A Sarri state of affairs for Chelsea after a player rebellion and Lionel Messi to the rescue once again: here are the weekend winners and losers
The Blaugrana went behind twice in one of the most difficult stadiums in La Liga. But Barca have Lionel Andres Messi.
No problem, then, as the Argentine scored three, and turned the tide of the game in favour of Barcelona, who went on to win it, cementing their place at the top of LaLiga. It seemed like Barca were not going to come out of the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan with any points, and ended up getting all three.
Bayern Munich got their win against Hertha Berlin on Saturday, momentarily pulling alongside Borussia Dortmund at the top of the table, but Lucien Favre’s men continue to lead the Bundesliga, with another crucial victory in a difficult clash, against Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday.
The final score was 3-2, with Jadon Sancho once again on the scoresheet. Dortmund maintain their place at the top of the table, as one of the most fun title races in European football continues.
Pep Guardiola’s 25th career title coinciding with the weekend in which Liverpool drop points and are now just one point clear at the top of the Premier League. Manchester City got the job done, albeit after the penalty shootout, as Raheem Sterling scored the final penalty to retain the League Cup and lift some more silverware.
The Rossoneri made no mistake at home against minnows Empoli, scoring three goals and adding three points to go just two behind Inter, with the momentum entirely in their favour.
Krzysztof Piatek scored again, showing why the Rossoneri spent 35 million euro to bring him in to replace Gonzalo Higuain in January, and Gennaro Gattuso’s men showed an overall solidity and ease in winning a must-win game that hadn’t been the case at the San Siro since the age of Carlo Ancelotti.
So close to winning his first title in England, yet having to put up with another defeat and with the overarching problem with his players, as the refusal of Kepa to be substituted shows.
Sarri doesn’t seem to be in control of the dressing room, and a player refusing to come off the pitch is a massive blow to the authority of the Italian coach. Another huge problem to deal with for Sarri, who seems to be not very lucky either.
The humans behind the technology make the decisions, and what could and should be of great help to referees is becoming somewhat of a problem. The last gasp penalty awarded to Fiorentina against Inter was an incredible mistake, with the ball coming off Danilo D’Ambrosio’s chest, and the referee punishing a non-existent handball.
A similar scenario as to what happened between Levante and Real Madrid, with a clear mistake awarding a penalty to Madrid after a Casemiro dive. The images were pretty obvious in both cases, so how could the referees make such big mistakes?
They had the victory at hand, then suffered the ugliest of blows as Fiorentina equalised on 101 minutes, the latest goal in Serie A history since stats were recorded (2004). Despite the use of the VAR, the referee awarded Fiorentina a penalty for a non-existent handball, and the Nerazzurri went from 3-1 up, to 3-3 in the dying moments of a game they had controlled for the most part. Now AC Milan are just two points behind, with the derby in two weeks time. Would have been unthinkable a couple of months ago.
Losing against Monaco this season is not very common for many teams, as the Principality side haven’t exactly been having a great season. Yet Lyon did, conceding twice and never seeming to be able to react to the two early goals of Gelson Martins and Rony Lopes that put the momentum of the game against Lyon.
After managing to hold Barcelona to a 0-0 draw in the Champions League, Lyon had the chance to get three points and keep St. Etienne away. Instead, St. Etienne are now just three points behind Lyon in the race for a top-three finish in Ligue 1.