By IAN HOLLIDAY
The Premier League's two Manchester giants continued to match each other result for result this weekend. Each club posted a win on Saturday, but each one took a different route to its victory.
Returning to league play after its surprising UEFA Champions League draw midweek against FC Basel of Switzerland, Manchester United looked less-than-impressive in grinding out a 2-0 win over Norwich City. The win was the Red Devils' record 19th in a row at Old Trafford, but it was aided by a Norwich side that created, and then sqandered, several scoring chances.
Manchester City's champions league performance was decidedly worse than United's, especially given the ongoing Carlos Tevez drama that sprung from it, but the club recovered nicely, dominating Blackburn 4-0. City was the better side even in the scoreless first half, and once Adam Johnson opened the scoring with a beautifully placed shot in the 56th minute, the floodgates opened for the visitors.
Inter Milan's results this week were the opposite of the Manchester clubs'. The Nerazurri followed their 3-2 champions league win over CSKA Moscow with a 3-0 home loss to Napoli that ended the brief two-game winning streak they had enjoyed since Claudio Ranieri took over.
This weekend also featured several rivalries and marquee matchups, including Juventus' 2-0 win over AC Milan that saw Claudio Marchisio score both goals in the last four minutes plus stoppage time. In France, Paris St. Germain defeated Lyon by the same scoreline on second-half goals from Javier Pastore and Christophe Jallet.
Elsewhere, Liverpool won the Merseyside derby 2-0 over Everton and Tottenham got a powerful 73rd minute winner from Kyle Walker to defeat Arsenal 2-1 in the North London derby.
Here's a rundown of all the weekend scores from Europe's top leagues:
In addition to the business-as-usual results from the Manchester clubs and the two marquee derbies, the Premier League featured a pair of blowouts this weekend, including Fulham's 6-0 thrashing of QPR at Craven Cottage. American Clint Dempsey scored the fifth goal of the match and set up the sixth, but his performance was outshined by that of teammate Andrew Johnson, who netted a hat-trick for the home side. Chelsea also demolished its opponent on Sunday, scoring four goals in the first 27 minute en route to a 5-1 romp. Frank Lampard had a hat-trick and Daniel Sturridge scored a brace for the Blues.
Bolton 1, Chelsea 5
Fulham 6, Queens Park Rangers 0
Swansea City 2, Stoke City 0
Tottenham 2, Arsenal 1
Everton 0, Liverpool 2
Aston Villa 2, Wigan Athletic 0
Blackburn 0, Manchester City 4
Manchester United 2, Norwich City 0
Sunderland 2, West Bromwich Albion 2
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1, Newcastle United 2
When Adriano opened the scoring for FC Barcelona in the 12th minute of the club's match at last-placed Sporting Gijon Sunday, it looked like the game might quickly turn into another Barca clinic. But while the Catalan club never looked unlikely to win, it was also unable to pad its lead. The 1-0 victory moves Barca to the top of the La Liga table, but it also provides some evidence that the club is far from invincible away from Camp Nou. Through six matches this season – three at home and three away – Barca is a perfect 3-0-0 at home, having scored 18 goals without allowing one. Away matches are a different story, however. Barca is 1-0-2 (W-L-T) away from home so far this season, having allowed four goals and scored just five. The two results before Sunday's were 2-2 draws at Valencia and Real Sociedad.
Real Sociedad 1, Athletic Bilbao 2
Real Betis 0, Levante 1
Atletico Madrid 0, Sevilla FC 0
Sporting Gijon 0, Barcelona 1
Espanyol 0, Real Madrid 4
Osasuna 2, Mallorca 2
Racing Santander 1, Rayo Vallecano 1
Villarreal 2, Real Zaragoza 2
Valencia 1, Granada 0
Malaga 3, Getafe 2
Serie A hasn't had a champion from a city other than Milan since before the Calciopoli scandal of 2006. While it's far too early to rule out Inter or AC Milan this year, both Juventus and Napoli stated their cases for the title with victories over the Milan clubs this weekend. Through five rounds of Serie A, Juve tops the table along with Udinese, both of which have 11 points. Udinese defeated Bologna 2-0 on Sunday. Napoli, which turned in a dominant performance against Inter and has looked good in champions league play, sits third on 10 points.
Novara 3, Catania 3
Cesena 0, Chievo Verona 0
Fiorentina 1, Lazio 2
Lecce 0, Cagliari 2
Palermo 2, Siena 0
Parma 3, Genoa 1
Udinese 2, Bologna 0
Juventus 2, AC Milan 0
AS Roma 3, Atalanta 1
Inter Milan 0, Napoli 3
Bayern Munich still hasn't allowed a goal since it's opening match of the Bundesliga season, a 1-0 loss to Borussia Moenchengladbach. That's the good news. The bad news for the Bavarian club is that it couldn't find the back of the net either on Saturday, settling for a scoreless draw at Hoffenheim. The result ended up being good enough to extend Bayern's lead in the German table, however, as second-placed Werder Bremen fell 3-2 at Steve Cherundolo's Hannover 96.
Hannover 96 3, Werder Bremen 2
Hamburg 1, Schalke 04 2
Bayer Leverkusen 3, VfL Wolfsburg 1
Borussia Dortmund 4, FC Augsburg 0
Nurnberg 3, Mainz 3
SC Freiburg 1, Borussia Moenchengladbach 0
Hoffenheim 0, Bayern Munich 0
Hertha Berlin 3, FC Cologne 0
Kaiserslautern 0, VfB Stuttgart 2
Paris St. Germain's 2-0 win over Lyon vaults the club into sole possesion of the top spot in the Ligue 1 table with 20 points, three better than Lyon, Montpellier and Toulouse and four better than last year's champions Lille. Given the chaotic and haphazard way the French table has sorted itself out in recent years, it's hard to say PSG is likely to stay in that position for long, but the victory over sure-to-be title challenger Lyon definitely gives the club an advantage on its quest for a first league title since 1994.
Lille 2, Stade Rennes 0
Marseille 1, Brest 1
Paris St. Germain 2, Lyon 0
AS Nancy Lorraine 1, Evian Thonon Gaillard 1
Caen 1, Nice 1
Dijon FCO 1, AC Ajaccio 1
Lorient 2, Valenciennes 0
Sochaux 3, Toulouse 0
St. Etienne 1, AJ Auxerre 1
Bordeaux 2, Montpellier 2
What did you think of this week's results? Which challenger's win was most impressive? Napoli? Man City? PSG? Juventus? How much longer do you think Bayern can keep up its clean sheet streak?