By Israel Igiri
It was a great weekend of football across various centres in Europe with thrilling encounters that gave us juicy moments to savour. In a weekend that saw interesting battles with implications for different teams, here are three things we learnt.
Watch out Liverpool! Super City is on a mission
It was a devastating display from Manchester City as they put six past Chelsea at the Etihad on Sunday. It was a game the Cityzens needed to win to go top of the English Premier League (having played one game extra) and pile pressure on Liverpool again, and they did not disappoint as they dismantled the Blues in a classic fashion.
There was no hiding place for Maurizio Sarri’s team just like English commentator, Jim Beglin said during the match commentary, as Kun Aguero’s hat-trick (a record-breaking one which saw him equal Alan Shearer’s 11 Premier League hat-trick record), Raheem Sterling’s brace and a single goal from Ikay Gundogan condemned Chelsea to the worst defeat in the EPL in 28 years.
With this emphatic win, Pep Guardiola are sending a message to their closest rivals, Liverpool that the title race will go down to the wire. One thing is certain: When City are going through a superb form as this, it is almost impossible to stop them. Therefore, their current form is one that should certainly give Jurgen Klopp’s side cause for concern because any more slip up from the Reds could just crush their title dreams.
Manchester United Back into the top four
It was a good feeling for Manchester United fans all over the world as their team regained a spot in the top four of the Premier League for the first time since the opening weekend of the season.
A brace from Paul Pogba and a sensational solo goal from Anthony Martial were enough for the Red Devils to pick up 25 points from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s ninth league game since he took over at Old Trafford, thereby, getting the team back into the top four for the first time in about six months.
With Jose Mourinho with the team earlier in the season, their season was in shambles following a dismal start to the season, which saw United 11 points adrift of the last Champions League spot. When Solskjaer took charge in January, the dream of every United fan and player was for the team to ensure that Champions League football is played at Old Trafford next season “It feels great. That’s what we wanted, since Ole came, the top four,” said Paul Pogba after the win against Fulham.
As things stand, the Manchester side who sit two points ahead of Arsenal and Chelsea who occupy the fifth and sixth positions respectively, are getting the job done each passing game and unless they go through a poor run of form, the inconsistent chasing pack- Arsenal and Chelsea look set to watch them stay in the top four till the end of the season.
Solari’s Madrid back in the title race It was a great weekend for Real Madrid as they secured an impressive 3-1 victory over City Rivals Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano, ursurping second position from Diego Simeone’s team and with just six points adrift of league leaders Barcelona who played a goalless draw against Atletic Bilbao at the San Mames.
After being written off following a very poor start to the season under Julen Lopetegui, the Los Blancos are now back in the Spanish title race. The great form of Julen Lopetegui’s side which has seen them record impressive victories in recent weeks is bringing back memories of the team under Zinedine Zidane.
With it seemed impossible in the first stanza of the season that Madrid would be fighting for the Liga title, Solari has put fire back in almost every Real player. He has revived Madrid and, more importantly, their Liga title challenge. And after a very trying and challenging season, the Los Merengues can finally believe to believe again. Now that the confidence of the team is restored, football fans should get set to experience a dramatic end to this season’s Liga BBVA.