Euro Leagues: United closes in on City rival, Real Madrid moves top with El Clasico win

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Red Devils won a fourth consecutive PL contest, coming from 0-1 behind to take out Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 recently, thanks mainly to a goal and assist from Edinson Cavani.

Manchester United’s Edinson Cavani (in red) scores his side’s second goal against Tottenham Hotspur in the English Premier League. United won 3-1.   -  AP

After going unbeaten for 21 straight games in all competitions, Manchester City (74 points) suffered a second defeat in five Premier League matches. Pep Guardiola’s men lost 1-2 at home to a 10-man Leeds United team on the back of a Stuart Dallas brace. Man City’s defeat helped second-placed Manchester United (63) cut short the gap to the top to 11, having played a game fewer. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Red Devils won a fourth consecutive PL contest, coming from 0-1 behind to take out Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 recently, thanks mainly to a goal and assist from Edinson Cavani.

Leicester City (56), which occupies the third spot, faced a loss for the second time on the trot. Brendan Rodger’s Foxes were outplayed 0-2 by Man City at home before being shocked 2-3 by fourth-placed West Ham United (55) on the road. Thomas Tuchel was inflicted his first defeat as Chelsea boss when the Blues (54) were thumped 2-5 by West Bromwich Albion after their skipper Thiago Silva was sent off for a second yellow card as early as the 29th minute. The London-based outfit, however, beat Crystal Palace 4-1 up next. Liverpool (52) moved above a misfiring Spurs (49) into sixth after sealing three straight PL wins over Wolves, Arsenal and Aston Villa.

English teams enjoyed a mixed week in European competitions with Man City defeating Borussia Dortmund, Chelsea beating FC Porto and Liverpool losing to Real Madrid in their respective Champions League first leg outings. Meanwhile, in the Europa League, Man United came out on top against Spanish side Granada and Arsenal was held to a draw by Slavia Prague.

Karim Benzema opens the account for Real Madrid against Barcelona at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano in Spain.   -  Getty Images

 

La Liga

El Clasico took centre stage in the La Liga as table-topper Atletico Madrid dropped two more points. Goals from Karim Benzema and Toni Kroos guided Real Madrid (66 points) to a 2-1 victory over Barcelona (65) in the Clasico during gameweek 30. An Oscar Mingueza goal and a Casemiro red card brought Barca back into the match, but Real held on and snatched a fourth consecutive win in the Spanish top-flight while clipping its adversary’s nine-game unbeaten run in the process.

The result also helped Zinedine Zidane and company replace Ronald Koeman’s side in second place, just one behind city rival Atleti (67), which played out a 1-1 draw at Real Betis in its most recent outing. Diego Simeone’s men have now accumulated only 17 points out of a possible 33 of late. Meanwhile, Los Blancos also beat Liverpool 3-1 in the Champions League quarterfinal first leg at home to gain a huge advantage ahead of their next clash at Anfield.

Sevilla (58) closes out the top-four, just above 2019-20 Copa del Rey winner Real Sociedad (47), Betis (47) and Villarreal (46), who are all fighting for the Europa League spots. Atletico Bilbao, which lost 0-1 to Sociedad during this month’s domestic cup final, will have another chance to bag silverware when it takes on Lionel Messi’s Barcelona in the 2020-21 season’s Copa summit clash.

Bundesliga

All the current top-six teams in the 2020-21 Bundesliga, except Eintracht Frankfurt, dropped points in the last two match weeks. Leader Bayern Munich (65 points), which was without its injured star striker Robert Lewandowski, lost 2-3 to Paris Saint-Germain at home in the UCL first leg before drawing 1-1 against Union Berlin in the German top division with a second-string side.

Title chaser RB Leipzig (60) put behind a 0-1 defeat at the hands of Bayern and thrashed Werder Bremen 4-1 to keep its hopes of a German league triumph alive. VfL Wolfsburg (54) and Frankfurt (53), third and fourth in the points table, respectively, played out an exciting contest in the weekend. The latter picked up a 4-3 victory to strengthen its grip on the final Champions League spot, staying seven points ahead of fifth-placed Borussia Dortmund (46), which followed up a 2-1 loss to Manchester City in the UCL with a 3-2 win over VfB Stuttgart. Captain Marco Reus scored in both those encounters for Dortmund. Bayer Leverkusen (43) has a match in hand versus TSG Hoffenheim and is in sixth right now.

Serie A

Inter Milan (74 points) consolidated its position at the top of the 2020-21 Serie A standings with an 11th straight win. After the latest international break, Antonio Conte’s team registered close victories over Bologna, Sassuolo and Cagliari, thereby extending its lead over second-placed AC Milan (63), which drew against Sampdoria before thumping Parma 3-1, to 11 points.

On the other hand, Juventus stayed in third (62), 12 behind Inter. After being held 1-1 by Torino away, the Andrea Pirlo-managed outfit came out on top at home to Napoli and Genoa. Juve forward Cristiano Ronaldo (25 goals) still leads his Nerazzurri counterpart Romelu Lukaku (21) in the Golden Boot race. Fourth-placed Atalanta (61 points) claimed back-to-back thrilling 3-2 victories versus Udinese and Fiorentina to move two ahead of Napoli at fifth and six ahead of Lazio sixth, which has played a game fewer.

AS Roma (54), which occupies the seventh spot, defeated Ajax 2-1 in its midweek Europa League last-eight first leg fixture and overcame Bologna 1-0 in the Italian league.

Kylian Mbappe of Paris Saint-Germain leads the Ligue 1 scoring chart with 21 goals.   -  Getty Images

 

Ligue 1

With just six rounds to go in the 2020-21 Ligue 1 season, Lille OSC (69 points) maintained its three-point advantage over Paris Saint-Germain at the pinnacle. Lille had edged past PSG 1-0 away in the first match for either side post the international break and beat Metz 2-0 the following week. Meanwhile, PSG (66) stunned defending UCL champion Bayern Munich 3-2 midweek before rolling past Strasbourg 4-1.

AS Monaco (65) is currently in the last Champions League spot, replacing Olympique Lyonnais (64) at third with three big wins on the trot over Saint-Etienne, Metz and Dijon. On the other hand, Lyon bagged a draw and a victory against Lens and Angers, respectively, after its 2-4 loss at home to PSG. Lens (52), Marseille (49), Rennes (48), Montpellier (46), Nice (43), and Metz (42) complete the top-10 places. Les Parisiens’ centre-forward Kylian Mbappe is the leading scorer in the league, with 21 goals, four more than Monaco striker Wissam Ben Yedder.