Published on December 4th, 2017 | by Vieri Capretta0
Winners and losers – one winner to rule them all…
The weekend saw shocks aplenty across Europe, but there was only one true winner that made headlines all over the world
The magic of football. Benevento recorded the worst ever start to a top flight European league in history, without scoring a single point in 14 games. Then AC Milan turn up, and after 94 minutes it seemed like the record was to be updated to 15. But then goalkeeper Alberto Brignoli flew into the sky to head home the unbelievable – truly unbelievable – goal that meant a final 2-2 score and the first ever point in the history of the club in Serie A. Wow.
The champions appeared when they needed to most and crashed Napoli in their own backyard – an away win at the San Paolo showing just what a monster Juventus can be when tactically impeccable and focussed, with the technique and quality of their players shining even more.
Gonzalo Higuain scored his fifth goal in as many games against his former club to carry Juve to just one point behind the Partenopei, giving momentum to the Old Lady and undermining the certainties of a team that still had not lost in Serie A this season.
The classic clash against Arsenal was probably the most interesting of the weekend, with a real show set out on both sides at the Emirates. David De Gea, Paul Pogba, Alexis Sanchez, Alexandre Lacazette and Jesse Lingard all showed their great qualities in the display, with Manchester United doing what it does best and winning these kind of games, exploiting Arsenal’s weaknesses and continuing to chase Manchester City.
A nightmare that simply never ends. This is what Rossoneri fans are living right now. Sacking Vincenzo Montella for Gennaro Gattuso ahead of a series of fairly simple games seemed like it could, at least momentarily, cure Milan, a club that revolutionised the squad in the summer, spending roughly $250 million in the transfer window. But the first game under the new manager is a 2-2 draw against – unbelievable – Benevento. That is all.
What better conditions to close in on Barcelona than when the Blaugrana drop points? Zinedine Zidane’s men did not make the most of it, though, ending the Liga weekend with the same points difference as before in the chase to their rivals at the top of the table. Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema hit the woodwork at the San Mames in Bilbao, as the Basques held Los Blancos to a fairly useless 0-0 draw, in which Sergio Ramos collected his 19th career red card in La Liga.
Invincibles? Well, almost. Having Edinson Cavani, Neymar and Kyllian Mbappe up front is a pretty good guarantee of the final victory in Ligue 1, but it doesn’t mean that PSG are able to go the whole season unbeaten. In fact, Strasbourg were able to slay the giants with an unexpected 2-1 victory, courtesy of goals by Nuno Da Costa and Stephane Bahoken. It’s not the end of the world for Unai Emery, but a warning: even PSG need to stay focussed in every game.