Welcome to the latest edition of ‘The Corner’, our review of the weekends top football action across Europe.
Let’s start at Old Trafford, Manchester where United once again delivered another insipid performance against one of their greatest rivals, Liverpool.
The visitors claimed a comprehensive 3-0 victory and look like real title contenders, while the result makes it nine defeats for reigning champions United so far this season.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho saw red as did two of his players in an ill-tempered 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa. Mourinho is yet to beat Villa in the league.
It’s Arsenal next for the Blues and the Gunners came away from White Hart Lane with a 1-0 win against Spurs, for whom it’s now seven years since their last victory at the ‘Lane’ against their North London rivals.
Chelsea’s defeat saw the Gunners and Liverpool shoot back into the title race. Chelsea lead the table by four points.
Bayern Munich on the brink
In the German Bundesliga, Bayern Munich continue their seemingly unstoppable march towards the title with second placed Borussia Dortmund slipping up again by losing at home to Borussia Moenchengladbach.
Bayern don’t need any help to win the Bundesliga, but Borussia Dortmund made a hash of things against a Moenchengladbach team that was reduced to 10 men.
A piece of good fortune gave ‘Gladbach the lead thanks to Raffael before Max Kruse made it two-nil to the visitors at half-time.
Gladbach held on despite losing Havard Nordveit to a deserved red card.
Dortmund substitute Milos Jojic got one back after a deflection. That was it, 2-1 for Borussia Moenchengladbach.
The Bundesliga table tells no lies: Bayern lead by 23 points and require only two more wins for their second title in a row. The Bavarian giants could even clinch it next week if they win and Shalke and Dortmund lose.
Porto slip in Portugal
In Portugal, defending champions Porto lost in the big match against Sporting Lisbon. A disallowed goal by Porto’s Slimani didn’t help. The Dragons are now further adrift from an automatic Champions League place.
Sporting are now second, five points ahead of Porto while the Eagles of Lisbon, Benfica, are still clear at the top.
Let’s close with two success stories, one collective the other individual.
In Greece, Olympiakos claimed their 41st championship title with five matches to go. They now go to Old Trafford in the Champions League with a 2-0 lead against a dispirited Man United and look a good bet to go through to the quarter finals of Europe’s top club competition.
In Spain, that man Lionel Messi is at it again. Barca beat Osasuna 7-0 and the Argentinian scored a hat-trick. It means he becomes Barcelona’s highest goalscorer of all time with 371 goals. He passes the previous record set by Paulino Alcàntara. Messi has come back well from injury and has the chance to shine again when Barca and Real Madrid lock horns next Sunday.