By AYDIN REYHAN
After midweek Champions League action, the domestic leagues were at turn yet again for Europe’s biggest teams.
Real Madrid defeated Levante, 2-0, thanks to a first-half brace from Gareth Bale to perhaps finally silence his critics after some poor performances.
Manchester City was beaten, 1-0, on the road at Burnley thanks to a wonder strike from George Boyd inside 61 minutes as the ball fell in front of his feet just outside the 18 for him to drive low and into the bottom right corner. Man City created chances, but the stubbornness of the home side and the inability to really get cracking offensively undid their plan.
Bayern Munich continued its domination of the Bundesliga with a 4-0 thumping at Werder Bremen. Bayern’s switch to the 3-4-3 formations has enabled to to possess the ball in tighter spots and to patiently pass the ball until a clear opening is found.
Here is an overall look at the European action from this weekend in the top five leagues:
Aston Villa demolished Sunderland on the road with a four-goal first-half flurry thanks to a brace each from Gabriel Agbonlahor and Christian Benteke. Their 4-2-3-1 set-up tore apart the 4-4-2 of Sunderland. Despite underachieving through a majority of the season, Villa have now won their third straight game in all competitions, as coach Tim Sherwood has added a new belief into his players.
Manchester United destroyed Tottenham in a top-four race by a score of 3-0. Michael Carrick and Juan Mata were brought back into the starting line-up and their presence was felt both ways in the midfield. Wayne Rooney, Marouane Fellaini and Carrick found the back of the net on this occasion, with United now sitting in fourth with 56 points, just one behind Arsenal.
Arsenal themselves moved within a point of second-placed Manchester City with 57 points after overcoming West Ham United thanks to goals from Olivier Giroud, Aaron Ramsey and Mathieu Flamini in a 3-0 blanking. They played as a team on both ends of the ball to make a case for themselves before heading to Monaco to play in a Round of 16 UCL second-leg match, looking to bounce back from their 3-1 first-leg humbling at home.
Here is a round up of this weekend’s Premier League scorelines:
Crystal Palace 3-1 QPR
Arsenal 3-0 West Ham
Leicester City 0-0 Hull City
Sunderland 0-4 Aston Villa
West Brom 1-0 Stoke City
Burnley 1-0 Manchester City
Chelsea 1-1 Southampton
Everton 3-0 Newcastle United
Manchester United 3-0 Tottenham
Barcelona continue to top La Liga after winning, 2-0, on the road against Elche. Lionel Messi dazzled by dribbling through and around multiple players on a night where he earned all three points with a brace.
Sevilla blanked Elche 3-0 thanks to a brace from Carlos Bacca and another from French international Kevin Gameiro to sustain their fifth-placed position in the standings, now only four below Atletico Madrid. They have been in good form and this game arrives just days after their 3-1 win at Villarreal in the first leg of the Round of 16 in the Europa League.
Atletico Madrid dropped points yet again as they shared a point in a scoreless draw at RCD Espanyol, but showed promise even when down a man for the entirety of the second half as Miranda was ejected at the end of the first.
Alberto Bueno continued his scoring-spree with a brace for Rayo Vallecano in a 3-1 home win against Granada. This is his seventh goal in the last three games.
Here are all of the scores from La Liga this weekend:
Valencia 2-0 Deportivo La Coruna
Espanyol 0-0 Atletico Madrid
Eibar 0-2 Barcelona
Rayo Vallecano 3-1 Granada
Celta Vigo 1-2 Athletic Bilbao
Almeria 0-0 Villareal
Malaga 2-0 Cordoba
Sevilla 3-0 Elche
Real Madrid 2-0 Levante
Getafe-Real Socidead (Monday)
Borussia Dortmund were forced to stay stuck in 10th in the Bundesliga as FC Koln managed to hold them to a scoreless draw at home. BVB dominated possession as per usual, but there was too much passing and not nearly enough testing against a stubborn defense that could have perhaps been beaten with shots from distance.
Eugen Polanski scored a double in Hoffenheim’s 3-0 blanking over Hamburg SV who are just two points out of the bottom three. Their 4-3-2-1 gives them an advantage as they keep it tight in the final third to make defenders question what they are going to do with even the fullbacks pushing up the flanks to add more pressure. They are three points out of the top-five in the standings.
Bayer Leverkusen made the most of their chances by scoring four unanswered against Stuttgart in a 4-0 demolition. Josep Drmic hit a brace while Wendel and Karim Bellarabi each struck once. Turkish international Hakan Calhanoglu added yet another assist to his impressive statistics for the seaso.
Here are all the scores from the German Bundesliga this weekend:
Bayer Leverkusen 4-0 Stuttgart
Augsburg 0-2 Mainz
Hertha Berlin 2-2 Schalke
Hoffenheim 3-0 Hamburg
Werder Bremen 0-4 Bayern Munich
Borussia Dortmund 0-0 FC Koln
Wolfsburg 3-0 Freiburg
Borussia Moenchengladbach 2-0 Hannover 96
Juventus blanked Palermo 1-0 through Alvaro Morata’s strike to open up a 14-point lead atop the Serie A. Both teams played in a 3-5-2 which is why the scoring was so low as it was easier to cancel one another out. Juve did not enjoy the majority of possession but that did not matter as they continued their winning ways en route to yet another domestic title.
Napli suffered a shock 2-0 defeat away to Hellas Verona, with a brace from 37-year-old Luca Toni kept all three points at home.
Inter Milan stayed in seventh after a rather surprising 1-1 home draw against 19th-placed Cesena. Mauro Icardi found Rodrigo Palacio for the 48th-minute equalizer after Gregoire Defrel opened the scoring after 30 minutes.
Here is every score thus far form the Serie A this weekend:
Palermo 0-1 Juventus
Cagliari 1-1 Empoli
Atalanta 0-0 Udinese
Genoa 0-2 Chievo
Sassuolo 4-1 Parma
Hellas Verona 2-0 Napoli
Inter 1-1 Cesena
Fiorentina-AC Milan (Monday)
Paris Saint-Germain thought they earned a point after Zlatan Ibrahimvoic completed his double from the spot late in the game but an 89th-minute winner from Diego Rolan earned Bordeaux a 3-2 win over the Parisians, leaving them two points behind league-leading Lyon.
Lyon tied 0-0 at Marseille as the home side ended the match with 10 men after Jeremy Morel was ejected after 85 minutes. Lyon sit in first with 58 points whereas Marseille are in third with 54.
Romain Hamouma added three assists to his resume this weekend as he found Max-Alain Gradel, Mevlut Erdinc and Yohan Mollo in Saint Etienne’s 3-2 victory at FC Metz. The 27-year-old is making a case for himself to be a part of the national team only a year and some months away from EURO 2016 which will be hosted by his nation of France.