European Leagues: Arsenal continues to prosper, Pique bids farewell to Barcelona

Arsenal showed yet again why it is a serious contender for the Premier League title this season, beating Chelsea 1-0. In Bundeliga, Manuel Neuer made an excellent fingertip save to help Bayern Munich pip Hertha Berlin.

One hell of a ride: Gerard Pique is lifted up by his Barcelona team-mates at Camp Nou after playing his last game for the club.

One hell of a ride: Gerard Pique is lifted up by his Barcelona team-mates at Camp Nou after playing his last game for the club. | Photo Credit: REUTERS

Arsenal showed yet again why it is a serious contender for the Premier League title this season, beating Chelsea 1-0. In Bundeliga, Manuel Neuer made an excellent fingertip save to help Bayern Munich pip Hertha Berlin.

It was another week of exciting football across Europe’s top five leagues.

Premier League goal of the fortnight

The Premier League saw some good goals but the one from Leicester City’s Youri Tielemans stood out in quality. His screamer against Everton in the 45th minute helped Leicester bag a 2-0 win at Goodison Park.

Everton failed to clear the ball from a Leicester attack and the ball fell to Tielemans on the right edge of the box. He controlled the ball by cushioning it with his chest and then dispatched a venomous shot that rattled the net after hitting the underside of the crossbar. Everton keeper Jordan Pickford had no chance of saving that.

Premier League save of the fortnight

Alisson’s save for Liverpool against Tottenham Hotspur wasn’t extraordinary but important.

By the 48th minute of the contest, Liverpool had taken a 2-0 lead courtesy of a Mohamed Salah brace. Spurs had a big chance to score its first from a corner and Eric Dier, whose first-half error led to Salah’s second, had a chance to redeem himself. Alisson not only blocked a close-range header but also held on to the ball to ensure the scoreline remained 2-0. Harry Kane later did pull one back from Tottenham, but Liverpool held on to bag the three points – it was Liverpool’s first win in three games.

The Arteta way

Arsenal showed yet again why it is a serious title contender this season. Gabriel Jesus’ goal against Chelsea gifted all three points to the Gunners and sent them back to the top of the table with 34 points.

Newcastle United, under Eddie Howe, is steadily making progress. With a 4-1 win against Southampton, the Magpies climbed third in the table.

La Liga goal of the fortnight

Ousmane Dembele’s brilliant solo effort in the 48th minute got Barcelona the first of its two goals in a 2-0 win against Almeria. Using a perfect balance of pace and close control, Dembele made his way into the Almeria box, beat a couple of defenders, and slotted the ball in the bottom-left corner.

La Liga save of the fortnight

The best save also comes from Barcelona’s win over Almeria. In the 29th minute, with the scoreline 0-0, De Jong lost the ball with a loose pass on the halfway line. Largie Ramazani cut it out and burst towards the Barca goal. One-on-one with Ter Stegen, Ramazani tried to fire it around the goalkeeper, but the Barca keeper made a save with his trailing leg to prevent Almeria from scoring the opening goal.

Pique’s farewell

Barcelona’s match against Almeria at Camp Nou was the farewell match of long-time servant of the club, Gerard Pique. He was making his 616th appearance for the club. He bid a tearful goodbye to the Camp Nou crowd, promising to return in another capacity. It was a good farewell as Barcelona won and climbed to the top of the points table.

Bundesliga goal of the fortnight

Youssoufa Moukoko’s opening goal for Borussia Dortmund in the eighth minute against VfM Bochum was a sight to behold. Showing great determination to hold the ball despite pressure, he used his strength to escape his marker. He then ran at the Bochum defence and lashed a shot from outside the box. The ball flew into the top corner, leaving the keeper with no chance. Moukoko scored a brace in a 3-0 win for Dortmund.

Bundesliga save of the fortnight

Bayern Munich clinched a 3-2 win against Hertha Berlin, and it had keeper Manuel Neuer to thank for that win. Neuer made some crucial saves in the game, the best one coming in the 27th minute.

The ball was snatched from Davie Selke of Hertha with a good challenge from Dayot Upamecano, but the danger hadn’t been averted. It fell to Marco Richter at the edge of the box and he went for the lob in an attempt to beat Neuer, who was off his line. However, the veteran keeper went back and tipped the ball out of play – it was an excellent fingertip save. With the win, Bayern kept the top spot.

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Serie A goal of the fortnight

Olivier Giroud scored an 89th-minute winner to give Milan a 2-1 win against Spezia. He did so stylishly. Sandro Tonali, who himself had a stunning goal cancelled out, found Giroud with a pinpoint, chipped delivery at the far post from the edge of the box. Giroud, seeing that he was under pressure, improvised and went for an acrobatic left-footed volley, and the ball ended up at the back of the net.

Such was the occasion that Giroud forgot that he was on a yellow card. He took his shirt off to celebrate for which he saw a second yellow and was sent off.

Serie A save of the fortnight

Napoli keeper Alex Meret made a crucial save in his team’s 2-1 win against Atalanta. It was just the third minute in the match when Ademola Lookman squared the ball to Rasmus Hojlund, who had done well to keep himself onside. One-on-one with Meret, Hojlund tried to beat the keeper at his near-post with a powerful, grounded shot, but Meret showed his excellent reflexes to get down in time and make the save from a close distance. With the win, Napoli kept the top spot in the table.

Lazio has the last laugh

The Lazio vs AS Roma match – known as the Rome Derby – is one of the fiercest derbies in the world. In a battle of wits between managers Maurizio Sarri and Jose Mourinho, Sarri had the last laugh. Felipe Anderson’s 29th-minute goal clinched a 1-0 win for Lazio at Roma’s home ground.

Ligue 1 goal of the fortnight

Danilo’s headed goal for Paris Saint-Germain against Lorient wasn’t out of the ordinary but a crucial one. With the score locked at 1-1, PSG had a corner in the 81st minute, and Danilo towered over everyone else to head the ball into the net to make it 2-1 for PSG.

PSG, which was without the services of Lionel Messi due to injury, bagged the win and maintained top spot in the table.

Ligue 1 save of the fortnight

Nice defeated Brest 1-0 but it was Brest’s keeper Marco Bizot who pulled off arguably the best save of the Ligue 1 match week. Mario Lemina of Nice caught his shot wonderfully. The ball was flying into the top-left corner. It would have been a goal-of-the-month contender had it gone in; instead, Bizot flung himself to make an acrobatic save and tip the ball over the bar.

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