|Last week saw several club football derbies take place, in addition to the UEFA Champions League matches. These matches and a few ‘golizas‘ allow us to draw a better picture of the competitive landscape of European club football.
European Champions Chelsea (ENG) were not involved in any Derby but they were involved in two matches with wide scoring margins. First they beat Malmö FF (SWE) 4-0 in the Champions League and then beat Norwich City 7-0 in the Premier League, to maintain the lead in the Premiership.
Liverpool are one point behind. They were involved in one of the Derby matches…And it turned out to be the first 0-5 home defeat for Manchester United -against any team- since 1955. Mo Salah (EGY) scored three goals. This is the third time that Manchester United have scored five goals in their last three matches (two in Premier League, one in the Champions League).
Third in the Premier League sits Manchester City. Guardiola’s team first beat Brugge 1-5 in a Champions League match and then beat Brighton 1-4 in a domestic match. With three points dividing the top 3, the Premier League is turning out to be very exciting.
Spain’s El Clásico saw Real Madrid beat Barcelona 1-2, a few days before the “Merengues” beat Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR) 0-5. They are surprisingly just second in their Champions League group, behind Sheriff Tiraspol, who beat them a few weeks ago. Real Sociedad is the La Liga leader but with one more match and one point ahead of Real Madrid.
Another team that looks very strong as a Champions League contender is Ajax. The Dutch team beat Borussia Dortmund (DEU) 4-0 and then beat PSV in De Topper, for the joint largest margin in the rivalry. Ajax have won their three UEFA Champions League matches and are clearly ahead domestically.
Another team that also has a very good form is Bayern München. The Bavarians have won their last three three matches by a four goal difference: 1-5 against Leverkusen, 0-4 against Benfica and 4-0 against Hoffenheim. They are just one point ahead of Borussia Dortmund but the gap might increase significantly.
The French Ligue 1 also saw a big derby, Le Classique. This was a less spectacular 0-0 that in a way benefits PSG. The Parisian team is seven points ahead of everyone else, while Marseille are fourth, out of Champions League positions. They are also one point ahead of Manchester City in the Champions League.
Italy also saw a draw in its Derby d’Italia, with Inter receiving Juventus -just 6th in the standings- game a 1-1. Napoli were first in the standings by a goal difference, ahead of AC Milan, who beat Torino in the first match of the 11th match day. Juventus, however, leads its Champions League group, ahead of Chelsea.
The other team that leads a Champions League group that we have not mentioned is Red Bull Salzburg (AUT). It is turning out to be a very competitive year, indeed.