The European Round-Up Part 1
With the Premier League title race seeming to be heading in only one direction, attention has drifted across the continent to the remaining best leagues in Europe. Here’s a quick summary of the events in Spain, Italy & Germany.
Barcelona were the huge favourites but were held by a very resolute Getafe. Both Messi and Suarez went close but couldn’t find a way past Vincente Guaita, who produced a man of the match performance in the Getafe goal. Barcelona will be hoping that they can return to goalscoring form, especially with their return to Champions League nigh.
Antoine Griezmann was on the scoresheet again with the weekends fastest goal after just 40 seconds. Atletico Madrid stay second after the 1 nil win, but it looks unlikely they will be able to challenge Barcelona. Griezmann, widely expected to leave in the summer, will be hoping to keep Atletico above Real Madrid.
Cristiano Ronaldo rediscovered his scoring boots against Real Sociedad with a hat-trick in a 5-2 win. This will help him to carry on his form as they approach that eye-watering clash against PSG on Valentine’s day. Toni Kroos showed his shooting boots are back with the pick of the goals. Real Madrid still lie fourth and have all their eyes on securing an incredible third Champions League crown in a row.
Elsewhere, Valencia and Levante played out a controversial 3-1 game which saw Levante robbed my poor refereeing decisions. This will no doubt fuel the demand for VAR/Goalline technology in Spain.
Arguably the only close title race in the major European Leagues lies in Italy. Napoli carried on their good form with a 4-1 win over a tricky Lazio side. Dries Merten capped off the game with a fourth goal and with a bargain of a £24.7m release clause, it’s easy to see some of the European elite trying to tempt the Belgian forward to leave the Serie A league leader.
Fiorentina were unable to turn their hate toward Juventus into anything and goals from Bernadeschi and Higuain kept the reigning champions one point behind the Naples outfit. Bernadeschi scored a lovely free-kick and Higuain kept up his recent good form with a goal taking him to 14 Serie A goals for the season. This was the perfect match to set them up for their meeting with Tottenham this week.
As for Inter, they were able to end their 10 match winless run against Bologna without talisman Mario Icardi. Teenager Yann Karomah was the matchwinner with a goal in the 2-1 win which he will remember for a long time
Elsewhere, Roma beat bottom team Benevento 5-2 with ex-Premier league stars Edin Dzeko and Federico Fazio amongst the goals for the Gialorossi.
Bayern Munich came from behind to continue their relentless form with a 2-1 win against Schalke.Lewandoski equalled a record set by manager Jupp Henckyes to have scored in the first eleven home games. Thomas Muller got the winning goal to put the German champions 18 points clear at the top.
As for RB Leipzig, Liverpool-bound Naby Keita scored a deflected free-kick in a 2-0 win against Augsburg. Marco Reus returned after an 8 month lay off as Dortmund won 2-0 with Batschuayi and Mario Gotze getting goals. On-loan forward Batschuayi is showing very quickly that he is able to fill Aubemayang’s boots and clearly has a point to prove to parent-club Chelsea.
Main image used: Embed from Getty Images