The European football season is all but underway now, with action resuming in both La Liga and the Serie A, while the Premier League in the UK grinds its way on without a mid-season break.
It is only the the Bundesliga that is yet to start after a long winter break , but there was plenty of action to smack our lips on, in the bygone weekend of European football.
In Spain, it’s the other team from Madrid who still lead the proceedings, just like they did a couple of years back. However, FC Barcelona are right on their tails, having played one match less due to their FIFA Club World Cup engagements. In Italy, Napoli reigns supreme, ushering in the memories of the bygone days of Diego Maradona, while the mighty Juventus slowly closes in.
Meanwhile, things are as tight as ever in the Premier League, with both Arsenal FC and Leicester City still tied on the same number of points at the top. So let’s take a look at some of the highlights from the week’s action.
BBC reigns supreme under Zizou’s watchful eyes
The responsibilities of Real Madrid seems to have been left on the shoulders of Cristiano Ronaldo now, with both Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale hobbling off with injuries. However, that was not before all three of them managed to get onto the scoresheet in a 5-1 hammering of Sporting Gijon at the Santiago Bernabeu.
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Griezmann brace keeps Atletico at the top, and sends Las Palmas closer to relegation
Atletico Madrid are doing it again. They might have won the La Liga two years ago, but Diego Simeone and his men have a point to prove — that 2014 was no fluke. A wonderful brace by Antoine Griezmann kept Atletico Madrid at the top of the table, but the fate of the match had anything but glory in store for Las Palmas, who are now just two points away from the drop zone.
Neymar sets Barca up in Messi’s absence
As FC Barcelona star man Lionel Messi hobbled off with an injury after converting a penalty, there were questions about who would take the team forward. Well, their Brazilian star stepped up for the job. Neymar did not score a hattrick. That in fact, was done by Luis Suarez. However, Neymar played a crucial part in the game, setting up both Suarez and Rakitic for their goal while netting one himself, to heap a 6-0 hammering on Athletic Bilbao.
Higuain keeps Napoli at the top
The Neapolitans have been on a roll this season, with their main protagonist Gonzalo Higuain scoring goals for fun. The Argentinian striker did that yet again, as he scored a double against the high-flying Sassuolo to keep his side at the top of the Serie A.
The Killer Lady not far behind
Making a brilliant comeback from an early season blip are Juventus, and it is yet another Argentine that’s doing the trick for the Bianconeri. Paulo Dybala has been a revelation this season, and he impressed yet again by scoring a brace in a tough away match at Udinese. The 4-0 win sent out a clear message to all their rivals, and took them within two points of Napoli at the top of the table.
The ‘Prince’ is back
As Kevin Prince Boateng managed to score his first goal since 2014, AC Milan also sent out a clear signal — that they are ready to fight in order to get back into one of the European spots. A 2-0 victory over a difficult Fiorentina side ust have really given the Rossoneri some confidence. This win also eases the pressure on Milan coach Sinisa Mihajlovic.
Rooney breaks record… and Liverpool hearts
Coming from Everton and playing for Manchester United, Wayne Rooney is a well-known enemy of Liverpool FC. Thus, it was perhaps apt that the England international scored the record-breaking goal against the Scousers at Anfield. Not only did this goal earn Manchester United a narrow win over the bitter rivals Liverpool FC, but it also made Rooney the highest Premier League scorer for a single club, with 176 goals. The previous holder of this record was Thierry Henry, who netted 175 times for Arsenal FC.
The Fabiantistic goal
Fabian Delph doesn’t always play. But when he does, he scores screamers from 30 yards out. The former Aston Villa player showed manager Manuel Pellegrini exactly what he would be missing out on, if he dropped the Englishman from the starting XI.
Terry shows how it’s done
Chelsea FC have had their highs and lows this season — well, mostly lows. However, captain John Terry showed exactly how to get back from the lows, as he scored the equaliser in a thrilling 3-3 draw, after opening the scoring with an own goal in the second half. He effectively scored the first and the last goal of the match — the first being in his own net, while the second was in Everton’s.
Petr Cech keeps the Gunners at the top
It is not always that goalkeepers get praised, but Arsenal FC custodian Petr Cech is one of a kind. He has given the Gunners that extra steel at the back ever since moving from cross-town rivals Chelsea FC. He proved is worth yet again, as he made a flurry of saves at Stoke to earn a difficult draw for the Gunners at the Britannia Stadium.
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