Football Article

Weekend Developments From Europe's Top Leagues

Ronaldo hits four>Cristiano Ronaldo hit four, Lionel Messi grabbed two, Lazio stay top in Italy, Mainz return to the summit in Germany and Liverpool finally won a game, what a weekend.

Spanish La Liga

Pos Team Pts
1 Real Madrid 20
2 Villarreal 19
3 FC Barcelona 19
4 Valencia 16
5 Espanyol 15

Cristiano Ronaldo bagged four goals as Real Madrid thrashed Racing Santander 6-1 on Saturday, while their main title rivals Barcelona easily accounted for Real Zaragoza 2-0, with their star man Lionel Messi grabbing the goals.

Valencia’s second consecutive loss, 2-1 to Mallorca, sees them slide to fourth, while Villareal’s impressive 2-0 win over Atletico Madrid moves them into second spot.

Down the wrong end, the aforementioned duo, Santander and Zaragoza, are in the bottom three, alongside Deportivo Coruna> who worryingly lost 3-0 to Real Sociedad.

Italian Serie A

Reja insists Lazio can't keep it up>

Pos Team Pts
1 Lazio 19
2 AC Milan 17
3 Internazionale 15
4 Chievo Verona 13
5 Juventus 12

Leaders Lazio may have claimed their fourth consecutive victory with a 2-1 win triumph over Cagliari on Sunday but boss Edy Reja insists they are not serious title contenders. But they are setting the pace, and Inter’s draw with Sampdoria sees them fall off as AC Milan won 2-1 over Napoli on Monday.

A team who might be not be considered title contenders anymore is AS Roma after a goalless draw at Parma. The Roma board, though, have backed boss Claudio Ranieri despite sitting down in 14th. Meanwhile struggling Fiorentina moved off the bottom after a 2-1 win over Bari on Saturday.

English Premier League

United's new hero>

Pos Team Pts
1 Chelsea 22
2 Arsenal 17
3 Manchester United 17
4 Manchester City 17
5 Tottenham 15

Chelsea’s lead at the summit was extended to five points this weekend after they cruised to a 2-0 victory over Wolverhampton on Saturday. Arsenal’s 2-1 triumph over 10-man Manchester City on Sunday meant there’s a logjam of sides chasing the Blues, as the Red Devils got their first away win of the season at Stoke.

Meanwhile, Liverpool remain in the bottom three despite a much-needed 2-1 win over Blackburn, where Fernando Torres returned to the scorers list. Wolves and West Ham remain in the bottom two, after the losses, the most alarming for the Hammers after a 2-1 home loss to newly-promoted Newcastle.

German Bundesliga

Koln in meltdown>

Pos Team Pts
1 FSV Mainz 24
2 Borussia Dortmund 22
3 Hannover 96 16
4 TSG Hoffenheim 15
5 Bayer Leverkusen 15

Mainz’s incredible run this campaign continued with a 1-0 win at Bayer Leverkusen, with Andreas Ivanschitz scoring the winner on 70 minutes. Dortmund’s last-gasp 1-1 draw against Hoffenheim – which ended BVB’s seven-game winning streak – means Mainz return to the summit.

Elsewhere, Bayern held onto a point against Hamburg on Friday by the width of the post, as the reigning champions slump to 11th, while Werder made it three wins in four with a 4-1 triumph at Moenchengladbach. Kaiserslautern’s 2-1 loss at Freiburg made it five defeats in a row, while last-placed FC Koln>’s 2-1 loss at Hannover saw boss Zvonimir Soldo sacked.

Random League: Scottish Premier League

Rangers marching on, but no title talk>

Pos Team Pts
1 Rangers 27
2 Celtic 24
3 Motherwell 16
4 Hearts 14
5 Inverness 14

After the weekend’s Old Firm derby it’s the perfect time to take stock of the happenings in Scotland’s Premier League. Both sides came into the match with 100 per cent records but it was Rangers who were victorious 3-1 over Celtic on Sunday with Kenny Miller grabbing a double.

Despite the win Gers boss Walter Smith was quick to play down talk of the title. He said: “It was a good afternoon and a good win but we are very early in the season to be talking about championships.” Fair enough, but it’s a good start.

Ben somerford
Ben Somerford Sports Pundit staff writer

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