Welcome to this week’s edition of “The Corner” where we’ll take a look at the English Premier League and the Dutch topflight. We’ll see how the La Liga standings have changed following a draw for both the league’s top two clubs. We’ll also see how Clarence Seedorf’s era as AC Milan coach started as well as how Bayern Munich fared in a friendly just before the start of the second half of the Bundesliga.
Eto’o orchestrates Utd’s downfall at the Bridge
David Moyes and Manchester United continue to struggle in the Premier League, their latest case of the blues came at Stamford Bridge.
Samuel Eto’o stole the show with a hat-trick that put a smile on the face of coach José Mourinho who celebrated his 100th Premier League win.
It also marked a return to form for the Cameroon striker who has suffered a disappointing start to the season. Chelsea dominated United, who were without their leading strike duo Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie.
Chicharito’s goal wasn’t much of a consolation as ‘The Blues’ ran away with a 3-1 victory. (see video below for all the goals from the tie in London)
With these three points, Chelsea stay close to the two league pace setters. Arsenal remain at the top thanks to two Santi Cazorla goals in the London derby against Fulham. Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City, who beat Cardiff, are a point further back in second.
Video: goals from the Bridge
Ajax turn the heat on after winter break
Let’s move to the Netherlands where, after almost a month’s winter break, the Eredivisie returns to action. It’s a New year and but it’s the same clubs battling for the top spot, it’s a neck and neck race between Ajax and Vitesse Arnhem.
Patrick van Aanholt scored a last minute winner to hand Vitesse a thrilling 2-1 away triumph at PEC Zwolle on Saturday.
Christian Atsu, on loan from Chelsea, took less than three minutes to put the visitors ahead with a superb solo effort only for Guyon Fernandez to get PEC back on level terms in the 14th minute.
The Ghana international took advantage of some poor defending to beat Diederik Boer for his fifth goal of the campaign.
The game seemed destined for a draw until Van Aanholt came through just before the final whistle to net the winning goal and put pressure on current leaders Ajax.
Frank de Boer’s men outclassed PSV Eindhoven 1-0 thanks to this superb header from Iceland international Kolbeinn Sigthorsson (check out this cracking goal below).
Reigning champions Ajax lead the show with a better goal difference than Vitesse Arnhem – both clubs are on 40 points. Twente are closely tucked up in third three points back while Feyenoord, who beat Utrecht 5-2, are fourth a point further adrift.
Video: Sigthorsson heads home winner
Real close in on leaders Barca and Atletico
Barcelona and Atletico Madrid continue to wobble their way into the second half of the season.
It was a mediocre game in Valencia where Barcelona struggled to breakdown Levante’s excellent defense.
The hosts led after 10 minutes courtesy of Loukas Vyntra. All Barca fans were expecting a comeback through their star-studded strike force of Messi, Pedro and Sanchez but it was defender Gerrard Piqué who saved Barca’s blushes nine minutes later to snatch the draw.
Levante will be happy with a share of the spoils, especially after their 7-0 mauling by the Catalans in the pair’s first fixture this season at the Camp Nou.
Atletico, missed the chance to jump to the summit of the table following their one all draw with Sevilla at the Vicente Calderon Stadium.
Instead Barça and Atletico share the lead on 51 points. Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid seized the opportunity once again and with their 5-0 thrashing of Real Betis are now one point off the pace.
Coach Seedorf off to winning start
Clarence Seedorf began his managerial career at AC Milan on a winning note. Mario Balotelli scored the only goal of a tight encounter against surprise package Verona.
A penalty, earned by Kakà and taken by SuperMario himself, gives the former number 10 his first 3 points of his coaching career. There’s still a lot to do at Milan in this transitional period, but it’s a great start (see Balotelli’s penalty below).
Milan stay in the 11th place in the Serie A, eight points above the relegation zone and 30 points off leaders Juventus. The Bianconeri celebrated their 12th consecutive victory with a 4-2 victory over Sampdoria and with it now enjoy an eight-point lead over title rivals Roma, who beat Livorno.
A friendly wake-up call for Bayern
Whilst awaiting the Bundesliga’s return on Friday, reigning champions and current league leaders Bayern Munich took to the field for a friendly match against Red Bull Salzburg.
But without Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben and Phillipe Lahm it didn’t quite go to plan for the Bavarians, who missed the chance to offer their coach Pep Guardiola an ideal 43rd birthday present.
Bayern opted for an unusual defensive formation as they fell to a surprise 3-0 defeat against the Austrian club.
The Bavarians started the game with holding midfielder Javi Martinez on the right and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg in a central defensive role, but the strategy backfired as the hosts took the lead thanks to Sadio Mane.
Former Espanyol striker Jonathan Soriano added a second with a well-taken penalty in the 20th minute.
Robert Zulj scored just before the break to make sure of the win as last year’s treble winners endured their worst 45 minutes since Guardiola took over at the start of the campaign.
Bayern return to league action on Friday night for matchday 18. They play Mönchengladbach, who are third in the standings.