5 takeaways from the weekend’s football action

Sadio Mane’s explosive rising strike handed Liverpool a 3-1 lead.

Any ardent football fan across the world will tell a tale of an entertaining weekend of action across all the top five leagues, especially if that fan is a Manchester United fan, yet to learn the happenings in their Monday night league game against Stoke City.

The occurrences in the top flights give chills, particularly when one digs into the facts and numbers that follow the wins, losses and retrospective kicks by referees. Yes, you read that right!

So let’s get down to some of these plausible efforts of some individuals while revealing the dark sides of others, in our major take-aways from the weekend football action.

Manchester City’s unbeaten run stopped:

Sergio Aguero played in Manchester City's 2-0 victory over Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday
Sergio Aguero played missed a last-minute opportunity to level for Manchester City

Few would have expected what happened this weekend at Anfield. Liverpool scoring four past a Man City side that had conceded only 13 goals in 22 games this season. Pep Guardiola had molded a side capable of going the entire season without a loss, judging by the Citizen’s amazing run that saw last gasp wins, enthralling football and a devastating look to a defense that used to concede goals for fun.

Jurgen Klopp’s side had only one plan, and that was to play to their own strengths. All the other sides to have faced Man City this season in the Premier League, only came in to defend and hope for bad luck for the City players in front of goal. The strategy failed and Liverpool learned their lessons, attacking from the blast of the whistle, although cautiously.

They conceded three, two late on in the game, but scored four to stop Guardiola’s stroll to the title, much to the delight of other rivals in the Premier League, especially Arsenal fans who still hold in high regard their ‘Invincibles’ record of 2004.

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Arsenal Blow Hot and Cold:

Arsene Wenger may have hit the wall in his fight to make Arsenal a true great in European football. The brand of football he plays at the Emirates is a joy to behold, but with fans desperately yearning for more, the Gunners’ poor record against lesser sides will not be enough to satisfy their appetite.

Arsenal are the FA Cup holders but already eliminated from this year’s

The FA Cup holders have held Chelsea three times this season but have lost heavily to other top six sides including the 4-0 annihilation at Anfield, proving their ‘inconsistent’ tag over the years.

A last gasp defeat to Bournemouth at the Vitality stadium made it all the more difficult for Wenger’s men to make a solid claim for a top four position this season. So much for a side, struggling to nail their top stars to a new deal.

Barcelona won’t stop winning:

When Ernesto Valverde was brought on as Barcelona head coach, many questioned his ability to keep them afloat the entire season in all competition, but it’s fair to say the Catalunya are proving a few critics wrong.

Lionel Messi’s goal over the weekend put the icing on the cake for Barcelona who have now won at real Sociedad for the first time in a decade. The win also means Barca are now nine points off second placed Atletico Madrid and more importantly to El Classico rivalry fans in ‘Claret and Blue’, 19 points off Real Madrid.

Messi’s goal in the 85th minute also means the Argentina superstar has now scored 366 goals in the La Liga, more than any player in a single league in Europe’s top five leagues.

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Leo Messi

Real Madrid are in serious trouble:

One of the most interesting captions I saw on social media after the some of the games I witnessed, was the fact Real Madrid are now closer to relegation than the top of the standings.

As difficult as that may be a pill for some Los Blancos fans to swallow, the numbers don’t lie. Zinedine Zidane’s side are now 19 points off leaders Barcelona but only 16 points off 18 placed Deportivo.

The La Liga champions lost 1-0 to Villarreal at the Santiago Bernabeu, after an 88th minute goal by Pablo Fornals. Real risk losing out on a top four position while they also face an in-form Paris Saint Germain side in the round of 16 in the Champions League.

Referee steals show in PSG v Nantes clash:

Referee Tony Chapron appeared to aim a kick at Nantes’ Diego Carlos

A bizzarre incident occurred in the French Ligue 1 last weekend that involved a referee possibly receiving the title of ‘Football’s Wrestlemania Champion’.

Tony Chapron could receive retrospective sanction by french football authorities after his role in the incident as PSG beat Nantes 1-0.

After all it was a mere trip by the Nantes player who seemed eager to get near play, that saw a tumble by Chapron. But instead of merely waving play on, Chapron wrote his own rules and showed the player a second yellow card, to reduce Nantes to 10 men against the league leaders.

By Thierry Nyann|3news.com|Ghana