Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By JUSTIN FERGUSON
After a mixed bag of results to start their respective tenures in Manchester, managers David Moyes and Manuel Pellegrini entered Sunday’s derby match looking for a statement win.
When the final whistle sounded at the Ethiad Stadium on Sunday, Manchester City made a statement loud and clear to their bitter in-city rivals and the rest of the English Premier League.
Man City’s dominant 4-1 victory over United was their biggest home Manchester Derby win since 2004. Sergio Aguero, who netted the winning goal in the Citizens’ 2-1 victory at Old Trafford in April, scored twice as an underwhelming Man United attack could only get a late free-kick goal from an in-form Wayne Rooney.
Man United were without star striker Robin van Persie, and their hosts took advantage of his absence by dominating most of the first half. Aguero’s 16th-minute volley signaled the beginning of a long day for the Red Devils, who struggled mightily in defense. Yaya Toure added a goal shortly before the halftime break, while Aguero and Samir Nasri netted two quick goals in the opening five minutes of the second half to secure the dominant victory.
Meanwhile, in Italy, another club enjoyed a shutout win over their hated neighbors. AS Roma kept their perfect start in Serie A going on Sunday with a 2-0 win over rivals Lazio. Roma entered the match winless in five consecutive Derby della Capitale matches, including a heartbreaking 1-0 loss in last season’s Coppa Italia final.
After a largely uneventful first half, Roma broke the deadlock with Federico Balzaretti’s volley off a Francesco Totti cross. Lazio pushed for an equalizer, but an 81st-minute red card paved the way for a stoppage-time penalty conversion from Adem Ljajic. The 22-year-old Serbian’s late goal sealed the emotional three points for Roma, who are now at the top of the table with four straight wins and a +9 goal differential.
Here is a closer look at all the weekend’s action from the top leagues in Europe:
It took just two domestic matches for new Arsenal midfielder Mesut Özil to become the English Premier League leader in assists. The German’s world-class playmaking ability was on full display Saturday in the Gunners’ 3-1 home victory against Stoke City. Özil recorded two assists and played a vital role in Arsenal’s first goal, an Aaron Ramsey rebound off the star midfielder’s free kick. Arsenal, who now sit at first place in the league table, have now won seven straight matches across all competitions.
Former league leaders Liverpool lost their first match of the season Saturday, a 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Southampton. After getting away with what appeared to be a penalty on Daniel Sturridge in the first half, new Saints center back Dejan Lovren headed home the match-winning goal in the 53rd minute. Saturday’s loss at St. Mary’s Stadium was the final match striker Luis Suarez had to sit out in his lengthy ban for Liverpool, whose last loss in a EPL match came against Southampton back in March.
Here are the results from this weekend’s English Premier League action:
Aston Villa 1, Norwich City 0
Southampton 1, Liverpool 0
Hull City 3, Newcastle United 2
West Bromwich Albion 3, Sunderland 0
Everton 3, West Ham United 2
Chelsea 2, Fulham 0
Arsenal 3, Stoke City 1
Swansea City 2, Crystal Palace 0
Tottenham Hotspur 1, Cardiff City 0
Manchester City 4, Manchester United 1
Something peculiar happened during Barcelona’s 4-0 win against lowly Rayo Vallecano on Saturday—the defending La Liga champions only had 45 percent of possession in the match. Barca still cruised to victory on the back of Pedro’s hat trick, but Saturday’s win marked the first time they were out-possessed in 318 competitive matches. Although they sit second-to-last in the league table, Rayo came out with an aggressive approach against Barcelona, coming dangerously close to an early lead several times.
Real Madrid fans at the Bernabeu will have to wait a little while longer before they see world-record signing Gareth Bale make his home debut. The Welsh winger injured his leg while warming up for Los Blancos’ match against Getafe, which finished 4-1 in favor of the hosts. Cristiano Ronaldo followed up his midweek hat trick with a brace and assist for Real Madrid, who took sole control of third place behind still-perfect rivals Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.
Here are the results from this weekend’s La Liga action:
Real Sociedad 0, Malaga 0
Almeria 2, Levante 2
Barcelona 4, Rayo Vallecano 0
Atletico Madrid 2, Real Valladolid 0
Real Betis 0, Granada 0
Celta Vigo 0, Villarreal 0
Real Madrid 4, Getafe 1
Valencia 3, Sevilla 1
League-leading Borussia Dortmund dropped points for the first time this season in a disappointing 1-1 road draw with Nurnberg. Marcel Schmelzer gave Dortmund a first-half lead off a beautiful free kick, but Nurnberg defender Per Nilsson drilled a shot off Roman Weidenfeller’s face for the equalizer early in the second half. Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp sent star Robert Lewandowski on to snatch a winner midway through the second period only to see the Polish striker’s best chance of the match go right into goalkeeper Rapahel Schafer’s grateful grasp.
The draw opened the door for Bayern Munich, who drew with Freiburg late last month, to move back to the top of the Bundesliga with a victory. The defending champions took full advantage of that opportunity in a commanding 4-0 road victory over Schalke 04. Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mario Manduzic combined for a quickfire double midway through the first half, and Franck Ribery and Claudio Pizarro slammed the door with goals of their own after the halftime break.
Here are the results from this weekend’s Bundesliga action:
Borussia Monchengladbach 4, Eintracht Braunschweig 1
Werder Bremen 2, Hamburg 0
Hannover 2, Augsburg 1
Bayer Leverkusen 4, Mainz 1
Nurnberg 1, Borussia Dortmund 1
Wolfsburg 2, Hoffenheim 1
Bayern Munich 4, Schalke 0
Freiburg 1, Hertha Berlin 1
Stuttgart 1, Eintracht Frankfurt 1
Second-place Napoli took advantage of a Mario Balotelli penalty miss to defeat AC Milan 2-1 on Sunday, the club’s first road win against the Rossoneri in over 27 years. Miguel Britos and Gonzalo Higuain put the visitors on top with goals in the first hour of play, but goalkeeper Pepe Reina’s save of a 63rd-minute Balotelli penalty—the Italian striker’s first career miss from the spot—stole the headlines from San Siro. Balotelli started a new penalty streak by converting one in stoppage time before seeing red after the final whistle for dissent.
Inter Milan cruised to third place in Serie A with a 7-0 thumping of newly promoted Sassulo on Sunday. Five different Inter players got on the score sheet in the storied club’s first visit to the Stadio Citta del Tricolore, with substitute Diego Milito recording the match’s only brace. New Inter manager Walter Mazzarri has Inter undefeated through the first five matches of the season and sporting a +12 goal differential.
Here are the results from this weekend’s Serie A action:
Cagliari 2, Sampdoria 2
Chievo Verona 2, Udinese 1
Genoa 0, Livorno 0
Inter Milan 7, Sassuolo 0
AS Roma 2, Lazio 0
Fiorentina 2, Atalanta 0
Torino 2, Bologna 1
Catania 0, Parma 0
Juventus 2, Hellas Verona 1
Napoli 2, AC Milan 1
The much-anticipated first showdown between big spenders Paris Saint-Germain and AS Monaco ended all square as star strikers Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Radamel Falcao canceled each other out in the opening 20 minutes. Ibrahimovic had a multitude of chances to put the hosts back in front in the second half, but only one of his other seven shots made its way to Monaco goalkeeper Danijel Subasic. The 1-1 draw keeps both PSG and Monaco undefeated and at the No. 1 and 2 spots in the Ligue 1 table.
PSG and Monaco’s draw Sunday could have opened the door for a new league leader, but third-place Saint Etienne opened the French weekend with a 2-1 loss at struggling Toulouse. Romain Hamouma put Etienne ahead in the 18th minute of the match, but the hosts were intent on grabbing their first win of the season. Martin Braithwaite and Issiaga Sylla made their visitors pay for their missed chances midway through the second half, netting two goals to give Toulouse an important home victory.
Here are the results from this weekend’s Ligue 1 action:
Toulouse 2, Saint Etienne 1
Bastia 0, Marseille 0
Evian Thonon Gaillard 2, Montpellier 2
Lille 2, Sochaux 0
Stade de Reims 1, Guingamp 1
Stade Rennes 2, Ajaccio 0
Lorient 3, Bordeaux 3
Lyon 3, Nantes 1
Nice 4, Valenciennes 0
Paris Saint-Germain 1, AS Monaco 1
What do you think of this weekend’s European league action? Surprised Manchester City were able to dominate their local rivals? How long do you think Roma can keep their perfect start going? Which other performances caught your eye this weekend?
Share your thoughts below.