By JUSTIN FERGUSON
As the dust settles from another busy weekend in Europe’s top leagues, one team stands alone with the continent’s final perfect record.
AS Roma improved to 8-0-0 and opened up a five-point Serie A lead on second-place Napoli, who they defeated 2-0 Friday at the Stadio Olimpico. Midfielder Miralem Pjanic was the star for the capital club, scoring both of Roma’s goals in their seventh shutout of the season.
The other two European teams with perfect records, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, dropped points for the first time all season this weekend. Barcelona were close to tying a record for consecutive victories to start a La Liga campaign, but the defending champions were stonewalled by a well-organized Osasuna defense for the scoreless draw. Despite controlling 76 percent of the match’s possession, Barcelona only put three shots on Andres Fernandez’s goal in the shocking stalemate.
But Atletico, who were behind Barcelona on goal differential heading into Saturday, failed to take advantage and lost 1-0 to the league leaders’ city rivals, Espanyol. Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois gave Espanyol the lone goal in the 54th minute, when a deep cross bounced off his arm and into the back of his own net. Atletico failed to generate a single shot on goal, misfiring six times en route to a disappointing road loss.
Here is a closer look at all the weekend’s action from the top leagues in Europe:
After second-place Liverpool were held to a 2-2 draw at Newcastle United, Arsenal took a two-point lead atop the English Premier League table with a 4-1 against Norwich City. New Arsenal star Mesut Ozil scored twice in the second half for the Gunners, including an extremely rare headed goal from the German midfielder. Jonathan Howson’s 70th-minute goal made some at the Emirates Stadium a little uneasy about a victory, but Aaron Ramsey and Ozil combined to put the match out of reach for the struggling Canaries.
Manchester United’s woes continued Saturday after giving up a late equalizer to Southampton at Old Trafford. Robin van Persie’s first-half rebound looked like it would give the defending champions their second straight win, but Adam Lallana crashed the Red Devils’ party with a tap-in during mass chaos in front of David De Gea’s goal. The 1-1 draw puts Man United in eighth place and a staggering eight points behind league-leading Arsenal.
Here are the results from this weekend’s English Premier League action:
Newcastle United 2, Liverpool 2
Arsenal 4, Norwich City 1
Chelsea 4, Cardiff City 1
Everton 2, Hull City 1
Manchester United 1, Southampton 1
Stoke City 0, West Bromwich Albion 0
Swansea City 4, Sunderland 0
Manchester City 3, West Ham United 1
Tottenham Hotspur 2, Aston Villa 0
Third-place Real Madrid made up ground in the La Liga race Saturday with a 2-0 home win against Malaga. Real controlled most of the match after Angel di Maria’s opener early in the second half, but it was not until Cristiano Ronaldo’s stoppage-time penalty kick — which was won by new world-record winger Gareth Bale — when Los Blancos felt they could breathe easily. Their second straight league win puts Real just two points back from city rivals Atletico and three points back from traditional rivals Barcelona.
Thanks to a club record-tying fourth straight victory, Getafe sit in fifth place in La Liga after this weekend’s action. An early red card for Granada’s Pape Diakhate gave Getafe what they needed to grab a 2-0 road victory Sunday. After Murillo’s own goal right before the halftime whistle, Pedro Leon finished the job in the 55th minute with a one-time finish.
Here are the results from this weekend’s La Liga action:
Real Madrid 2, Malaga 0
Real Sociedad 2, Valencia 1
Osasuna 0, Barcelona 0
Espanyol 1, Atletico Madrid 0
Getafe 2, Granada 0
Rayo Vallecano 1, Almeria 0
Elche 2, Real Betis 1
Real Valladolid 2, Sevilla 2
First-place Bayern Munich kept control of the Bundesliga lead with a 4-1 home victory against Mainz. The visitors scored just before halftime to take a shock lead, but Bayern responded with four consecutive goals in 32 minutes. Thomas Muller gave Pep Guardiola’s side the lead shortly after Arjen Robben’s equalizer, and the German midfielder added another goal from the penalty spot to wrap up the three-goal victory for the defending champions.
Bayern’s main rivals, second-place Borussia Dortmund, had a tougher time maintaining their position during their Saturday home match. Marco Reus’s fourth-minute penalty held up throughout the rest of the match, and Dortmund celebrated a 1-0 victory against struggling Hannover 96. After Dortmund failed to capitalize on their early chances, Hannover came dangerously close to an equalizer in the second half — but the home defense held up for the narrow win.
Here are the results from this weekend’s Bundesliga action:
Bayer Leverkusen 2, Hoffenheim 1
Bayern Munich 4, Mainz 1
Borussia Dortmund 1, Hannover 0
Eintracht Frankfurt 1, Nurnberg 1
Schalke 3, Eintracht Braunschweig 2
Werder Bremen 0, Freiburg 0
Hertha Berlin 1, Borussia Monchengladbach 0
Hamburg 3, Stuttgart 3
Wolfsburg 2, Augsburg 1
Not only are AS Roma the last perfect team in Europe — they are also the last undefeated team in Serie A after a wild Sunday result featuring defending champions Juventus. Third-place Juve were on their way to second place with a 2-0 lead on Fiorentina, but Giuseppe Rossi changed everything for the hosts. The forward recorded a hat trick in the span of 15 minutes, and teammate Joaquin added another goal to give Fiorentina a stunning 4-2 victory and Juventus their first loss of the season.
Inter Milan almost gave their new owners a debut victory Sunday, but Torino’s Nicola Bellomo curled a 90th-minute into the top corner to snatch a 3-3 draw for the hosts. Torino watched their 2-1 lead evaporate in the second half off a Rodrigo Palacio brace for Inter Milan, who went down a man in the fifth minute due to a red card foul on goalkeeper Samir Handanovic. Although Inter unbelievably fought back to take the lead, Torino pounced on the man advantage with a last-minute equalizer.
Here are the results from this weekend’s Serie A action:
AS Roma 2, Napoli 0
Cagliari 2, Catania 1
AC Milan 1, Udinese 0
Atalanta 2, Lazio 1
Fiorentina 4, Juventus 2
Genoa 2, Chievo Verona 1
Sassuolo 2, Bologna 1
Torino 3, Inter Milan 3
Paris Saint-Germain took control of the Ligue 1 lead this weekend following their 4-0 home victory against Bastia. Zlatan Ibrahimovic netted two early goals in the span of three minutes, and Edinson Cavani sealed the rout with a brace of his own in the second half. Saturday’s victory was the fourth straight for PSG, who entered the weekend trailing AS Monaco by two in goal differential.
But goal differential did not matter by the end of the weekend as Sochaux rallied to earn a 2-2 draw with Monaco. Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco scored in the fifth and 10th minutes to give Monaco an early lead, but last-place Sochaux pulled one back in the 56th minute through Cedric Bakambu. Joseph Romeric Lopy scored an equalizer 13 minutes later, and Monaco failed to generate any real chances at getting the lead back on the road.
Here are the results from this weekend’s Ligue 1 action:
Nice 1, Marseille 0
Toulouse 2, Stade de Reims 1
Paris Saint-Germain 4, Bastia 0
Nantes 1, Ajaccio 0
Guingamp 2, Evian Thonon Gaillard 1
Lille 1, Montpellier 0
Stade Rennes 2, Valenciennes 2
Sochaux 2, AS Monaco 2
Saint Etienne 3, Lorient 2
Lyon 1, Bordeaux 1
What do you think of this weekend’s European league action? How long do you think Roma can maintain their perfect record? Surprised Barcelona and Atletico Madrid dropped points this weekend? Impressed with Rossi and Fiorentina’s comeback victory against the defending champions?
Share your thoughts below.
Will Rossi force his way back into the Italy side? There’s no one in Europe in better form, right now.
Nothing about the decisive goal for Leverkusen, which found it’s way into the back of the net, going through the side netting, instead of the usual way…between the two pipes?
Bradley’s ankle injury was horribly timed. It’s gonna be tough to force his way back in to a Roma starting XI that is absolutely rolling right now.