Fireworks in London and Italy's Miracle Team: Key Events of the European Weekend
The football weekend in Europe turned out to be eventful. Tottenham suffered two consecutive defeats, slipping out of the top three. At the same time, Chelsea and Manchester City engaged in a thrilling shootout. In Spain, Girona continues to impress, while in Italy, Inter and Juventus are widening the gap.
After an unbeaten streak of 10 matches, Tottenham lost two in a row, first to Chelsea and then to Wolverhampton. In the latter case, they conceded both goals in extra time. The hosts played more actively and sharply, deserving their success. Pablo Sarabia emerged as the hero, equalizing and assisting in achieving the winning goal. Both goals were identical: a cross from the flank to the center and a precise shot, one through the left brow, the other through the right. Newcastle also left empty-handed, struggling as a top club. They have a poor away record, with three consecutive winless matches. In the recent round, the northernmost club in the English league lost to Bournemouth, who climbed out of the relegation zone. The favorite's weak performance surprised many, conceding goals with expected goals (xG) of 0.31 to 2.78.
Real Madrid Chasing the Leader
The Spanish league continues to surprise with an unexpected leader. Girona is at the top, two points ahead of Real Madrid. The Catalan club won their fifth consecutive match, this time against Rayo Vallecano with a score of 2-1. Although not impressive at first glance, looking at the expected goals (xG) ratio of 4.27 to 1.68 provides a different perspective.
However, Real Madrid is keeping the bold from running away. Vinicius was initially considered the central star, but Jude Bellingham has taken that position now. Vinicius was expected to respond, and he did, with the help of his compatriot Rodrigo.
Madrid triumphed over Valencia 5-1, thanks mainly to Rodrigo's four goals. He assisted his compatriot twice before scoring two goals himself. Interestingly, he had only one goal and one assist in 12 La Liga games before this.
Some Lose, Some Find
Milan and Napoli had unsuccessful matches in the recent Serie A round. Milan, playing against Lecce, scored twice in the first half but failed to secure a victory, ending in a 2-2 draw. Moreover, Milan narrowly escaped defeat: Nicola Sansone almost scored a brace, hitting the crossbar. In the last seconds of added time, Roberto Piccoli's goal was disallowed because he accidentally stepped on a Milan player's foot. Milan injured Rafael Leao and Davide Calabria, bringing their total to 16 players with muscle injuries.
On the other hand, Napoli missed the chance to break into the top three. They conceded the only goal from a sharp angle in added time.
Juventus reclaimed the top spot in the Serie A standings. Defenders Bremer and Daniele Rugani scored three points against Cagliari from set pieces. The outcome of the Inter–Frosinone match, which concluded after the article was written, will determine whether Juventus retains its Serie A leadership.
Bayer Continues to Win
Harry Kane is simply unstoppable in Bayer's form. He scored another two goals against Heidenheim, bringing his total to 17 in the Bundesliga after 11 games. This surpasses the total goals scored by last season's top scorers, Christopher Nkunku and Niklas Füllkrug.
However, the modest opponent managed to equalize. Bayer's victory was secured by substitute players. Thomas Tuchel knows how to influence his team's game.
Indeed, Bayer also won in the last round, defeating Union Berlin. Thanks to this, they maintained their position at the top of the standings with 12 consecutive victories in all competitions.
The central match of the round was the clash between Stuttgart and Borussia Dortmund, who occupied third and fourth place, respectively. The Swabians failed to convert a penalty in the first half and conceded first. Still, overall, they looked much more interesting than the Bees (in terms of expected goals, xG, they surpassed their opponent - 4.17 versus 0.76), so they deservedly took three points with a 2-1 win.
PSG Returns to the Top
The reigning French champions only managed to take the lead in the 12th round. Kylian Mbappe scored a hat-trick in the match against Reims. Previous league leaders Nice drew with Montpellier and lost their top spot in Ligue 1.
Shootout in London
The match between Chelsea and Manchester City was central in the Premier League and the entire European weekend. The Pensioners had just dealt with Tottenham, so they were expected to at least try to resist the citizens. But in reality, everything was much crazier and more enjoyable. In the first half, the teams scored two goals each, and at the beginning of the second, the visitors took the lead thanks to Erling Haaland's brace.
By the way, both goals by the Norwegian were controversial. In the first case, Jeremy Doku clearly fouled Moises Kaisedo, which preceded the goal, and the Norwegian fell somewhat dramatically – not as strongly as Mark Cucurella caught him. In the second, Joško Gvardiol clearly pushed the London player, to which neither the referee nor VAR reacted.
On the other hand, without these incidents, there would be no fantastic emotions for Manchester City fans after what seemed to be a winning goal by Rodri with a ricochet off Silva's leg, nor the similar excitement of the Stamford Bridge stands after Cole Palmer, who switched from the opponent's camp last summer, calmly converted a penalty in the 95th minute – 4-4.
The Rome derby, although it ended without goals, was not dull. The referee hesitated to award a controversial penalty in the second minute after Roma's Chiro Immobile fell in the box. And in the middle of the half, one of Lazio's leaders, Luis Alberto, struck the crossbar from outside the box. Both teams should have capitalized on chances before the break. After that, there were very few dangerous moments, so, unsurprisingly, it ended with zeros on the scoreboard.
Published by Patrick Jane