The meaningful games keep coming hard. The key results of the last five days:
Arsenal 1-0 Manchester City: The Citizens bad form continued. This loss dropped them eight points below United, who won that same day. The Premier League race was over and focus turned to Mario Balotelli’s stupidity, until…
Wigan 1-0 Manchester United: An uninspired United squad once again got most of the refereeing decisions. This time it wasn’t enough to produce a win, and the Red Devils’ again looked like they need a Wesley-Sneijder-type creative midfielder.
Manchester City 4-0 West Brom: Meanwhile, City finally started Tevez, annihilated West Brom, and is right back in the title race. They also improved their goal difference dramatically; they are three ahead of United, who still has to travel to Etihad Stadium.
Sunderland 0-0 Tottenham: Arsenal seemed to solidify third place with the win over City, leaving Tottenham, Newcastle, and Chelsea to battle it out for the last Champions League spot. Spurs, who were safely in third not long ago, continued their terrible form with a draw against Sunderland.
Chelsea 1-1 Fulham: The Blues were unable to capitalize, and despite their remarkable resurgence under Di Matteo, and lucky win over Wigan, remain in sixth place.
Norwich 2-1 Tottenham: Then Tottenham were shocked by an out-of-form Norwich team, and the race for fourth is tighter than ever. The table currently looks like this.
Real Madrid 0-0 Valencia: Barcelona kept on winning, meaning Real had to do the same to bring the La Liga trophy to Madrid. They looked stale against Valencia, in a exciting, end-to-end game that either side could have won. How were there no goals?
Real Madrid 4-1 Atletico Madrid: A few days later, Madrid had to face their city rivals, knowing that Barcelona had won again, and cut the deficit to one single point. The most expensive team ever were much better on Wednesday, though, a pair of incredible Ronaldo strikes giving them an easy victory.
Borussia Dortmund 1-0 Bayern Munich: The German clasico, and Dortmund won to move six points clear at the top of the table, but not before Franck Ribery missed a penalty for Bayern.
Milan 1-0 Chievo: The Serie A championship is coming down to the wire, with Milan and Juventus the top two. Milan took the brief lead after this rather unconvincing victory…
Juventus 2-1 Lazio: …before Juventus took it back by defeating the third-place team. Juvy are undefeated in Serie A, but their propensity for getting draws has them only one point ahead of Milan.
Montpellier 3-1 Marseille: Last year was the year of the underdog in France, with un-fancied Lille winning the championship over perennial challengers Lyon and Marseille. Paris Saint-Germain spent a fortune over the summer, and it looked like an easy victory was in store for PSG, considering the low level of the usual favorites in France. Lille hung around for a while, as did Lyon, but in another remarkable victory for the underdog, it is Montpellier who find themselves on top at the moment. They are showing no sign of slowing down, but PSG aren’t either.
Sporting KC 1-0 LA Galaxy (which I saw in person at the beautiful Livestrong Sporting Park): Kansas City is a young, well-run, defense-first team who are taking the MLS by storm this season, and should be a force to be reckoned with for many years to come. They dominated the MLS favorites on Saturday, their first game against a quality opponent. Their only weakness is finishing the ball, despite the talents of Kei Kamara and U.S. internationals C.J. Sapong and Teal Bunbury up top.
Kansas City and Real Salt Lake are the two best teams in the U.S. this season; they meet in K.C. on Saturday.
As for the Galaxy, they have been dreadful so far. While everyone recognizes them as the team with Donovan and Beckham, it was on defense that they were winning games last year. After losing their MLS-best Goalkeeper on a transfer, and MLS defender of the year to injury, it is only natural that they are taking some time to adjust.