This weekend’s action saw a momentous first win for Man Utd under the stewardship of Louis van Gaal in the Premier League, Hannover 96 piling the misery on bottom club Hamburger SV in the Bundesliga and Serie A saw Inter Milan thumping Sassuolo. That said, there were plenty of goals across Europe, some exciting football on display and plenty of points for our fantasy managers to share out among themselves. So, let’s take a look back and what was, on the whole, a cracking weekend of football.
In the French Ligue 1, Lille continued their impressive start to the season with a double whammy, beating Nantes 2-0 to record their fourth clean sheet from the first five games and capping it off by climbing to the top of the league table. That was thanks to Bordeaux losing for the first time this season in a somewhat surprising result at Guingamp, who climb to 16th. Marseille sit between them, climbing above Bordeaux thanks to a 3-1 win at bottom club Evian Thonon Gaillard. These results, which coincidentally were all Sunday games, mean that the Lille defensive players continue to dominate the top of the Ligue 1 points scorers’ charts, with Vincent Enyeama (155 points) retaining top spot, closely followed by team-mates Simon Kjaer (140 points) and Sébastien Corchia (120 points). Sixth-placed Montpellier hold three players out of the next four in the list, with only Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu (110 points) sitting among the trio of Geoffrey Jourdren (120 points), Siaka Tiéné (110 points) and Abdelhamid El Kaoutari (100 points). There are, as you can see, plenty of huge points scorers already in France, with defensive players tending to come out on top. The highest rated attacking player is Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who sits just behind El Kaoutari on 100 points as well.
In the Premier League, Man Utd’s 4-0 masterclass over QPR recorded Dutch coach Louis van Gaal’s first win at the Theatre of Dreams, while Chelsea continued to steamroller their opposition with a 4-2 win over Swansea, thanks in no small part to Diego Da Silva Costa’s first hat-trick in English football. That result means Costa sits at the top of the Premier League’s big points hitters, with 140 thanks to a fantastic seven goals from his first four games for his new club. The rest of the top five in the Premier League are basically Aston Villa’s defence, with keeper Brad Guzan (115 points) sitting just ahead of defenders Aly Cissokho (90 points), Philippe Senderos and Ashley Westwood, who have 85 points each. This is largely due to Villa’s standing in second place, having enjoyed an unbeaten start to the campaign where they rest just two points behind Chelsea having conceded only a single goal. Both north London sides battled out respective 2-2 draws, Arsenal at home to champions Man City and Spurs in the far away lands of the north-east at the home of Sunderland, who are still searching for their first league win of the season. Bottom club Newcastle suffered a torrid Saturday afternoon, making the long journey back to Tyneside having suffered a 4-0 loss at the hands of Southampton, whose star points scorer Morgan Schneiderlin (75 points) put in another fine display.
Crossing over to Germany, league leaders Bayer Leverkusen lost their 100% start to the season but maintained their unbeaten run by drawing 3-3 with Werder Bremen on Friday evening in a thrilling encounter. Second placed champions Bayern Munich stayed slightly ahead of Hannover 96, both clubs recording 2-0 home wins over VfB Stuttgart and Hamburger SV respectively. The big points can be found by scouting mid-table outfit 1. FC Koln, surprisingly. They boast the top five so far – while their attacking hasn’t been the most inspiring just yet, their defence has been great and is yet to concede a goal following the first three games. There are some fantastic points totals at the club, with goalkeeper Timo Horn currently leading the Bundesliga charts with 120 points, while defenders Kevin Wimmer, Jonas Hector and Dominic Maroh all have 90, just ahead of Miso Brecko on 85. In another arguably surprising statistic, the highest rated attacking player belongs to seventh place 1. FSV Mainz 05, whose midfielder Shinji Okazaki has 70 points thanks to three goals from the first three games.
In Spain, most games were fairly tight affairs, with no result coming out at a larger margin than two goals. The highest scorers were Valencia, who secured a 3-1 win over Espanyol and see them end the week in second place behind Barcelona, with Sevilla and champions Atletico Madrid breathing down their necks on the same total of seven league points. Atletico had arguably the best weekend of these sides, however, by beating city rivals Real Madrid at the Bernabeu thanks to goals from Tiago Mendes (20 points) and Arda Turan (also 20 points) coming either side of a Cristiano Ronaldo (40 points) penalty. No side in the top six of La Liga (Barcelona, Valencia, Sevilla, Atletico Madrid, Celta de Vigo and Granada CF) have lost yet, while Real Madrid presently sit 13th. It is certainly an unfamiliar shape to the competition so far, though whether this trend continues remains to be seen – these are, after all, still early days.
Finally, Serie A cooked up the biggest result of the weekend when Inter Milan thumped Sassuolo 7-0 to finish the week in fourth, with a hat-trick coming from striker Mauro Icardi (70 points). Dani Osvaldo, on loan from Premier League outfit Southampton, also hit a brace to take his tally to 60. Inter sit behind Milan, Juventus and Roma, who all won their games at the weekend. League leaders Milan had arguably the hardest job of putting away their opposition on Sunday afternoon, emerging 5-4 winners at Parma, though they didn’t even fall level after taking the lead. Two goals from Jérémy Menez took his season tally to three goals and 60 points so far. Second placed Juventus and third Roma won their games 2-0 at home to Udinese and 1-0 at Empoli respectively.
All in all, fans of European football had scarcely a moment to look away from the action this weekend, and let’s hope that is something that can continue for extended periods this season – it was a great weekend of football indeed.