It was a fairly standard gameweek across Europe, healing with perennial winners Barcelona, generic Juventus and PSG marching on despite defeat for Arsenal. Borussia Dortmund maintained the pressure on Bayern in the Bundesliga too, so here are five talking points from the weekend’s action.
#1 – Chelsea Dent Arsenal Title Hopes
Despite enjoying an eight game unbeaten run against the Gunners heading into their match on Sunday, nobody really fancied Chelsea to overcome Arsenal due to the gap in quality that the two sides have displayed thus far this season.
But with Diego Costa right at the heart of matters against Arsene Wenger’s side as he often is, and former Arsenal man Cesc Fabregas acting as the string-puller extraordinaire for his side, it was the Blues who came away with the 1-0 win after Per Mertesacker was sent off for a professional foul on Costa in the first half.
The loss leaves Arsenal three points behind leaders Leicester City, who comfortably saw off Stoke 3-0 on Saturday. Man City had to make do with a draw against West Ham, and so it is Leicester who head the table heading into gameweek 24. There’s still a long way to go of course, but their odds of 10.00 to win the title look better with each passing week.
#2 – Dortmund Hit Right Note in Crunch Clash
The good thing about the extended winter break in the Bundesliga is that the teams come back with a clean slate having forgotten all that had gone previously.
This was particularly welcome for Borussia Dortmund, who had lost two of their last three away games heading into the clash of huge importance against Borussia M’gladbach. As a result, many pundits fancied the hosts to come p with a shock result.
But Dortmund were back to their glorious best – no doubt helped by the break – and ran out 3-1 winners to keep pressure of sorts on leaders Bayern, who themselves enjoyed a 2-1 win against a stubborn Hamburg side.
#3 – Can Anybody Beat Juventus?
Of all the ten opponents that Juventus have swept past in recent weeks, it was Roma that were expected to put up the biggest test to their unbeaten run.
And in fairness they did do, but a 77th minute strike from Paulo Dybala consigned the capital club to defeat and extended Juve’s winning streak to eleven matches.
Next up are Chievo, who have won just once since Christmas and who have conceded ten goals in their last five outings. Another win for Juventus then? It would take a brave punter to bet against it, and surely the Black and Whites will be at the heart of many football betting tips this weekend; including those of Betadvisor.
Elsewhere Napoli extended their own win streak to five with a 4-2 triumph at Sampdoria, while Inter’s poor run continued after being held to a draw by Carpi.
#4 – Barca Regain Top Spot As Atletico and Real Falter
It wasn’t a particularly satisfying weekend for any of the top three in La Liga, but Barcelona’s hard-fought 2-1 win at Malaga ensured they regained top spot in the table after Atletico endured a frustrating 0-0 draw with Sevilla.
Points were dropped by Real Madrid too, who could only manage a draw at Betis, and so Barca – with a game in hand – have dispelled some of the disquiet amongst their ranks. Backing a La Liga title winner has become a much easier betting tip as a result.
#5 – PSG To Go Unbeaten in 2015/16?
The Arsenal side of 2003/04 were known as ‘the invincibles’ after going through their domestic campaign unbeaten, and at the moment PSG look likely to follow a similar route after defeating Angers 5-1 at the weekend; their 22nd game without a loss in Ligue 1.
Having scored in 95% of their matches and kept a clean sheet in more than half, it would be tough to see anyone bringing their streak to an end.
Perhaps only two opponents are capable: complacency and Monaco. Their own unbeaten run continued with a 4-0 win over Toulouse.