Published on November 20th, 2017 | by Vieri Capretta0
Winners and Losers: the Madrid derby champions & unbeatable Bayern
Firing Carlo Ancelotti seems like a genius move for Bayern Munich as Napoli face a very real chance of being Serie A sensations
Arturo Vidal and a double from Robert Lewandowski: another win for the Bavarians. Pair it up with another defeat for Borussia Dortmund and RBLeipzig drawing 2-2 with Bayer Leverkusen and you have Jump Heynckes’ team flying even further away from the rivals at the top of the Bundesliga.
The gap with second is six points, and on top of that Bayern are now consistently playing with such ease and quality that dropping points anytime soon seems impossible. Yet another sign that changing Carlo Ancelotti for Heynckes was – at least in terms of results – the best move.
The main game of the weekend in La Liga ended 0-0 at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano, but despite the draw in the Madrid derby there was a winner: Barcelona. Atletico Madrid held Real Madrid to a goalless draw, creating an even bigger gap between the Blaugrana at the top of the league and Real Madrid – ten points. It already seems impossible to see Ernesto Valverde’s side failing to win the title, and it is only November.
Too easy for Napoli against this AC Milan side: Maurizio Sarri’s men put two past the Rossoneri and continued their march at the top, setting new records every week and making the most of Juventus’ loss behind them. It is the best league start in the history of the Partenopei after 13 games: Napoli have picked up 35 points, and still have not lost, despite facing all the top teams but Juventus. If Napoli do not collapse in the upcoming weeks, perhaps due to a lack of squad depth, this will be the best chance they have to win the title in ages.
Barcelona’s Paulinho has now scored as many league goals this season as Karim Benzema (1), Gareth Bale (2) and Cristiano Ronaldo (1), the entire BBC. Los Blancos simply struggle to be the machine they used to be up front, and if drawing against Atletico would be normal in any other situation, having dropped all the points previously, Zinedine Zidane’s men were forced to win, but failed to do so. The Champions League is once again the main objective now.
The final step between being a very competitive team and a winning team is what has haunted Mauricio Pochettino and Spurs for at least two seasons. After being unable to make the most of all the top teams having a negative season two years ago – when Leicester City won the title – Harry Kane and co are still lacking the maturity, as a team, to truly fight for the top spots, and this comes out whenever they face a top side. Defeats against Chelsea, Manchester United and even one of the most average Arsenal sides ever testify this. The wins against Liverpool and Real Madrid (in the Champions League) are simply not enough.
The Bianconeri have changed their style this season: instead of prioritising defence, Juve try to score more goals than their opponents. But, as Massimiliano Allegri admitted in the aftermath of their defeat against Sampdoria, if Juve don’t take their chances then they will lose games. And this is what happened, with Napoli running further away and Barcelona coming up in the Champions League. The end of Serie A is still a long way to go, but the Bianconeri need to stop dropping points as soon as possible.