Weekend round up; Barca equal La Liga record as Madrid lose ground, Manchester United go top again

Barcelona crushed Levante 4-0 on Sunday with two goals from Leo Messi, and further strikes from Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas, to equal a La Liga record.

It is now the joint best start to a Spanish top flight season, after the Catalans won their 12th game of 13 so far this year. It was also achieved with a team made up exclusively of La Masia graduates after Dani Alves’ early substitution for Martin Montoya.

Real Madrid lost ground at the top after they lost 1-0 at Real Betis on Saturday, and now go into next week’s Madrid derby eight points behind fierce rivals Atletico Madrid, who won 4-0 against Sevilla, to remain three behind Barcelona.
Elsewhere, Valencia were crushed 4-0 by Malaga, Getafe beat Espanyol 2-0 away, and Rayo Vallecano won by the same score against Real Mallorca.

In England, Man City’s 0-0 draw at Chelsea allowed Man Utd to go top of the league again, following their 3-1 victory over Queens Park Rangers on Saturday. West Brom are now third after beating Sunderland 4-2, and Everton drew 1-1 at home to Norwich. Arsenal were held 0-0 by Aston Villa and Tottenham beat West Ham 3-1. Liverpool drew 0-0 at Swansea.
In Serie A Juventus were beaten 1-0 by AC Milan in the weekend’s big game, Robinho’s dubious penalty doing the damage. Fiorentina are now four points behind them after a 2-2 draw at Torino, while both Napoli and Inter Milan have a game in hand and can both close on the reigning champions. Roma won 1-0 at Pescara on Zdenek Zeman’s return to his former club.

Paris St Germain are back on top of Ligue 1 after the weekend’s action, following a 4-0 win over Troyes. Marseille are hot on their heels after beating Lille 1-0 in the weekend’s big game, keeping them level on points with the Parisians and can overtake their fierce rivals with a point in midweek in their game in hand against Lyon.
Lyon slipped to fourth after being beaten 3-0 by Toulouse, allowing local rivals St Etienne to overtake them following a 1-0 win over Valenciennes. Bordeaux are in fifth, two points off the top, after losing 1-0 at champions Montpellier.

In Germany Bayern Munich are nine points clear still after thrashing Hannover 5-0 at home at the weekend. Borussia Dortmund are now in second after the champions won 2-1 at Mainz, and Schalke slipped to third following a 1-1 home draw with Eintracht Frankfurt, who stay fourth. Fifth placed Bayer Leverkusen won 2-1 at Hoffenheim, and Freiburg beat Stuttgart 3-0.

Twente drew 2-2 with Zwolle to stay second in the Netherlands, behind PSV, who lost 2-1 at home to third placed Vitesse. Champions Ajax beat Roda JC 2-1, and Feyenoord won 2-0 against AZ. Benfica and Porto continue to battle for the lead in Portugal, as respective 2-0 wins against Olhanense and Braga kept them level on points.

In Ukraine Shakhtar Donetsk crushed Hoverla 5-1 to remain way ahead at the top of the league, and Turkish league leaders Galatasaray beat Elazigspor 1-0, with rivals Fenerbahce keeping chase with a 4-1 win over Genclerbirligi. Olympiakos drew 1-1 with PAOK in Greece in a battle of the top two, while Panathinaikos remain some way off the pace after losing 2-1 at Platanias.

In Brazil Palmeiras’ relegation was confirmed with a 2-1 home defeat against Goianense. Champions Fluminense drew 1-1 with Sport, Santos and Corinthians drew 1-1, Vasco de Gama and Flamengo drew 1-1 in the Rio derby, Gremio won 4-2 at Figueirense and Atletico Mineiro beat Botafogo 3-2.

In Argentina Velez Sarsfield are two points clear with two games remaining after beating All Boys 2-0, both goals coming in the dying minutes of the match. Lanus in second were held 0-0 by Estudiantes, while Boca Juniors beat Racing Club 3-1.

In Japan Sanfrecce Hiroshima beat Cerezo Osaka 4-1 to win their first league title and book their place in the Club World Cup next year. Vegalta Sendai, who had also hoped to win the league, lost 1-0 to Albirex Nigata.