The holiday season is starting in Europe with some very happy…and very glum faces across the continent. Here’s the weekend’s winners and losers
Jose Mourinho left the press conference angrily after his team conceded a last minute equaliser, whilst Manchester City put together their 17th EPL win in a row, going 13 points clear at the top of the table. The image of the current state at the top of the Premier League, with an alien team and the “human” one having to deal with the physical sentiments of anger after that kind of game. United are another step away from City, and didn’t even make the most of the negative results of Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal.
“The title race is not over” according to Marcelo. But, frankly, a miracle is needed. The points that separate Madrid and Barcelona are now 14, and to lose 0-3 at home showa an evident difference between the two teams. Yes, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema could have scored in the first 45 minutes, but by not taking their chances Madrid gave way to the Blaugrana in the second half, and if 2017 will always be a year to remember, the ending to it is definitely not what Zinedine Zidane wanted.
Unbeaten until last week, then two consecutive losses in two of the easiest games on paper. Luciano Spalletti’s work remains remarkable considering where the Nerazzurri were last year, but having gone without losing past Naples, Rome and Turin, in the homes of Napoli, Roma and Juventus, nobody would have thought Inter would fall to Udinese and Sassuolo. A psychological reaction is needed as soon as possible, or else Inter could end up with another mediocre season.
Boom. The last chance to see Real Madrid reopen the title race in La Liga blasted away by Lionel Messi and Barcelona. A 3-0 victory in El Clasico at the Santiago Bernabeu is the best sign of the strength of this team, who are now 14 points clear of Madrid, and 9 points clear of Atletico in second place. Considering how Real Madrid had dominated the two Spanish Supercup Clasicos in August, it shows just how well Ernesto Valverde has worked.
When it matters, the Bianconeri are still the best in Serie A. Napoli hold on to the top of the table, but Juve deservedly beat Roma and not only add three points to their league, but also knock out another title contender in a direct clash, after slaying Napoli and going very close to doing so with Inter. Mehdi Benatia’s goal was all that was necessary to see the Bianconeri keep up with Napoli at the top.
Schalke and Bayer Leverkusen draw, Bayern Munich win. And as swiftly as can be, the Bavarian find themselves 11 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga table without even having to put in that much effort. A 1-0 away victory in Stuttgart thanks to a Thomas Muller goal was enough to essentially end the title race before Christmas, with all the praise going to Jump Heynckes: since he took over from Carlo Ancelotti, Bayern have put together 31 points in 12 league games.