European Football Roundup 23/6/2020

PREMIER LEAGUE (HIGHLIGHTS IN THE TEXT)
Premier League players all had “Black Lives Matter” printed on the back of their shirts and took a knee prior to kick-off this week in a gesture that felt a lot more authentic than FIFA and UEFA’s half-hearted efforts of the past. An unbelievable mess ensued on the pitch once the action got underway as Sheffield United were denied a clear goal and three points first by Hawkeye and then by VAR. VAR did intervene correctly in the Spurs Man U game, however, to rule out a second penalty for the visitors, with the ref seemingly desperate to hand the Red Devils the spoils. The other big games of the week saw a classic David Luiz cameo, in which he gave away two goals before picking up a red card against City, whilst the Merseyside derby ended goalless, with Everton looking the more likely winners towards the end.

The Reds’ lead is now down to 20 points after City thrashed Burnley 5-0 with braces from Mahrez and Foden. Leicester remain third after a late Chilwell screamer was cancelled out by an even later Watford equaliser, whilst Chelsea came from behind to beat Villa to stay fourth. Wolves are looking good for Europe after winning at the London Stadium, but Sheffield United slipped to a surprise 3-0 defeat at Newcastle in which Joelinton finally ended his goal drought. Palace are level on points with Spurs after brushing aside the Cherries, who seem doomed to relegation with Fraser having played his last game for the club and a tough run-in ahead. The Canaries lost 3-0 at home to the Saints and for them it seems the drop is a case of when not if. Things are looking brighter for Brighton after they stunned the Gunners with a late comeback win, which prompted Guendouzi to grab Maupay by the throat. Inexplicably, the FA have opted not to take action. (TABLE)

LA LIGA (HIGHLIGHTS MATCHDAY 29 AND MATCHDAY 30)
Shockingly one-sided officiating handed Real top spot as the referee ruled time and time again in Madrid’s favour to gift them three points at the Anoeta, with Barca held by Sevilla. The Blaugrana’s Pique is in hot water for his comments on the official in question, but it’s hard to have much sympathy for a side that are so often given preferential treatment themselves. Getafe and Sociedad’s dramatic dip in form since the restart has allowed Atletico and Sevilla to move clear in the race for the Champions League. At the other end of the table, it’s looking increasingly likely that the bottom three now will be the three to go down with Espanyol, Leganes and Mallorca all looking woefully bereft of quality and form. Celta’s 6-0 demolition of Alaves after a battling point at Valladolid has allowed them to move four points clear of the drop and given them the insurance of an unassailable advantage in goal difference should their form drop off again. Elsewhere, Real Betis have already decided to part ways with their boss, “Rubi”, just three games after the restart. (TABLE)

SERIE A (COPPA ITALIA FINAL) (SERIE A CATCH-UP GAMES)
Napoli won their sixth Coppa Italia by defeating Juve on penalties. The Old Lady started the shootout disastrously with Dybala and Danilo both failing to convert, as Gattuso’s Napoli claimed a trophy from a season that seemed like it would best be forgotten a few months ago. In the Serie A catch-up games, Inter defeated Samp, La Dea picked up where they left off with a thrashing of Sassuolo, Torino and Parma drew, and Hellas kept their European ambitions alive with a win over Cagliari. (TABLE)

BUNDESLIGA (MATCHDAY 33 HIGHLIGHTS)
As expected, Paderborn were relegated in a defeat at Union Berlin, as the home side celebrated mathematical safety. Werder will probably join them in the 2. Bundesliga after a spirited defeat against Bayern was followed by a less than flattering loss to Mainz, who are now in the clear. To steal the relegation play-off place off Dusseldorf, who picked up an invaluable point with two late goals against Leipzig, Bremen will have to defeat Koln and hope the Flingeraner lose to Union. Unlikely. Dortmund made sure of second place by defeating Leipzig after a shock loss to Mainz. RB and the Foals look as though they will join them in the Champions League after Leverkusen fell to Hertha. Hoffenheim have booked their Europa place for next season after big wins over Augsburg and Union, as have Wolfsburg, who routed a sorry Schalke. It’s getting increasingly hard to imagine David Wagner in the Royal Blues’ dugout at the start of next season. (TABLE)

LIGUE 1
League finished. Winners: PSG / Champions League: Marseille, Rennes / Europa League: Lille, Nice, Reims / Relegated: Amiens, Toulouse / Promoted: Lens, Lorient (TABLE)

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