By IAN HOLLIDAY
Chelsea's woes looked like they would end this weekend against Everton with the club doing what title contenders do: winning a match it probably deserved to lose. Instead, justice was served for the Toffees, who created chance after chance before Jermaine Beckford's 86th minute header finally extended the Blues' Premier League winless streak to four matches.
Chelsea has now won just one of its last six Premier League matches, and has slipped to third place in the league. Ahead of the Blues are Manchester United, which got an unexpected break after its match at Blackpool was postponed due to an icy pitch, and Arsenal, which moved to the top of the table with a 2-1 win over Fulham. Meanwhile, Manchester City have narrowed the gap between first and fourth to just three points, earning a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Bolton.
The only league with a more competitive title race than the Premier League's right now is France's Ligue 1, where three points separate first from sixth, and last week's leader fell to fourth after this week's results. Leading, for now, is Lille, which stomped Lorient 6-3 on Sunday in a back-and-forth match that had been rescheduled from the day before.
Here is a rundown of all the weekend scores from Europe's top leagues:
As Aston Villa prepares for its Monday night match at Liverpool, the club finds itself in an unexpected position for a squad accustomed to challenging for a place in European competition. The Villans are currently in 16th place, just two points clear of the Premier League drop zone, meaning they could be in for a relegation battle if their form doesn't improve soon. If such a battle does happen, Villa's American trio of Brad Friedel, Brad Guzan, and Eric Lichaj likely won't be the only Yanks playing for their Premiership lives. Clint Dempsey's Fulham are currently 17th, two points below Villa and out of the drop zone only on goal differential. Tim Howard's Everton is not much better, one place above Villa on goal differential. West Ham is last-placed at the moment, despite another good performance from American Jonathan Spector in midfield on Sunday. At the moment, the only American in the Premier League who looks safe is Stuart Holden, whose Bolton is in sixth.
Arsenal 2, Fulham 1
Chelsea 1, Everton 1
Manchester City 1, Bolton 0
Blackburn 3, Wolverhampton 0
Birmingham City 1, Tottenham 1
Wigan Athletic 2, Stoke City 2
West Bromwich Albion 3, Newcastle United 1
Sunderland 1, West Ham United 0
Blackpool v. Manchester United (postponed)
Monday: Liverpool v. Aston Villa
While La Liga boasts the two best clubs in the world at the moment in Barcelona and Real Madrid, the rest of the league is mired in mediocrity. Behind the big two are Villarreal and Espanyol on 30 and 28 points, respectively. Both clubs have been fairly consistent so far, but Espanyol especially is probably playing above its actual talent-level. Beyond the top four, few teams have demonstrated much quality. Just three points separate sixth-placed Real Sociedad from 11th-placed Athletic Bilbao, and those three points were earned Sunday, when Real beat Athletic 2-0. Elsewhere, 15th-placed Levante defeated 8th-placed Atletico Madrid, a result not uncommon in the bowels of this La Liga season, where precious little seems to separate the mid-table teams from the bottom-feeders.
Levante 2, Atletico Madrid 0
Osasuna 0, Barcelona 3
Real Madrid 2, Valencia 0
Espanyol 1, Sporting Gijon 0
Malaga 4, Racing Santander 1
Getafe 3, Mallorca 0
Almeria 1, Real Zaragoza 1
Villarreal 1, Sevilla 0
Real Sociedad 2, Athletic Bilbao 0
Monday: Deportivo La Coruna v. Hercules
After 15 rounds of a soccer competition, the elite clubs begin to separate themselves from the rest of the pack. The same may be said for the relegation fodder in this Serie A season. After 15 rounds, four clubs have separated themselves from the pack in the wrong direction. Cesena, Brescia, and Lecce are teams 17-19 in Italy right now. All of them have 12 points, four behind Bologna, which has a game in hand against Chievo on Wednesday. If Bologna gets a result, those three clubs, along with last-placed Bari, which has 10 points, will be even further adrift, left fighting amongst themselves for the last spot in the safety zone.
Lazio 3, Inter Milan 1
Chievo 2, AS Roma 2
AC Milan 3, Brescia 0
Firoentina 1, Cagliari 0
Lecce 1, Genoa 3
Parma 2, Udinese 1
Sampdoria 3, Bari 0
Cesena 0, Bologna 2
Catania 1, Juventus 3
Monday: Napoli v. Palermo
Just when Bayern Munich looked like it might have finally begun to turn its season around, the club found a way to lose against 16th-placed Schalke 04 on Saturday. Despite outshooting its opponents 17-12, and out-possessing them 67 percent to 33 percent, Louis Van Gaal's side couldn't find the back of the net in a 2-0 defeat. Winning the Bundesliga seems increasingly unlikely for the Bavarian club, which sits 17 points behind red-hot leaders Borussia Dortmund. Bayern is only 6 points behind Bayer Leverkusen for the Bundesliga's final Champions League spot, however, so a place in Europe is not out of the question, as long as the club improves on its current form.
St. Pauli 1, Kaiserslautern 0
Eintracht Frankfurt 2, Mainz 05 1
SC Freiburg 1, Hamburg 0
VfB Stuttgart 1, Hoffenheim 1
VfL Wolfsburg 0, Werder Bremen 0
Borussia Moenchengladbach 1, Hannover 96 2
Schalke 04 2, Bayern Munich 0
Bayer Leverkusen 3, FC Cologne 2
Nurnberg 0, Borussia Dortmund 2
Last week, Marseille looked poised to re-assert their dominance over Ligue 1. The club was ahead of Lille on goal differential at the top of the table with a game in hand. A win mid-week could have given it sole possession of first place and a clear path toward maintaining its lead. Instead, Marseille managed only a scoreless draw with Stade Rennes on Wednesday, and then lost 1-0 to Nice on Sunday, sending the French table back into chaos once again. Rising to the top this time is Lille, which defeated Lorient 6-3 on Sunday. Behind them are Paris St. Germain and Stade Rennes on 27 points, while Marseille has fallen to fourth with 26. The entire top half of the French table, from first-placed Lille to 10th-placed Montpellier, is separated by only 4 points.
Lens 1, AJ Auxerre 1
Sochaux 2, Valenciennes 1
Rennes 1, AS Monaco 0
Toulouse 1, Caen 0
Lille 6, Lorient 3
Arles 1, AS Nancy Lorraine 1
Montpellier 1, Lyon 2
Paris St. Germain 3, Brest 1
Nice 1, Marseille 0
St. Etienne 2, Bordeaux 2
What did you think of the weekend results? Concerned for relegation-threatened Americans? Surprised by Chelsea's prolonged funk? Considering paying closer attention to the craziness that is Ligue 1 this season? Share your thoughts below