Five talking points from European football this weekend

All the major talking points from the weekend's European football action with Real Madrid and Barcelona winning in La Liga, with Bayern Munich slipping up.

Published : Oct 07, 2019 19:36 IST , PARIS

Amid talk of facing the sack, Zinedine Zidane has steered Real Madrid to the top of La Liga after seven matches.
Amid talk of facing the sack, Zinedine Zidane has steered Real Madrid to the top of La Liga after seven matches.

Amid talk of facing the sack, Zinedine Zidane has steered Real Madrid to the top of La Liga after seven matches.

Bayern Munich went from boom to bust after crushing Tottenham in the Champions League, while, Spain's big guns may be misfiring but top La Liga anyway.

In Italy Antonio Conte's rebuilding of Inter is still a work in progress following defeat to dominant Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain has no real domestic rival.

AFP Sport looks at the five main talking points from the weekend on the continent.

- Spain's crisis clubs top La Liga -

Zinedine Zidane was said to be facing the sack with Real Madrid lining up Jose Mourinho in his place, while two weeks ago Ernesto Valverde was taking similar flack at Barcelona.

However Real is top of La Liga on 18 points with champion Barcelona two points behind in second after both roared to big wins over Granada and Sevilla.

Read: Real beats Granada 4-2

“It has been a strange start to the season and we have not gained all the points we would have wanted,” Valverde said after the 4-0 home thumping of the Andalusian, which saw injury-plagued Lionel Messi score his first goal of the season.

Real Madrid star Eden Hazard
Real also scored four as another man under pressure, Eden Hazard, netted for the first time since his 100-million euro ($109 million) move from Chelsea during a 4-2 win over Granada that also took some of the heat off Zidane.

The pair will face each other on October 26 at the Camp Nou, a match that will no doubt show which of the big two is in the best shape to take the title.

- Sublime to ridiculous -

Did over-exertion in Tuesday's 7-2 Champions League rout of Tottenham Hotspur eventually lead to Bayern Munich dropping three precious points in the Bundesliga?

Niko Kovac instructs his Bayern Munich players from the touchline during the match against Hoffenheim.
Four days after thrashing Spurs, the Bavarian club appeared to take its foot off the gas when it lost 2-1 at home to Hoffenheim, surrendering top spot in the league to Borussia Moenchengladbach and dropping back to third behind Wolfsburg.

It was Bayern's first home league defeat for almost a year and its captain Manuel Neuer said the defeat served as “a warning you get nothing for free”.

( Match report )

- Conte says mind the gap -

Antonio Conte admitted Inter Milan have a large gap to close after his new side lost top spot in Serie A with a 2-1 defeat to defending champion Juventus.

Inter had been flying high with a perfect run of six wins before losing Sunday's 'Derby d'Italia' with fierce rival Juve.

“I'm disappointed at the defeat, not because it was against Juventus. I've always lost against Juventus, when I was at Arezzo and Atalanta,” said Conte.

Gonzalo Higuain celebrates putting Juventus ahead against Inter Milan.
Juventus won the first three of its current run of eight Serie A titles under Conte before he led Chelsea to a Premier League title and then embarked on the project to rebuild Inter Milan, which has not won the league since 2010.

“The lads gave their all, but we have a long road ahead of us to reach Juventus' standard,” added Conte. “They're at a different level from us and we're looking to improve so that we can close the gap.”

( Match report )

- Ligue 1 of its own -

Paris Saint-Germain gets the occasional reminder that it still has to show up and put in a performance to take three points in Ligue 1, as when it was shocked 2-0 by Reims last month.

This week, however, France's dominant football force thrashed its closest rival Angers 4-0 as its all-star cast cruised into overdrive and overwhelmed the visitor thanks to the undisputed brilliance of Neymar and the work rate of new boy Idrissa Gueye in midfield.

Mauro Icardi scored his first league goal for Paris Saint-Germain against Angers.
Now firmly in control of Ligue 1, PSG appears unstoppable domestically as Neymar got his fourth league goal and Mauro Icardi his second in all competitions since joining on loan from Inter Milan, while French phenomenon Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani sat out another game injured.

( Match report )

- Atletico struggling to score goals -

With its goalless stalemate against Valladolid on Sunday, Atletico Madrid has now just one of its last four fixtures in La Liga.

The lack of goals has been the biggest cause for Rojiblancos' poor run of form, with it failing to score in three of its last four fixtures including against Valladolid.

Lack of goals is a matter of concern for Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone.
Despite keeping clean sheets, Diego Simeone might be concerned by his team's lack of potency in front of goal.

It is only three points behind table-topping Real Madrid, but if it continues to struggle for goals, its derby rival and Barcelona - currently first and second on the table - could pull away in the title race.

( Match report )

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