European Football: Five talking points from the week gone by

Barcelona took advantage of its rivals drawing in the Madrid derby to close the gap atop La Liga but it was a bad weekend for AC Milan.

Barcelona took advantage of its rivals drawing in the Madrid derby to close the gap atop La Liga but it was a bad weekend for AC Milan and pressure is building on novice coaches at some of Europe's most famous clubs.

Here are five talking points from the week gone by in Europe:

 

1) Madrid tops but Barca back on track

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Luis Suarez set Barcelona on its way to a first away victory of the La Liga season as it won 2-0 at Getafe on Saturday.   -  GETTY IMAGES

 

Barcelona was arguably the big winner from Saturday's Madrid derby in La Liga as Atletico and Real played out a disappointing 0-0 draw.

Both teams looked keener to avoid defeat than push for victory at the Wanda Metropolitano while Barca's 2-0 win at Getafe means it gains two points on each of its title rivals.

There is little to separate the early frontrunner as three points come between Real Madrid, which sits top, and Athletic Bilbao in seventh.

But ominously for the chasing pack, both Barca and Real Madrid appear to have overcome their respective dips.

Madrid has registered three clean sheets in a row in the league while Barcelona climbs to fourth after a second consecutive win.

 

2) AC Milan hits 81-year low

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AC Milan head coach Marco Giampaolo.   -  Getty Images

 

Coach Marco Giampaolo said he had no thoughts of resigning even though AC Milan hit an 81-year low after losing for the fourth time in its opening six games.

Milan is 16th, one point above the relegation zone, after losing 3-1 to Fiorentina at San Siro.

The last time Milan lost four of its first six games was in the 1938/39 season.

“I take responsibility but I'll keep going because I believe in my ideas,' Giampaolo said.

Club technical director Paolo Maldini insisted it was just teething problems for the new coach.

“We will always defend him, it is right to give him time,” said the Milan legend “We knew what the problems could be, but we thought we would do better.”

 

3) Lyon's Sylvinho in firing line

Lyon coach Sylvinho.   -  AFP

 

Sylvinho's future as coach of Lyon is already in serious doubt after the Brazilian saw his team slump to a seventh match without a win in all competitions.

Lyon lost 1-0 at home to Nantes and sits in the bottom half of Ligue 1, nine points behind leader Paris Saint-Germain. Its wins in its opening two matches already feel a long time ago.

Long-serving president Jean-Michel Aulas gambled in the close season when he brought back club legend Juninho as sporting director and allowed him to put his fellow Brazilian in charge of the team.

So far, it is simply not working and Juninho hinted that he may not continue to stand by Sylvinho if results do not improve quickly.

“I can't 100 percent say that I am linking my future to that of Sylvinho. But I chose him, so I will take responsibility,” he said.

 

4) Minnow Famalicao still top in Portugal

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Famalicao is top of the table with 19 points, one ahead of Benfica.   -  Getty Images

 

Champion Benfica and fellow giant Porto both won at the weekend but it is little Famalicao which continues to top the Portuguese league seven games into the season.

The tiny outfit from northern Portugal is in its first top-flight season in quarter of a century but has won six and drawn one of its opening seven matches to sit a point clear of the big two.

On Saturday it came from behind to beat Belenenses 3-1.

Famalicao is a tiny club, but has been transformed in the last year since Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer -- who owns a share of Atletico Madrid -- invested in the team.

His money and a close relationship with super-agent Jorge Mendes has turned them into surprise leaders. Its next game is away to Porto.

 

5) Anderlecht crisis deepens

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Anderlecht is 13th in a league comprising 16 teams.   -  Getty Images

 

Nine games into the season and still just one win -- things are not going well for Vincent Kompany at Anderlecht.

A 0-0 draw at home to struggling Waasland-Beveren on Saturday provoked an angry reaction from frustrated fans of the Brussels club, which is fourth from bottom with just six points.

Player-manager Kompany missed the game with injury but Samir Nasri was there among a host of youngsters who have been unable to revive the team's fortunes. Manchester City legend Kompany is under increasing pressure.

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