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Weekend Developments From Europe's Top Leagues

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Ranieri's Roma are on the charge>Chelsea beat Arsenal, AC Milan didn’t win again, Juventus are still struggling, Bayern are on the charge. Alot has been happening in the football world. Here’s the latest.

ITALY

Pos Team Pts
1 Inter Milan 52
2 AS Roma 44
3 AC Milan 42
4 Napoli 38
7 Juventus 35

Jose Mourinho’s Internazionale continue to stroll to the title after an easy 3-0 win over Cagliari on Sunday. Their closest rivals AC Milan> are the big story, after another non-victory, with a 0-0 at Bologna, dropping them down to third. Milan haven’t won in three.

Moving above Milan are Claudio Ranieri’s revived Roma who had Mirko Vucinic to thank for a late winner at Fiorentina. Roma have won 8 in a row in all competitions, while Champions League last 16 club Fiorentina haven’t won in their last 4 Serie A matches and sit down in 11th.

Elsewhere, a change in boss hasn’t improved Juventus’s fortunes after a 1-1 draw at Livorno left them down in seventh. They’ve now collected just 8 points from their last 10 games. Parma continue their winless slide down to 13th and Lazio’s home loss to Catania puts them in the drop zone.

ENGLAND

Drogba returns with a double>

Pos Team Pts
1 Chelsea 58
2 Manchester United 56
3 Arsenal 49
4 Liverpool 44
5 Tottenham 43

With the ‘matches played’ column becoming more uniform in England’s top flight, the complexion of the title race appears a whole heap clearer. Weekend wins for top two Chelsea and Manchester United reiterate their status at the top, especially considering the former knocked off third-placed Arsenal.

Indeed, Sunday’s 2-0 win for the Blues over the Gunners at Stamford Bridge leaves Arsenal nine points behind the leaders and realistically gone, although Arsene Wenger says they’ll fight to the last game. The return of match-winner Didier Drogba will surely inspire Chelsea now too.

Elsewhere, Liverpool’s 1-0 Merseyside derby victory moves them into the fourth and final Champions League spot after Spurs were held to a 0-0 draw by 7th Aston Villa. Manchester City losing at Hull City shows their frailty, whilst moving the Tigers out of the drop zone along with Burnley who beat West Ham. The Hammers, Wolves and Portsmouth now occupy the bottom three spots.

SPAIN

A return to form for Kaka?>

Pos Team Pts
1 FC Barcelona 55
2 Real Madrid 50
3 Valencia 42
4 Real Mallorca 37
5 FC Sevilla 36

It was business as usual for Spain’s top dogs this weekend, with Barcelona recording their fifth consecutive Liga triumph with a 2-1 win over Getafe despite being reduced to ten men after Gerard Pique’s red card. Second-placed Real Madrid were more comprehensive with a 3-0 win over Espanyol, where Kaka returned to form with a goal.

Elsewhere, Valencia continue to push for third spot with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Valladolid. Champions League hopefuls Sevilla stumbled at Zaragoza 2-1 and showed their frustration with two late red cards.

Mallorca, meanwhile, moved into fourth spot after a 1-0 home win over Villarreal, which leaves the Yellow Submarine languishing in tenth after three losses in their last 4. Elsewhere, Gijon lost their fourth match in a row to slip to 13th while Valladolid can not buy a win and are now in the drop zone.

GERMANY

Ribery is back, Bayern are up>

Pos Team Pts
1 Bayer Leverkusen 45
2 Bayern Munich 45
3 Schalke 04 42
4 Hamburg SV 36
5 Borussia Dortmund 35

It was the weekend everybody had been waiting for as Leverkusen failed to claim all three points, allowing all-conquering Bayern to close the gap at the top. Now it is simply goal difference, after Leverkusen drew 1-1 at Bochum, with Bayern winning 3-1 at champions Wolfsburg. With Franck Ribery back, and on the scoresheet, it is hard to know what will stop Bayern.

In fact all of the top five clubs, bar Bayern, failed to win this weekend, with Ruud van Nistelrooy’s debut for Hamburger SV not even enough to inspire them as they drew 3-3 with FC Koln who fought back from being two goals down with quarter of an hour to go.

Elsewhere, Werder finally ended their losing streak with a 2-1 win over bottom-club Hertha on Friday, while Christian Gross’s VfB Stuttgart continue to surge with their fifth consecutive win over Nurnberg. Hannover 96, on the other hand, are struggling in 16th having lost their last six and not won since October.

RANDOM LEAGUE (FRANCE)

Diarra cleared of serious injury>

Pos Team Pts
1 Bordeaux 48
2 Montpellier 45
3 Lille 41
4 Olympique Lyon 40
5 Marseille 39

Champions Bordeaux’s shock 4-2 loss at sixth-placed Stade Rennes allowed Montpellier to remarkably move within three points of the summit after their own win, 2-0 at Boulogne. Montpellier, who were only promoted this season, are having a dream season.

Elsewhere, Lille failed to capitalise on Bordeaux’s slip with a 1-1 draw at Nice, while Lyon drew at Toulouse. Marseille, though, emphatically pushed their case with a 5-1 thumping of midtable Valenciennes.

Elsewhere, Paris Saint Germain lost their fourth Ligue 1 clash on the trot with an awful 3-0 home loss to Lorient. The Parisians are now 15th, but will be thankful the bottom three in France are so poor this season with Le Mans, Boulogne and Grenoble almost all certain to go down.

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