News

Across the Continent: European football weekend review- 8-10 December


It’s been another busy weekend of European football, so here’s a recap of all the results, stories and talking points from La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga, Ligue 1 and beyond.

La Liga

We’re 16 matches into this season and Girona are now two points clear at the top; now on 41 points, I think we are able to assume they’re safe from relegation.

In Sunday night’s huge Catalan derby, Girona beat Barcelona for the first time doing so in some style too, hammering the champions 4-2 at Montjuïc.

Artem Dovbyk, Miguel Gutiérrez, Valery Fernández and Cristhian Stuani all on target for Blanquivermells in a comprehensive victory for Míchel’s team, that shows Girona are serious, very much on course for a top four finish at worse.

On the flip side, this piles the pressure back onto Xavi, which had been lifted following recent victories over Porto and Atlético Madrid.

Barça had 11 shots on target, the most they’ve had in a home defeat since December 2003, and they’re now seven points adrift the leaders.

Meanwhile, despite taking the lead through Jude Bellingham, who else, Real Madrid relinquished top spot on Saturday, held to a 1-1 draw by in-form Real Betis at Estadio Benito Villamarín.

The following day, Atlético Madrid battled to a 2-1 win over bottom of the table Almería, with Álvaro Morata and Ángel Correa both on target.

Los Colchoneros are the only side in Europe’s top five leagues with two players on 13+ goals in all competitions, namely Antoine Griezmann and Morata.

On the flip side, Rojiblancos are still yet to win, losing 11 of 16 matches, just the third side in La Liga this century not to pick up a victory this far into a campaign after, Levante in 2021 and Elche last season.

The crisis continues at Sevilla, beaten by Mallorca at Son Moix on Sunday, while Real Sociedad’s excellent form continues, smashing Villarreal 3-0 at Estadio de la Cerámica.

Granada and Athletic Club’s match will be concluded this evening, Monday, following a medical emergency in the stands that saw the match abandoned.

Serie A

The big game in Serie A weekend took place on Friday night, with Juventus, albeit only temporarily, moving top of the table by beating last season’s Scudetto winners Napoli at Allianz Stadium.

Federico Gatti, the last-gasp hero at Monza a week earlier, the match-winner in this one too, as Massimiliano Allegri’s team collected their fifth 1-0 win of the campaign, now unbeaten in ten.

For Napoli, they’ve now lost three in a row for the first time in seven years, previously beaten by Inter and Real Madrid, with Walter Mazzarri’s side facing Braga on Tuesday in a must not lose Champions League tie.

Speaking of Inter, they’re still sitting pretty at the top, after hammering Udinese 4-0.

Lautaro Martínez bagging his 28th goal in 2023, equalling the club calendar year record in the 21st century, while Yann Sommer has kept ten clean sheets in his first 15 Serie A appearances, the first goalkeeper to achieve this in modern times.

Things aren’t going quite so well for city rivals A.C. Milan, beaten again on Saturday, this time 3-2 at Atalanta, which isn’t ideal ahead of Wednesday’s trip to Newcastle.

All the way down in tenth is where one will find Lazio, following their 1-1 draw with Hellas Verona, with this representing I Biancocelesti’s second-worst start to a campaign at any point during the last decade.

Roma’s rise into the Champions League places was halted by Fiorentina on Sunday night, held to a 1-1 draw, with Romelu Lukaku both scoring and getting sent off in an ill-tempered affair at Stadio Olimpico.

Bundesliga

In the most surprising result of the weekend, anywhere in Europe, Bayern Munich were absolutely smashed on Saturday afternoon, demolished 5-1 by Eintracht Frankfurt, ending their unbeaten start in the Bundesliga.

This is only the fourth time Bayern have lost by 4+ goals this century, most-recently battered by Frankfurt, also 5-1, in November 2019, the match that signalled the end for Niko Kovač.

Also, this is the first time Bayern have conceded five or more goals in the first hour of a match for 48 years, this also happening against the same opponents in a 6-0 victory for die Adler.

In this season’s title race, Thomas Tuchel’s team are now four points adrift leaders Bayer Leverkusen, albeit with a game in hand, even though die Schwarzroten have only drawn their last two.

To be fair to Xabi Alonso’s team, their last two matches have come against Borussia Dortmund and Stuttgart, leaving MHPArena with a share of the spoils on Saturday, courtesy of Florian Wirtz’s second half strike.

Leverkusen are unbeaten 21 matches into this campaign in all competitions, only the third team in German professional football history to achieve this, after Bayer themselves, as a second-tier club, in 1978 and Hamburg in 1982, the year die Rothosen would go onto win the European Cup.

In the weekend’s other top-of-the-table clash, RB Leipzig left Westfalenstadion 3-2 winners, thereby moving four points clear of Borussia Dortmund in the race for Champions League spot.

Given that die Schwarzgelben are now winless in four, losing three of them, pressure is mounting on Edin Terzić, ahead of Paris Saint-Germain’s visit this week.

Last team to mention are Union Berlin, who claimed their first victory since 26 August, beating Borussia Mönchengladbach 3-1, a result that lifted Nenad Bjelica’s team out of the relegation zone.

Ligue 1

Another weekend and another victory Paris Saint-Germain, this time seeing off Nantes on Saturday night, with Bradley Barcola and Randal Kolo Muani on target at Parc des Princes.

This is les Rouges-et-Bleus’ eighth successive win in Ligue 1, their best streak for over two years.

As a result, PSG remain four points clear of Nice who were also victorious, beating Reims 2-1 at Allianz Riviera, with Jérémie Boga bagging a late winner.

Les Aiglons have 32 points on the board after 15 matches, their third-best start to a Ligue 1 season ever, after accumulating 35 points at this stage in 1972 and 36 points seven years ago.

Monaco moved up to third on Saturday with an impressive 2-1 victory at Rennes, while Marseille’s impressive form continued, leaving Lorient 4-2 winners, with in-form Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scoring twice.

At the bottom, Olympique Lyonnais claimed just their third win of the campaign, hammering Toulouse 3-0, although les Gones do remain rock bottom of the table.

Lyon travel to Monaco on Friday night, as their survival bid continues.

Ben Gray

Ben Gray

Arsenal fan – follow them over land and sea (and Leicester); sofa Celtic supporter; a bit of a football '"encyclopedia".