European Weekend Rewind

Cristiano Ronaldo (Reuters)

By IAN HOLLIDAY

If you had to pick the best club in European football right now, you could do worse than to pick Real Madrid. The new Galacticos have been playing up to their name in recent weeks, winning their last three league matches by a combined score of 16-3, and throwing in a mid-week 2-0 in over AC Milan in the Champions League.

Elsewhere, Chelsea still look like the class of the Premier League, earning a workmanlike 2-0 home win over Wolves on Saturday. Manchester City failed to keep pace with the Blues, as playing with 10 men for 83+ minutes against Arsenal proved too difficult a task. That result, coupled with Man. United's 2-1 victory over Stoke put the three clubs into a three-way tie for second.

In Italy, Lazio continued its surprising run of table-topping form with a 2-1 win over Cagliari, while another surprise leader Mainz re-took top spot in the Bundesliga by defeating Bayer Leverkusen 1-0.

Wherever you pick you best team from, it's unlikely to be France, where six clubs are within 2 points of the Ligue 1 lead, none of them have more than five wins, and only one of them qualified for the Champions League last year.

Here is a rundown of this weekend's scores from Europe's top leagues:

ENGLAND

The marquee matchup of the weekend in England was Manchester City hosting Arsenal on Sunday afternoon, and it didn't disappoint. An early red card to Dedryck Boyata reduced the Citizens to 10 men for all but the first seven minutes of the match, but City kept it close throughout the first half, going to half-time trailing only 1-0 and having created a handful of chances. In the second half, however, Arsenal pulled away, with goals from Alex Song and Nicklas Bendtner sealing a 3-0 win for the London club. The win, coupled with Manchester United's 2-1 defeat of Stoke City, leaves Arsenal, City and United in a three-way tie for third place in the Premier League on 17 points. Chelsea defeated Wolves on Saturday to pull further from the pack with 22 points.

Tottenham 1, Everton 1

Chelsea 2, Wolverhapmton 0

Sunderland 1, Aston Villa 0

West Bromwich Albion 2, Fulham 1

Birmingham City 2, Blackpool 0

Wigan Athletic 1, Bolton 1

West Ham United 1, Newcastle United 2

Stoke City 1, Manchester United 2

Liverpool 2, Blackburn 1

Manchester City 0, Arsenal 3

SPAIN

For the second time in three match-weeks, Real Madrid dropped 6 on an opponent. This week, it was Racing Santander. Jose Morinho's squad have now scored 16 goals in their last three matches, and have solidified themselves as the most in-form team in La Liga at the moment. Behind Madrid in the standings are rivals Barcelona and an improved Villareal, which looked good in defeating Atletico Madrid 2-0 on Sunday.

Real Zaragoza 0, Barcelona 2

Real Madrid 6, Racing Santander 1

Valencia 1, Mallorca 2

Espanyol 2, Levante 1

Osasuna 3, Malaga 0

Getafe 3, Sporting Gijon 0

Almeria 1, Hercules 1

Sevilla 4, Athletic Bilbao 3

Villareal 2, Athletico Madrid 0

Monday: Real Sociedad v. Deportivo la Coruna

ITALY

Italy's biggest clubs are all looking up the table at the moment, and it's an unfamiliar position for Inter Milan in recent years. After being held to a 1-1 draw by Sampdoria, the five-time defending champs find themselves on just 15 points through 8 matches, 4 points behind surprising leaders Lazio, which won 2-1 over bottom-feeders Cagliari Sunday. Inter could find themselves even further down the table Monday afternoon if their Milan Derby rivals AC Milan can win a tough away fixture at Napoli.

Fiorentina 2, Bari 1

Parma 0, AS Roma 0

Bologna 0, Juventus 0

Lazio 2, Cagliari 1

Lecce 2, Brescia 1

Udinese 2, Palermo 1

Chievo 2, Cesena 1

Genoa 1, Catania 0

Inter Milan 1, Sampdoria 1

Monday: Napoli v. AC Milan

GERMANY

Bayern Munich are having a mediocre start to the season, at best. The storied Bavarian club managed only a scoreless draw against Hamburg this weekend, leaving them 12 points adrift of leaders Mainz after 9 matches, which retook the Bundesliga lead with a 1-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen. Borussia Dortmund are once again chasing Mainz after drawing 1-1 with Hoffenheim. It's still early in the season, but with 8 points separating Mainz from third-place Hannover, things are looking good for the club that just made it back to the Bundesliga last season.

Hamburg 0, Bayern Munich 0

Eintracht Frankfurt 0, Schalke 04 0

SC Freiburg 2, Kaiserslautern 1

Borussia Moenchengladbach 1, Werder Bremen 4

Hannover 96 2, FC Cologne 1

Nurnberg 2, VfL Wolfsburg 1

Borussia Dortmund 1, Hoffenheim 1

Bayer Leverkusen 0, Mainz 1

VfB Stuttgart 2, St. Pauli 0

FRANCE

After torrid starts, Stade Rennes and St. Etienne have come back to the pack in Ligue 1. Rennes still top the table with 19 points, but their 1-0 loss to Montpellier on Saturday left the door open for last year's champions Marseille to take second place. St. Etienne also had a chance to capitalize on Rennes' loss, but could manage only a 1-1 draw with Caen. Through 10 match-weeks, what briefly looked like a two-team race in France is starting to look wide open. Six clubs are within 2 points of Rennes' 19, and only one of them, Marseille, finished in Champions League position last year.

Monaco 0, Valenciennes 2

Lens 1, Nice 0

Rennes 0, Montpellier 1

St. Etienne 1, Caen 1

AS Nancy Lorraine 1, Lorent 0

Bordeaux 0, Brest 2

Sochaux 1, Toulouse 3

Paris St. Germain 2, AJ Auxerre 3

Arles 1, Lyon 1

Lille 1, Marseille 3

SCOTLAND

This weekend marked the first Old Firm match of the season in the Scottish Premier League, with Rangers coming from behind to beat Celtic 3-1 and take sole possession of first place. Gary Hooper opened the scoring for Celtic at home, but a Glenn Loovens own goal tied the score just after halftime. Kenny Miller added a brace for the visitors, who remain perfect on the season with 27 points from 9 matches. Celtic drop to 8-0-1 for 24 points, but they're still 8 clear of their nearest competition Motherwell, so if you're hoping for a non-Celtic or -Rangers champion in Scotland, your prayers are unlikely to be answered any time soon.

NETHERLANDS

PSV Eindhoven haven't won the Eredivisie title since the 2007-08 season, but they're making a strong early case for 2010-11. PSV lead the league with 24 points from 10 matches, and along with last year's champions Twente, they're the only club not to have lost yet. More impressively, PSV absolutely destroyed Feyenoord on Sunday, defeating the struggling Rotterdam side 10-0. Jonathan Reis had a hat-trick, and Jeremain Lens and Balazs Dzsudzsak added braces for the winners. Feyenoord are struggling this year, with only 8 points from their ten matches, but they're still one of the most historically successful Dutch clubs, with a European Cup to their name, and the 10-0 defeat was the worst in club history, all of which makes PSV's victory that much more impressive.

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What did you think of this weekend's results? Impressed by the Real Madrid and PSV Eindhoven blowouts? Like the chances of surprising new champions in some of Europe's top leagues this season?

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11 Responses to European Weekend Rewind

  1. Mike says:

    Not sure how you can say that the City Arsenal game didn’t disappoint. The air got taken out of the game with the early red.

  2. I was worried about that when it happened, but after its conclusion I thought the game was still well worth watching.

  3. Brandon says:

    Couldn’t disagree more. It was a game that had everything, yeah, including a red card that was totally deserved by the way. The goals were spectacular, the keeper saves incredible and the ball movement was aggressive, fast, precise. Very entertaining. Plus it was great to see that Arsenal didn’t choke as they normally do on the big games.

  4. Sean says:

    I guess Chicharito’s back of the head goal wasn’t worth mentioning.

    Granted, he has now scored with his face and the back of his head. What’s next?

  5. Thor says:

    Aresenal my surprise pick to win the CL

  6. Paul says:

    I don’t think that would be very surprising.

  7. Steve C says:

    I think it would be considering the obvious picks of: RM, Barca, & Chelsea.

  8. bryan says:

    the bundesliga is so fun to watch and follow. always exciting.

  9. Warren says:

    It’s still early in the season.

    But if Jones, Bradley, (and Hahneman) and Dempsey are as great as we USMNT fans think, shouldn’t their teams be not in or flirting with relegation from EPL and Bundesliga?

    Holden and Bolton, plus Cherundolo and Boca at least are on teams having good seasons so far…

  10. C2 says:

    you may not like the answers some people are thinking…

  11. GW says:

    “But if Jones, Bradley, (and Hahneman) and Dempsey are as great as we USMNT fans think, shouldn’t their teams be not in or flirting with relegation from EPL and Bundesliga?”

    No. There are at least 10 other guys and the manager and staff and the organization to consider. Holden and Edu both currently have overall situations at their clubs that fit them to a tee. Change the manager, lose some of the current starters and then let’s see how good those guys play. Holden and Edu are good players but they haven’t got a long track record yet to justify anointing them as the sort of superstars every American fan seems to think they are. McBride, Reyna, Dempsey and yes, even Michael Bradley earned their reps by producing over time. Let Edu and Holden do that before putting them in the Hall of Fame or the equivalent.

    The fact that a player’s team is in the relegation zone doesn’t mean a given player is bad; Dolo and Boca have both been in relgation battles. If Edu stays with Rangers he’s not likely to ever be a pat of a relegation battle, given how weak the SPL is.

    After 9 games and with about about 2/3 of the Bundesliga season left BMG and Schalke are bottom 3 and 2 respectively, both with 6 points.

    Bayern Munich, a team with some players of note(Robben, Ribery,Tomas Mueller, Sebasastian Schweinsteiger etc.) are at #11 with 12 points. They are theoretically also in danger of relegation.

    Teams below Bayern include teams like Schalke ( Raul and Jones), Cologne (Podolski), Stuttgart ( Cacau and Camoranesi) Wolfsburg ( Diego , Dzeko, Freidrich and Grafite).

    You might have heard of these players and I’d probably rate them all more accomplished than Bradley, Edu and Holden.