League action resumed in La Liga and Ligue 1 this weekend, whereas in Italy the Coppa Italia fixtures headlined the weekend. Here are some of the things we learned during the action. Bet on European football on our website.
Messi makes history
Lionel Messi scored his 400th La Liga goal as Barcelona established a five-point lead over Atletico Madrid in La Liga with their 3-0 win over Eibar. The Argentine becomes the first player to score 400 goals in just one of Europe’s top five leagues. Credit to Eibar who ensured that he was kept quiet for a big part of the match but they will be disappointed that even despite his showing, they still could not stop him from finding the back of the net. He is also the second player to reach the 400 goals mark across Europe’s top five leagues, following Cristiano Ronaldo who has 409 league goals in 507 games all scored in England, Spain, and Italy respectively.
Real Madrid climb into top four
Real Madrid fought hard to earn a 2-1 victory away to Real Betis in La Liga’s Sunday evening clash. Santiago Solari’s men surprised many with their impressive first half where they looked tactically ready to take on anything that was thrown at them. His faith in youth was equally rewarded as both Fede Valverde and Vinicius Junior were some of the top performers of the night. The win ensured that they moved back into the top four, tied on 33 points alongside Sevilla. If they can maintain this trajectory, then they could very well finish higher up the table as they have the quality to achieve that.
Monaco steadying the ship
Monaco are fighting hard to avoid the drop and in this regard, they are not leaving anything to chance. There have been rumors linking them with a number of key players in the transfer market and Cesc Fabregas has since joined the side from Chelsea. Their morale-boosting draw away to Marseille will have given them the much-needed encouragement to forge ahead and fight for survival. After all, they have a creative genius in Fabregas and it will remain to be seen if they will get more additions before the end of the January window.
Sevilla’s title ambitions crumble
Sevilla’s title ambitions suffered a setback as they fell 2-0 by the hands of Athletic Bilbao. Goals from Inaki Williams in either half was enough to put Pablo Machin’s men to the sword. The defeat left Sevilla third in the standings on 33 points and ten points behind league leaders Barcelona. Athletic in the meantime climbed up to 16th on 22 points, moving three away from the relegation zone.
Arkadiusz Milik growing in stature
Arkadiusz Milik might have taken time to settle to life in Napoli but his patience has seen him grow in stature under Carlo Anceloti. The striker was on target during their Coppa Italia home fixture against Sassuolo, whilst setting up another one during the encounter. This season has seen him accumulate a total of 14 goals, more than any other Napoli player. This kind of record makes him one of the most reliable squad member and he could only get better as the season progresses.