European Weekend Rewind: Man. United keeps rolling, Madrid survives and more

BerbatovRooney (Getty Images)

By IAN HOLLIDAY

Though the club at times has looked far from invinvible this year, the fact remains that Manchester United has gone undefeated through its first 22 Premier League matches. Perhaps the biggest factor in the Red Devils' success so far has been the form of Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berbatov, who added three more goals to his league-leading total of 18 in the club's 5-0 thrashing of Birmingham City on Saturday.

Elsewhere, AC Milan held onto its four point lead in Serie A with an easy 2-0 win over Cesena and French striker Karim Benzema took a step toward silencing his critics by netting the only goal in Real Madrid's 1-0 victory over Mallorca on Sunday.

Benzema's club is still four points behind La Liga leaders Barcelona — which cruised to another 3-0 win Saturday, this time over Racing Santander — but the Frenchman's goal kept Real from falling any further out of the title race.

In Germany, leaders Borussia Dortmund dropped two points at home by drawing 1-1 with struggling Stuttgart. The club still holds an 11-point lead over its nearest competition Bayer Leverkusen.

Here is a rundown of all the weekend scores from Europe's top leagues, and a brief roundup of the weekend's Coupe de France action:

ENGLAND

Manchester City didn't fare nearly as well as its derby rival United this weekend. The Citizens were shutout 1-0 by Brad Friedel and Aston Villa, falling to three points off United's pace and having played 2 more games than the Red Devils. City has now fallen to third place in the Premier League, behind both United and Arsenal, which moved into second on the strength of three Robin Van Persie goals against Wigan. Further down the table, Americans Clint Dempsey and Jonathan Spector both helped their clubs' causes with goals this weekend. Dempsey scored both goals in Fulham's 2-0 win over Stoke City, while Spector opened the scoring in West Ham's 2-2 draw with Tim Howard's Everton. Fulham's three points pulled the club up to 14th place, four points clear of the relegation zone.

Blackburn 2, West Bromwich Albion 0

Wolverhampton Wanderers 0, Liverpool 3

Arsenal 3, Wigan Athletic 0

Blackpool 1, Sunderland 2

Everton 2, West Ham United 2

Fulham 2, Stoke City 0

Manchester United 5, Birmingham City 0

Newcastle United 1, Tottenham 1

Aston Villa 1, Manchester City 0

Monday: Bolton v. Chelsea

SPAIN

New Jersey-born Italian striker Giuseppe Rossi added to his best-of-the-rest scoring total in La Liga this weekend, netting both of Villarreal's goals in the club's 2-1 win over Real Sociedad. Rossi now has 11 goals, tied with Fernando Llorente for the most by a player who doesn't play for Barca or Real Madrid. Of course, Barca has three players above the 11-goal threshold: Lionel Messi, David Villa, and Pedro, and Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo leads the pack with double Rossi's total. Still, the Italian is on pace for the best statistical year of his career, and is a big reason why the Yellow Submarine is holding onto third place in Spain.

Almeria 3, Osasuna 2

Getafe 1, Espanyol 3

Real Zaragoza 1, Deportivo La Coruna 0

Sporting Gijon 1, Atletico Madrid 0

Real Madrid 1, Mallorca 0

Villarreal 2, Real Sociedad 1

Sevilla 4, Levante 1

Barcelona 3, Racing Santander 0

Valencia 4, Malaga 3

Monday: Athletic Bilbao v. Hercules

ITALY

Inter Milan has had a nightmare season so far, and it didn't help its chances of a return to the Champions League with a 3-1 loss to Udinese on Sunday, but the club is no longer as far out of the running as it once was, thanks in part to the poor form of some of its closest rivals in the Serie A table. While Inter was falling to Udinese this weekend, Juventus was drawing 0-0 with Sampdoria, and former leaders Lazio were losing to Bologna by the same 3-1 scoreline. The Milan club's 35 points is currently good enough for fifth place, ahead of Juve on goal differential. Both clubs are only two points behind Lazio for Italy's fourth and final Champions League spot.

Udinese 3, Inter Milan 1

Bari 0, Napoli 2

Bologna 3, Lazio 1

Chievo 0, Genoa 0

Fiorentina 1, Lecce 1

Sampdoria 0, Juventus 0

AC Milan 2, Cesena 0

Palermo 1, Brescia 0

Parma 2, Catania 0

AS Roma 3, Cagliari 0

GERMANY

Don't look now, but Bayern Munich is inching its way toward Champions League qualification. Much like fellow 2010 Champions League finalists Inter, Bayern began the season slowly, but has fought its way back into relevancy in recent weeks. The Bavarian club got a hat-trick from Mario Gomez on Saturday en route to a 5-1 demolition of Kaiserslautern. The result, combined with 1-0 losses by Mainz and Hannover, raised Bayern to fourth in the Bundesliga table, just one point behind Hannover for Germany's last Champions League slot.

Borussia Moenchengladbach 1, Bayer Leverkusen 3

TSG Hoffenheim 2, St. Pauli 2

Bayern Munich 5, Kaiserslautern 1

Borussia Dortmund 1, VfB Stuttgart 1

Hannover 96 0, Schalke 04 1

Mainz 0, VfL Wolfsburg 1

SC Freiburg 1, Nurnberg 1

FC Cologne 3, Werder Bremen 0

Hamburg 1, Eintracht Frankfurt 0

FRANCE

There were no Ligue 1 matches this weekend, but several French top-flight clubs were in action – and fighting for life – in the Coupe de France round of 32. Holders Paris St. Germain narrowly avoided falling to fifth-tier Agen, winning 3-2. Bordeaux weren't so lucky against Ligue 2 side Angers, losing 1-0. The biggest upset of the weekend, however, was Brest's shocking loss on penalties to fifth division club Chambery. The match was scoreless until Brest took the lead in the 90th minute, but the hosts drew level in stoppage time and held on for penalties, which ended 4-3 in favor of the lower division club. Chambery will now host Sochaux in the round of 16, having already ousted two Ligue 1 sides (Brest and AS Monaco) in this year's competition.

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What did you think of this week's results? Impressed by Berbatov's run of form? Pulling for Inter or Bayern to make the UCL? Rooting for Chambery to go all the way in the Coupe de France? Share your thoughts below:

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12 Responses to European Weekend Rewind: Man. United keeps rolling, Madrid survives and more

  1. Thorpinski says:

    Ives what’s the 411 on Bradley ? Staying or moving?

  2. Lorenzo says:

    Can you please add Messi, and Marios Gomez ethnic decent to remind us that they could play for other countries? and what states Friedel, Dempsey, and Spector are born? More importantly we need the “Germany-born” Jermaine Jones right? The “canadian-born” Teal Bunbury. The “Columbian-born” juan Agudelo?

    Just trying to keep them up with the way you guys always write about Rossi. Thanks!

  3. Kyle says:

    Does anyone know if the Bolton game is being televised today? I thought ESPN picked up all of the Monday games, but I don’t see it on my guide.

    Thanks guys.

  4. jonk says:

    I’m not one to hate on Rossi, but I actually found it refreshing to see him described as an Italian rather than American. It’s less of a slap in the face, or at least it’s less of a reminder of what could have been. Would you have been just as snarky if the article had included a line about Fulham that said “Texas born Norwegian, Brede Hangeland…”?

  5. MemRook says:

    My comcast has it on ESPNDeportes, and nothing else. hope that helps :)

  6. Lorenzo says:

    I don’t care about Rossi. I am annoyed that it is a well-known situation, and Ives & Co. on one hand say “hey, it is what it is, the ongoing hate is unneccesary” and on the other hand continuosly point out that he is new-jersey born. Duh. Everyone and their mother knows where he was born, about 50x better then where any other player was born. Everyone knows what national team he plays for. It is redundant and does the opposite to calm the waters with fans and him to continuesly bring it up.

    and Hangeland? really? There situations are pretty far from each other, and if it was said I would assume it was done because it is a neat fact that is not well known, not an extremely redundant reminder of a controversial players choice.

    It is not a big deal but I find it annoying that the blog seems to downplay the drama on one hand, and then play right into it on the other. It’s not that i hate Rossi. It’s that the blog says he’s just another soccer player they report on so calm down, but then he is written about differently then all the rest.

    (SBI-He’s from Jersey, we point it out because that still matters to some people. If it doesn’t matter to you then let it go and move on. For something that Is “not a big deal” you sure seem hung up on it.)

  7. Lorenzo says:

    Besides, wasn’t the big story out of Spain that Atletico Madrid were beat by Sporting Gijon. Or that Madrid nearly drew with Mallorca, or Barcelona romped past Racing to continue their winning ways after the puzzling loss in their last game?

  8. Jack says:

    If you look at Rossi’s twitter account, he describes himself in basically the exact same way that Ives has done here–plays for Italy, but NJ is home. This is a soccer blog with an American viewpoint, and Rossi, regardless of what NT he plays for, has very close ties to the US. From that angle, to me it makes sense that it was noted that he’s from NJ. I don’t think that it was necessarily to hate on him or anything.

    Also, if you read anything about Stuart Holden–Scotland born, plays for the US–or even, less directly, someone like Eric Lichaj (I have yet to read an article that does not mention the fact that he was born in Chicago, but could have played for Poland), they tend to do the same thing. That’s just the way the confusing world of citizenship plays out in soccer. Place of birth, place of parents’ birth, and what passports you happen to hold all suddenly take on new importance.

  9. brad says:

    It’s on ESPN3.com as well. No ESPN2 due to Australian Open coverage.

  10. Nejad says:

    Or maybe you are just missing a subtle trace of pride.

  11. Dlewis says:

    Most likely staying until summer. Sunderland showed interest but now their attention has been turned to striker.

  12. ThaDeuce says:

    Nani has 7 goals and 11 assists. Berbatov has 2 assists. A selfish player that fits nicely into their system.