Weekend Recap

Ligue 1 – Saint Etienne get big win in derby, PSG remain unbeaten and send Toulouse into the relegation zone.

Starting this season, Ligue 1 has decided to only relegate the two teams to Ligue 2.  That means that 18 teams will remain in the top flight.  However, the table is very condensed towards the bottom end due to PSG and their unbeaten season.  Troyes has really struggled this season and looks set to be one of the two teams relegated.  They are yet to win a game and have totaled just 8 points this season.  That leaves just one more spot the relegation battle.  Currently, Toulouse is there with 20 points, but it is really tight at the bottom.  The following teams are all within 6 points of Toulouse: Guingamp (21), Reims (22), Montpellier (22), Bastia (25), Lille (25), Gazelec Ajaccio (26). In fact, Monaco in second place is just 16 points from safety and 21 points from the leaders PSG.  The relegation race should be fascinating since the whole bottom half of the table is involved.  In the top half of the table, Nice claimed a big 2-1 win over Angers to move themselves into a Europa League spot.  Saint-Etienne moved themselves closer with a big win over local rivals Lyon.  They are now just 1 point from the Europa League and 2 from the Champions League.

Serie A – Napoli and Juventus both win to stay on top.  Inter and Roma both drew, meanwhile, Milan defeated Fiorentina.

The top two in Italy put a little distance between themselves and the rest of the pack as Napoli went on to defeat Sassuolo 3-1 and Juventus defeated Udinese 4-0.  This means that both extended their winning streaks to 4 and 10, respectively.  Inter was held 1-1 against Atalanta.  Atalatna went ahead thanks to an own goal from Murillo but then just 8 minutes later, Toloi put the ball into his own net to level the score.  Fiorentina failed to capitalize and jump into the Champions League places as they lost 2-0 to Milan.  Bacca and Boateng had the goals.  At the bottom end of the table, Carpi was able to move up one place closer to safety with their 2-1 win over Sampdoria.  However, they are still 4 points behind Palermo.  Verona looks set to be relegated with just 9 points from 20 games, but they were able to draw with Roma.  Roma remains in 5th, but the distance between them and Milan is now just 3 points.  The whole table in Italy is fascinating and we will start to look at how it shapes up each week.

La Liga – All of the big three won big, and Villarreal missed its chance to stay close as the race for fourth gets more interesting.

This weekend saw  the top three teams all come away victorious as Barcelona defeated Athletic Club 6-0 but got help from an early red card to the goalie, Atletico Madrid defeated  Las Palmas 3-0, and Real Madrid defeated Sporting Gijon 5-1.  Villarreal faced a struggling Real Betis and could not find a goal but did earn a point.  However, this might have been 2 important points dropped as the next 3 teams in the table (Celta Vigo, Eibar, and Sevilla) all won.  Celta defeated Levante in a 7 goal thriller 4-3.  Sevilla defeated Malaga 2-1 in a game that saw both teams reduced to 10 men.  Eibar destroyed Granada today 5-1 and are becoming one of the more entertaining teams to watch this season.  They have won 4 in a row.  The bottom of the table is very tight as last place Levante and 13th place Espanyol are separated by just 7 points.  No team in the bottom half of the table won this weekend which makes it even tighter.  Rayo Vallecano did earn a vital point to see them go to 18th place and just 1 point from safety.  While the race at the top is heating up, so is the race for survival.

English Premier League – Rooney saves the day with only shot on goal, Arsenal fail to win again at Stoke, City run riot against Palace.

The two teams at the top of the table drew this weekend as Arsenal failed to score and failed to win in their last 6 trips to the Britannia.  Leicester City kept pace with Arsenal to stay level on points as they drew with Aston Villa 1-1.  Manchester City cut into the lead at the top so it is now 1 point.  City put four past Palace at the weekend, including two goals from Aguero.  Tottenham remained in fourth place with a 4-1 win over Sunderland.  They are now 5 points behind the leaders.  United got a 1-0 win over rivals Liverpool thanks to Wayne Rooney and their only shot on target in the game.  Fun fact, in the two games against Liverpool they have had 4 shots on target and 4 goals.  They jumped up to 5th place.  At the bottom of the table, Aston Villa earned a point but they are still 6 points behind Sunderland and 10 points from safety.  Newcastle earned a vital 3 points to move them within 1 point of Swansea, who defeated Watford 1-0 today.  Bournemouth got a vital win over Norwich to send them above their opponents in the table and 3 points from safety.  Chelsea earned a point as well thanks to a late John Terry goal.  This means they are 4 points above the relegation zone.  What a crazy world we live in.

What to Watch This Week

  1. Napoli vs. Inter Milan – Coppa Italia –Two teams challenging for the title in Italy meet in the quarterfinals of the Coppa Italia.
  2. Bolton Wanderers vs. Eastleigh – FA Cup – In the FA Cup third round replay, the only nonleague team left is Eastleigh. Can they keep the dream alive?
  3. Athletic Bilbao vs. Barcelona – Copa del Rey – In the 5th meeting between these two teams this season, look for Bilbao to try to exact some revenge on Barcelona following the heavy defeat at the weekend.
  4. Leicester City vs. Tottenham – FA Cup – This is the third meeting in the last week and a half, and last of the season between these two. What will they focus on the league or a cup trophy?
  5. Paris Saint-Germain vs. Toulouse – Coupe de France – PSG will look to defend their trophy as they face Toulouse in the round of 32 in the Coupe de France. They will look to keep their hope of 4 trophies alive this season.

Goals of the Weekend

My Pick – James Ward-Prowse opened the scoring in the 5th minute of Southampton’s game against West Bromwich Albion with this beauty…

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