European Football Roundup 7/7/2020

Man City thumped Liverpool 4-0 to lay down an early marker for next season, but then fell at St. Mary’s. The Reds responded to the defeat with a win over Villa. The Champions League race is wide open as Leicester lost to Everton before putting away Palace, and Chelsea slipped up against the Hammers before seeing off Watford. Big wins for United against Brighton and Bournemouth have put them right back in the mix, but Wolves slipped up to a revived Arsenal, who made it four wins from four on the back of a pasting of Norwich. The Canaries were also defeated by Brighton, who have all but secured safety. Elsewhere, Newcastle took 3 points off beleaguered Bournemouth before a draw with the Hammers, as Sheffield United racked up 4 points with a win against Spurs and draw against Burnley. Spurs managed to beat Everton in a drab encounter, but the only meaningful thing left in their season is the North London derby this weekend. (TABLE)

VAR CF Real Madrid will win La Liga this year, but the driving force behind their win has been the referees. Every time they’re struggling to get the 3 points with the clock running down, it’s almost guaranteed we’ll be getting an incident looked at in slow-mo followed by the now hirsute but still odious Sergio Ramos stroking in a penalty. The most recent one against Athletic was actually the right decision, but in the previous match it was galling for Getafe to see Carvajal get away with murder in his own box before winning a penalty the first time he went down in the other one. Barca and Atletico will be in the Champions League alongside Sevilla, who won both their games against lowly opposition to take advantage of the Yellow Submarine being sunk by the Blaugrana. At the other end, Leganes beat Espanyol but both will go down with Mallorca, who scored five past a normally miserly Celta defence; their first goal was perhaps the most absurd (reviewed) penalty decision in history. Albert Celades will no longer be looking like a sulky schoolboy on the touchline after Valencia relieved him of the reins. (TABLE)

The title race is most likely run as Juventus opened up a 7 point gap on Lazio with a win in the Turin derby to capitalise on a defeat for the Biancocelesti at home to a revived Rossoneri and a shock home reverse for Inter against Bologna. Free-scoring Atalanta made it ten wins from ten in all competitions with a hard-fought victory against a combative Cagliari. Their sights are now trained on those above them as Roma’s defeat to Napoli means there are now 15 points between 4th and 5th. Time’s running out for bottom club SPAL, as the Ferrara outfit were cruelly denied a win over Milan by an injury time own goal, but 19th placed Brescia could have a lifeline after a win over Hellas. Lecce lost their sixth straight game (conceding 21 goals in the process) as they remain 18th, just behind Genoa. In mid-table, Boga is looking great for Sassuolo, while Ribery is rolling back the years with La Viola. (TABLE)

Bayern claimed yet another double as they defeated Bayer Leverkusen in the final of the DFB Pokal. After falling behind early on, Bayer had chances to get back into the game, but lacked composure in their finishing. Profligacy upfront was then compounded by a terrible goalkeeping error that got Lewandowski off the mark, with the Factory XI eventually going down 4-2. Lewandowski was named player of the season with Alphonso Davies the best newcomer, while Bremen’s club legend and record scorer Claudio Pizarro finally hung up his boots. He’ll have been happy to see his club save their Bundesliga status by the skin of their teeth as they edged the relegation playoff against minnows Heidenheim on away goals. Florian Kohfeldt succintly summed up his year managing Bremen as “sh#t season, good ending”. For Heidenheim, the opposite was true. (TABLE)

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

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