Five major take-aways from European football over the weekend

It was a weekend of pure football insanity as was the display of consistency by one of European football’s most in-form clubs this season. All across Europe, there was drama in the top leagues as Manchester City maintain their hold at the top of the Premier League, Barcelona will have concerns as other La Liga sides jump into the race. There’s also the conviction that Real Madrid may have lost their fear factor and the desire to remain the cream of the crop after two trophy laden years. We have a summary of what the five major points you should take note of in European football from last weekend. [caption id="attachment_62887" align="alignnone" width="564"]Sergio Aguero played in Manchester City's 2-0 victory over Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday Manchester City are 8 points clear on the table[/caption] BLUE HOT CITY It’s been a remarkable season so far by Manchester City in the Premier League this season. They aren’t blowing hot and hold, they seem so heated, other teams seem to have thrown in the towel in the title race. Their most recent win in the English top flight, against West Ham United confirmed their status as a real super power in England this campaign, if that had not sunk in already. The manner in which they dispatch teams have not been as devastating as was at the beginning of the season. Rather, they have edged out teams late in games, to confirm their status as a real title favorite. The winning goal came in the 83rd minute of the game, making it the a 13th straight victory for Guardiola’s in-form side.

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ATLETICO’S WEEKEND [caption id="attachment_49985" align="alignnone" width="564"] Thomas Partey helped Atletico to a 2-1 win at Real Sociedad[/caption] While Barcelona and Real Madrid stumbled in draws, Atletico Madrid gained ground in the La Liga title race this weekend. A day after being held to a 2-2 home draw against Celta Vigo – giving its nearest challengers a chance to move closer – the Barcelona saw its advantage at the top strengthen after second-place Valencia lost 0-1 to 10-man Getafe on Sunday. However,  Atletico gave themselves some thin hope of reclaiming the title they won in 2014 for a 10th time with a 2-1 win over Real Sociedad. Sitting only six points off Barcelona currently, Diego Simeone is certain to whip up some more desire in his players to try and give the big boys a real fight. A wonderful sight that will be in Spain, yet again. But in Real’s draw with Bilbao was another major blow for the Los Blancos… RAMOS RED AGAIN How is it that a top player receives 19 red cards playing at top level football, and it’s all in one competition. Well, let’s save the presumed answers for when Sergio Ramos reveals in an interview one day. Breaking records is a thing athletes chase deep inside their hearts, but for those in a a team sport, will always deny. But all of that has to be good, of course. Not for Ramos! He has broken the La Liga red card record for being the player sent off most in the competition than any other player, surpassing Pablo Alfaro and Xavi Aguado, who had both been sent off 18 times. In all it was the 24th time he had received his marching orders in a football game. he will now miss crucial games against league clashes with Sevilla and also the El Classico as Zinedine Zidane’s path to getting sacked becomes clearer.
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SAVED BY THE GOALIE As one ex-great footballer gets to the end of the road at one great club, another begins his journey elsewhere. Genaro Gattuso replaced Vincenzo Montella as AC Milan head coach and took charge of his first game last weekend, only to be denied a win by Benevento’s goalkeeper, Alberto Brignoli; and it was not in between his own goalposts. The goalkeeper dived late in the game to score a brilliant header that effectively reduced Milan’s match reward to only a single point. One fact will not be lost on the Benevento strikers, they were saved by their goalkeeper. PSG HUMILIATION It’s almost certain when the Ligue 1 fixture list was announced in the summer, Paris Saint Germain’s top brass looked on the game against Strasbourg and burst into laughter, with the thrill of having to face the newly promoted side with the likes of Neymar and Mbappe. Well, the two very expensively assembled forwards in Unai Emery’s arsenal could not prevent PSG’s first defeat this season after 16 games. They seemed flat and devoid of any desire to beat the minnows. With one of the smallest budgets in the Ligue 1 this season, Strasbourg have produced one of the biggest upsets in Ligue 1 history with a 2-1 victory over PSG. By Thierry Nyann||Ghana ]]>