European Round-Up | Jan 13-16

Statement performances from SSC Napoli and Atalanta Bergamo highlight the weekend’s action across Europe’s top five leagues, while Paris Saint-Germain continue to struggle in the wake of the 2022 World Cup

Hostilities across the European continent have commenced in the wake of the 2022 World Cup as top-flight clubs in Spain, Italy, and France returned to action just after the holiday season as the football calendar reaches the halfway point in the 2022-23 season.

Though the Bundesliga is primed for its own resumption of play this coming weekend when Bayern Munich travels to Saxony to clash with RB Leipzig at Red Bull Arena to announce the conclusion of the league’s annual Winterpause, talking points have already emerged elsewhere, and this past weekend served up a few tasty bits for both diehard supporters and neutral fans to sink their teeth into.

Without further delay, here is 101 Great Goals’ weekly round-up of all the action across Europe’s top five leagues.

La Liga

  • Biggest win: Real Sociedad 3-1 Athletic Club
  • Shock result: Girona 2-1 Sevilla

La Liga was unable to boast any talking points at the weekend involving giant duo Barcelona (1st) or Real Madrid (2nd) due to their clash in the final of Supercopa de España that saw Barça earn a 3-1 win to add another piece of silverware to their illustrious history, but that did not stop other notable clubs booking credible results at the weekend. Rayo Vallecano continued their unexpected ascendency on the Spanish landscape with a 1-0 away win at Real Valladolid to remain in the top half of the table, while CA Osasuna climbed to seventh with a narrow home win over RCD Mallorca.

Real Sociedad’s 3-1 win over Athletic Club in the Euskal Derbia produced the result of the weekend in Spain, which saw Sociedad extend their run of form to four consecutive wins to solidify their position in the table (3rd) while remaining on the heals of Real Madrid.

The two shock results of the round came by way of Girona’s 2-1 home win over faltering Sevilla. Girona is certainly the in-form side by comparison, but the manner in which the Andalusians have struggled this season is a real concern as the club currently sits in the bottom three. UD Almeria’s 1-1 draw against visiting Atlético Madrid rounded out the weekend with another surprise result, with Diego Simeone’s capital outfit now well off the pace in the title race.

Ligue 1

  • Biggest win: AS Monaco 7-1 AC Ajaccio
  • Shock result: Olympique Lyonnais 1-2 RC Strasbourg

The top flight of French football featured a full fixture program both in midweek and at the weekend across Ligue 1, with a number of big results to run through across the four-day period, including Toulouse’s 5-0 away win against AJ Auxerre as well as OGC Nice’s 6-1 thrashing of Montpellier in front of home support along the Riviera.

It was the weekend that offered up the bigger discussion points, however, particularly with Olympique Lyonnais’ frustrating home defeat against relegation-threatened RC Strasbourg. A three-point haul by the Alsatians saw them climb out of the bottom three temporarily while keeping Lyon’s recent run of form to just one win in their last six across league play. Olympique de Marseille and LOSC Lille both earned strong wins at home against Lorient and ES Troyes respectively, keeping both in the top six while OM look to push Paris Saint-Germain and RC Lens for a top two position.

Speaking of PSG, the perennial Ligue 1 champions succumbed to a 1-0 away defeat against Stade de Rennais on their travels to Brittany, with Christophe Galtier’s men now suffering two defeats in their last four league outings and have now left the door open for Lens to keep pressure from their position in northern France. But it was AS Monaco that produced the top result of the weekend with a 7-1 demolition job against Corsican side AJ Ajaccio which included a hat trick from Wissam Ben Yedder to round out clubs sitting from second to sixth earning weekend wins.

Serie A

  • Biggest win: Atalanta Bergamo 8-2 US Salernitana
  • Shock result: SSC Napoli 5-1 Juventus

In what could be a return to its glory years, Serie A has once again become arguably the most entertaining and parity-driven competition of all the big five leagues in Europe this season, and this weekend once again provided top billing for those that remain loyal to the top flight of Italian football.

The shock result of the round kicked off the weekend program on Friday night when Italian giants Juventus traveled south to clash with SSC Napoli and would be reminded that the Neopolitan outfit is very much in the ascendency this season on the back of a 5-1 win by I Partenopei on the back of what was another show-stopping performance from attacking duo Khvicha Kvaratskhelia (1 goal 2 assists) and Victor Osimhen (2 goals 1 assist).

That result saw Napoli extend their lead at the top to nine points over second-sitting AC Milan, who themselves were left frustrated on their travels after a 2-2 draw against US Lecce on Saturday. Bitter rivals Inter Milan drew level with Juventus on 37-points to climb to third in the table.

Udinese’s hot start to the season continued to grind to a screeching halt in a 2-1 home loss to Bologna which sees I Friulani winless in their last six league outings, but bottom-half side Spezia toppled Torino in Piemonte to take their undefeated run to five as they put distance between themselves and the relegation zone.

Neutral fan favorite Atalanta Bergamo produced the result of the weekend on Sunday after an 8-2 drubbing on visiting Salernitana in a big win that featured another influential performance from former England starlet Ademola Lookman who bagged a brace and added an assist in what has become a career revival in the alpine city.

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Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.

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