Manchester United clips City’s run but not its lead

Pep Guardiola’s men restored their 14-point advantage in the English Premier League over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Red Devils with back-to-back big wins over Southampton and Fulham, having played a game more.

Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes opened the scoring against City off a penalty in the second minute.   -  AP

Manchester United ended Manchester City’s 21-match winning run across all competitions with a brilliant 2-0 victory at the Etihad Stadium, thanks mainly to goals from the in-form duo of Bruno Fernandes and Luke Shaw. Pep Guardiola’s men, however, restored their 14-point advantage in the English Premier League over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Red Devils (57) with back-to-back big wins over Southampton and Fulham, having played a game more.

In its most recent outing, Man United edged past fifth-placed West Ham (48) 1-0. Leicester City (56) and Chelsea (51) stayed on at third and fourth, respectively, after accumulating seven points from their last three encounters. Thomas Tuchel’s Blues defeated its two Merseyside rivals — Everton (46) and Liverpool (43) — in consecutive weeks.

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool slumped to a sixth straight loss at Anfield when it was outplayed 1-0 by a Fulham side struggling to make its way out of the drop zone. The reigning champion, which advanced to the 2020-21 UEFA Champions League quarterfinals after beating Leipzig, is currently in eighth spot, just above Tottenham Hotspur (45), which fell 1-2 to rival Arsenal (41) during gameweek 28 after being reduced to 10 men due to Erik Lamela’s red card. Both the North London adversaries were able to win their respective UEFA Europa League first-leg fixtures. Ninth-placed Aston Villa, which has a match in hand, is ahead of the Gunners only on goal difference. Villa hasn’t had a victory in its three previous clashes, including a 0-1 result against bottom-ranked club Sheffield United, which sacked its manager Chris Wilder the past week.

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La Liga

Atletico Madrid’s lead in the 2020-21 La Liga was cut even further as it could manage only nine points from its last six matches. Diego Simeone’s team conceded a late Karim Benzema equaliser against city rival Real Madrid to draw 1-1 and dropped two points versus a 10-man Getafe in a goalless affair on either side of a 2-1 victory over Athletic Bilbao. Real (57 points) got the better of Elche 2-1 to remain in second place. However, the Zinedine Zidane-managed Los Blancos have played a game more than FC Barcelona (56), which was eliminated from the Champions League by Paris Saint-Germain.

Ronald Koeman’s Barca enjoyed success in Spain though, overturning a 0-2 first-leg deficit against Sevilla to make the Copa del Rey final on a 3-2 aggregate triumph. The outfit also claimed three consecutive wins in the top division, and its forward Lionel Messi remained the leading goal-scorer of the tournament above Atleti’s Luis Suarez. Meanwhile, Sevilla (51) kept its place in the top four with a 2-1 result versus sixth-placed Real Betis (42). Real Sociedad (45) occupies the fifth spot.

Bundesliga

RB Leipzig had a week to forget as it followed up its exit from the Champions League — a 0-4 aggregate loss to Liverpool — with a 1-1 draw against Eintracht Frankfurt in the 2020-21 Bundesliga. This result increased its gap to Bayern Munich (58) to four points. The Bavarians, on the contrary, defeated Borussia Dortmund 4-2 in an exciting Der Klassiker fixture, which saw Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski scoring a hat-trick and Dortmund’s Erling Haaland bagging a brace, before dominating Werder Bremen during a 3-1 triumph.

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Wolfsburg (48) and Frankfurt (44) stayed third and fourth in the standings, respectively. The former thrashed bottom-placed Schalke, while the latter had to come from behind to secure a point in its last two clashes. Dortmund (42) progressed to the Champions League last eight following a 5-4 win against Sevilla over two legs and beat Hertha Berlin 2-0 during the German football weekend. Bayer Leverkusen (40) dropped back to sixth with a 1-2 loss to Arminia Bielefeld. Union Berlin and VfB Stuttgart, both of whom snatched three points during the last matchweek, close out the top eight.

Serie A

AC Milan’s recent poor form in the 2020-21 Serie A edition continued as it suffered a 0-1 defeat against Napoli. On the other hand, table-topper Inter Milan (65 points) extended its lead at the pinnacle to nine with its eighth consecutive win in the Italian top division. Both Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez scored as Antonio Conte’s Nerazzurri beat relegation-threatened Torino in their latest outing.

Stefano Pioli-managed AC Milan (56) is at the risk of losing second place to Juventus (55), which has a game in hand. The Bianconeri, who were dumped out of the Champions League by Portuguese club FC Porto on away goals (4-4 on aggregate), have come out on top in four of their previous five league encounters, netting three goals in each of those victories. Juve’s fantastic goal-scoring spree has assisted Cristiano Ronaldo in controlling the Golden Boot race with 23 goals. Atalanta (52), Napoli (50), AS Roma (50) and Lazio (46) are all involved in the battle to claim the remaining European slots.

PSG forward Kylian Mbappe continued to rule the Ligue 1 scoring charts with 18 goals to his name.   -  AP

 

Ligue 1

Despite making the Champions League quarterfinals with a 1-1 draw against Barcelona (5-2 on aggregate), Paris-Saint Germain dropped more points in the French championship. Fortunately for Mauricio Pochettino’s men, all other teams around them in the title race also hit roadblocks. After league leader Lille (63 points) was held to a goalless draw on the road by fourth-placed AS Monaco (56), defending champion PSG (60) lost 1-2 at home to Nantes. Olympique Lyonnais (60) also played out a 1-1 draw against Reims to be stuck behind Les Parisiens on goal difference.

Meanwhile, Olympique de Marseille (45) was the only side among the top five to win its last two games. Following its 0-2 loss at the hands of Christophe Galtier’s Lille, which is currently on an 11-match unbeaten run in the ongoing Ligue 1 season, Marseille had managed to bag victories over Rennes and Brest. PSG forward Kylian Mbappe continued to rule the scoring charts with 18 goals to his name, while Lyon’s Memphis Depay is right behind him, finding the back of the net 14 times.