A very Josè Mourinho win, on a very José Mourinho day.
Who will be the sole antagonist for Manchester City in the Premier League title race? The answer is Manchester United, who knocked Tottenham out of the way with a tactical masterpiece, as well as the quality of Anthony Martial and Romelu Lukaku.
The two strikers created the winning goal, Mourinho’s idea to play three at the back and suffocate Spurs’ attackers (without Harry Kane) worked perfectly in keeping yet another clean sheet in Old Trafford. The duel with City at the top isn’t over just yet.
Gonzalo Higuain, times two. El Pipita was back with a bang at the Stadio San Siro, scoring two of the most beautiful goals you’ll see this season, a combination of footballing intelligence, technique, speed and power to beat Gianluigi Donnarumma twice and kill off AC Milan. Juve keep up with Napoli at the top of Serie A, totally dominating at what could have been a tricky ground against a disappointing, yet potentially good team. A simple win, and an easy three points for the Bianconeri.
The top of the Bundesliga is red-and-white, as Jupp Heynckes’ cure seems complete. James Rodriguez and Robert Lewandowski quickly demolished RB Leipzig, the third-placed team in the league – who were expected to cause more problems – to go three points clear of Borussia Dortmund and four points ahead of Leipzig itself. Solidity, as Bayern is used to, as well as a tonne of quality. Three Bundesliga wins in a row since Heynckes replaced Carlo Ancelotti, with eight goals scored, and none conceded.
Perhaps the hunger has hit an all time low. Cristiano Ronaldo is a machine, in the sense of always wanting to be the best of the best. A club like Real Madrid, never satisfied with one trophy, always thinking about the next, is the perfect home for a man like CR7. But the loss against Girona in La Liga showed huge apathy and little will to fight by Los Blancos, who are now eight points behind Barcelona at the top of La Liga. Zinedine Zidane needs to find a solution, or else the champions of just about everything could have a very disappointing season.
Thomas Tuchel might become Bayern’s next coach, but surely he would like to wait another year to see the Bavarians win. Dortmund were at the top of the Bundesliga, now they are three points behind Bayern, a team that had to change coach early in the season: not exactly in top form. But against Hannover the team melted and conceded four. It’s one point in the last three Bundesliga games: not good enough to challenge for the title.
Ronald Koeman’s gone, but Everton are still struggling badly. This time the defeat came at the King Power Stadium in Leicester: 2-0 to the Foxes, little the Toffees could do. Unreal to think how the Merseyside club imploded after a great season last year and a spectacular (on paper…) transfer window. Koeman isn’t there anymore, so who is to blame now?