, while Marseille remains in the bottom half of the table.

  1. Sevilla get vital win to move into top half.

Facing one of their closest rivals, Sevilla was able to get a vital three points and move into the top half of the table.  Valencia and Sevilla are both really struggling this season and this was a big opportunity for both to get closer to the top 4.  The match did not start well for Valencia, as within the first 35 minutes Joao Cancelo saw two yellow cards.  In the second half with only 10 men, Valencia conceded just 5 minutes into the half.  Sergio Escudero scored his first goal for the club in his first appearance.  Then to make matters worse, Javi Fuego would see his second yellow of the second half in the 78th minute.  That means that Sevilla could see out the game for a vital 3 points.  They are now 6 points off the top four with Valencia remaining at 5 points back.  On the back of this defeat, Nuno Santo resigned as coach of Valencia.  Phil Neville is in charge now, with Frank Rijkaard and Michael Laudrup among the favorites to take over.

  1. The shortlist is out and one Barcelona player will not be happy.

The Ballon d’Or shortlist is out and it has left off one big name from Barcelona.  Leo Messi was a lock for the shortlist and most likely a lock to win the trophy, but the question is who would join him.  In most people’s mind it was between Ronaldo, Neymar, and Suarez.  Unfortunately for Suarez, the other two names announced were Neymar and Ronaldo.  Ronaldo and Messi have combined to win this award every time since the merge in 2010.  Messi won it the first three years and then Ronaldo the last two.  It looks like Messi will win it back this season.  Suarez has had a remarkable year, and Messi, Suarez, and Neymar have combined to score 125 goals in 2015.  Bayern Munich as a whole has scored 125 goals in 2015.  It is a deadly trio but at least for this year, Ronaldo gets a spot on the shortlist and one looks on.

Picture of the Week

Just a bit off target…

dc

Goal of the Week

My Pick –  I am going for the Premier League record setting goal by Jamie Vardy.  I hope he can score 1 more and tie the all time record this weekend.

What to Watch This Week

England – The Capitol One Cup quarter finals take place this week.  The matchups are as follows…

Manchester City vs. Hull City, Middlesbrough vs. Everton, Stoke City vs. Sheffield Wednesday, Southampton vs. Liverpool

France – In France, there is a round of Ligue 1 this week.  The big matchup is Lille hosting St. Etienne.

Spain – The first leg of the round of 32 takes place this week.  Barcelona plays their second leg at home after drawing the first leg earlier.  They are the only second leg due to the Club World Cup.   Real Madrid has to travel to Cadiz.

Italy – In Italy, there is the fourth round of the Coppa Italia.  Milan host Crotone and in the only top flight matchup, Udinese hosts Atalanta.

 

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