European Football Roundup 14/7/2020

It was a great week for Man City, who worked out which people they needed to bribe in order to be reinstated into European competition after 5-0 wins against Newcastle and Brighton. FFP is clearly just there to stop any upstarts threatening to challenge the hegemony of the elite. Liverpool are stuttering towards the end of the season, but managed to beat Brighton before being held by Burnley.

It’s now very tight for the third and fourth Champions League spots as Chelsea were soundly beaten by Sheffield United after a narrow win over Palace and Leicester fell to a shock thumping by Bournemouth after claiming a point against the Gunners. Manchester United could have taken third place, but their excellent run was brought to an end by a late equaliser against Southampton after they had comfortably dealt with Villa.

It was a great week for Sheffield United, who beat both Chelsea and Wolves; the latter bounced back to beat Everton. The Blades and Wolves are in prime position for the remaining Europa spots. Spurs played out an excruciating 0-0 with the Cherries before taking the North London derby thanks to yet another defensive howler from Arsenal.

Norwich have lost all eight of their fixtures since lockdown, falling to relegation rivals Watford and West Ham (Mikhail Antonio bagging all four goals) this week to confirm their return to the Championship. Villa’s win over Palace means neither the Hornets nor the Hammers are safe yet; the Hornets won their other match against Newcastle, but West Ham fell to Burnley. The week’s meaningless mid-table match ended in a draw between Everton and the Saints. (TABLE)

Two games remain in the season and Real just need to win one of theirs against Villarreal and Leganes to claim the title. Champions League spots for familiar faces Barca, Atletico and Sevilla are now a mathematical certainty. At the bottom, Espanyol were relegated by their city rivals Barcelona. Mallorca and Leganes are mathematically alive, and four points for either of them could be enough to save them with 17th placed Alaves facing a tricky trip to Betis before they host Barca. Six would be required to overhaul Celta and their goal difference, but that is assuming the Sky Blues fail to beat both already relegated Espanyol and Levante. (TABLE)

Atalanta are the best team in Serie A and for me they have won the scudetto, no matter what the table says. Immobile’s dive started Lazio’s comeback for an undeserved point at the Olimpico before lockdown, and this time round the referees let them down again by gifting Juventus two penalties to remove the chance of anything interesting happening in the last six weeks of the competition. If De Ligt hadn’t been allowed to play basketball in the penalty area at the start of the season (compare his weekly handballs to the two given yesterday), La Dea would be runaway leaders, not the Old Lady. Sigh.

Lazio lost to both Sassuolo and strugglers Lecce this week to end their title challenge, but the shock win for the Giallorossi has not been enough to get out of the relegation playoff place following Genoa’s win over SPAL. The Ferrara club and Brescia are now all but down. Elsewhere, there was a fine win for Milan over Juve, which threatened to throw open the title race before the officials got in the way. And Udinese’s fantastically named Kevin Lasagna is on fire after six goals in the last five games. (TABLE)

League finished. Winners: Bayern Munich / Champions League: Borussia Dortmund, Leipzig, Borussia Monchengladbach / Europa League : Bayer Leverkusen, Wolfsburg, Hoffenheim / Relegated: Fortuna Dusseldorf, Paderborn / Promoted: Arminia Bielefeld, Stuttgart / Cup Winners: Bayern Munich (TABLE)

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

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