This weekend’s European derbies have answered most questions regarding the winners of the most important European leagues. As the final day draws nearer, the big battles will be fought for Champions League qualification and relegation avoidance. Here’s a recap of the biggest games in European football this weekend.
Recently England manager Gareth Southgate called for Dele Alli to step up his game if he is to be handed a place in the team’s squad for the World Cup. And the youngster quickly replied in the London derby between Chelsea and Tottenham. Spurs won 3-1, two goals courtesy of Alli. It makes one wonder how familiar mr. Southgate is with his own set of players. The result also looks set to put an end to Antonio Conte’s time at Stamford Bridge, with the Italian seemingly eager to move on with his career.
Elsewhere, Manchester United and Liverpool managed to land important victories that keep them in line for the runners-up position. Manchester City’s victory over Everton raised few eyebrows and Guardiola’s team are now 16 points ahead of their nearest rival. The only question remaining is how quickly they will officially be crowned champions.
Bayern Munich looked to be clear favorites against Borussia Dortmund. While a defeat for Dortmund could have been excused, a loss by a whopping 6-0 scoreline cannot. Julian Weigl who replaced Gonzalo Castro after only thirty minutes (that is how bad things got), says that the defeat seemed to be on the cards from the opening minute. “At no time did we have the feeling we could take something, so the result is fine. We had a maximum of one, maybe two chances.”
Bayern are seventeen points in front of the Bundesliga. Dortmund, on the other hand, have drifted away in third place. With a motivated RB Leipzig side trailing them, the team could even lose out on their current position if they are unable to regroup quickly. Certainly not the season fans would have expected.
Juventus have taken important step forward in their pursuit of a seventh consecutive Serie A trophy. The Old Lady won against familiar rivals AC Milan. It was an opportunity for former Juve defender Leonardo Bonucci to get one over his former team. The Italian international scored to bring his team level and his celebrations were greeted with a tornado of boos from his former fans. However, the Juventus’ experience showed in the last minutes of the game, with the team managing a 3-1 victory.
Elsewhere, what looked like an easy mission for Napoli against Sassuolo, nearly turned into a disaster for the Scudetto hopefuls. Napoli barely rescued a draw and the gap between them and leaders Juventus has grown to four points. With the two teams still set to play each other on April 22nd, the title race remains open.
Barcelona squandered two points against Sevilla, with Messi once more having to play the role of superhero, saving his teams from imminent defeat. With the Catalan 2-0 down to Sevilla, the Argentine, still recovering from injury, was brought on and helped inspire his side to a 2-2 draw.
Atletico won against Deportivo and are nine points behind Barca, in 2nd place. The team’s manager Diego Simeone says that as long as Messi is his side’s opponent there’s little hope of Atletico being able to catch up to the Camp Nou club. “Messi is the decisive factor. We want to keep improving our numbers from last season.”
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