European Football Roundup 28/7/2020

Champions Liverpool went out on a scoring spree, netting eight goals against Chelsea and Newcastle to wrap up their season. City went one better with nine against hapless Watford and relegated Norwich, who made it eleven losses from eleven since lockdown. After being held by West Ham midweek, Manchester United claimed third and a return to the Champions League with a win at the Foxes, who will have to content themselves with a spot in the Europa League after being in the top four practically all season. Jamie Vardy did win the Golden Boot for the first time in his career, however, with 23 goals. In doing so, he became the oldest winner in Premier League history.

Chelsea grabbed the final Champions League berth with a comfortable victory over Wolves, who still have two possible routes into Europe next season. Should Chelsea win the FA Cup, their seventh place will suffice for the Europa League, but if they win the Europa League themselves this season, they could be in the Champions League next year as England’s fifth representative. Spurs claimed sixth spot with a tame 1-1 draw at Palace that summed up their dismal season.

Arsenal will hope to alleviate the disappointment of another year in Tottenham’s shadow with an FA Cup win, but they were hugely influential in the relegation battle as they lost to Villa (safe) before beating Watford (down). The Hornets rolled the managerial dice once too often, and the writing was on the wall once Pearson was given the boot last week. That midweek win for Villa was crucial as it meant a point was all they needed at the Hammers, as Bournemouth’s win at Everton proved too little too late.

The remaining matches were between sides who could all be very content with their season; Southampton defeated Sheffield United and Brighton picked up a surprise win at Turf Moor. (TABLE)

It’s all over bar the shouting in Serie A with practically nothing to play for in the last two set of fixtures. It could be a good chance for the sides still in European competition to rest some key players, whilst others can try out some younger players or new systems with next season just around the corner.

Juventus officially claimed a record 36th (and ninth in a row) Serie A title by defeating Sampdoria at home following a shock last minute home defeat to Udinese. Maurizio Sarri has now got his hands on his first scudetto, but it has come whilst in charge of the “enemy”; he probably would have preferred to have taken it with Napoli. The “other Bianconeri” have had a strong end to the season after flirting with relegation for much of it.

Already relegated SPAL were given a 6-1 thumping at home by Roma, and they have been joined by Brescia, who registered another couple of losses. Lecce are all but down, but could still escape if they win their remaining fixtures at Udinese and at home to Parma and Genoa fail to take two points from theirs against Sassuolo and Hellas.

Any hopes Sassuolo had of catching their closest rivals for the Europa League spots have been extinguished by losses to Milan and Napoli. The Rossoneri continued their excellent recent run with a draw against Atalanta that handed the title to Juventus mathematically.

Four goals for Ciro Immobile this week took him to 34 in the race for the title of “capocannoniere”. Ronaldo lies three goals behind on 31 and missed a penalty this week. (TABLE)

Action returned to France this week as PSG took on Saint Etienne in a delayed Coupe de France final. A limited number of supporters were allowed into the ground in a first for the top 5 leagues since the coronavirus outbreak. On the pitch, Neymar scored an early goal that was enough to defeat les Verts after their captain, Loic Perrin, was sent off in his last ever match for the club . There didn’t seem to be much malice in the tackle, but it resulted in an injury to Kylian Mbappe, and that may have been why the original yellow became a red. It marked a record 13th Coupe de France for PSG and they’ll be aiming for the triple next week against Lyon, in a game which will also serve as a final warm-up for both before the Champions League gets back underway. (TABLE)

League finished. Winners: Real Madrid / Champions League: Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Sevilla / Europa League : Villarreal, Real Sociedad, Granada / Relegated: Leganes, Mallorca, Espanyol / Promoted: Huesca, Cadiz / Copa del Rey Winners: Undetermined / Top Scorer: Lionel Messi (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 / DFB Pokal Winners: Bayern Munich / Top Scorer: Robert Lewandowski (TABLE)

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