Published on :
Second defeat for PSG on Sunday and relaunch of Ligue 1. Arsenal walks on water in the Premier League and flies away from pursuer Manchester City. In Spain, Real Sociedad made the good operation of the weekend. The Serie A head is kept in a pocket handkerchief. Finally in Germany the championship is still in winter break.
PSG falls again and revives the suspense
Invincible between August and December, PSG feel the pinch in 2023. The Ligue 1 leaders fell again on Sunday 15 January in Rennes (0-1), reviving the suspense at the top of the championship. Real concern of Paris in recent seasons, Rennes won thanks to their captain Hamari Traoré. Kylian Mbappé’s entry onto the pitch, back from his post-World Cup holidays, hasn’t changed anything.
The Parisians’ advantage continues to melt away with this second defeat suffered a fortnight after the one inflicted by Lens, his heirloom back within three points thanks to the 1-0 victory against Auxerre. On the bottom step of the podium, OM triumphed over Lorient and finished five points behind the Parisians. “The teams behind don’t give up. We mustn’t start losing too many points because otherwise we will be in trouble,” noted Parisian captain Marquinhos on Amazon Prime.
The other pursuers animate a tight race for the European positions. AS Monaco, impressive on Sunday against Ajaccio (7-1), and Rennes are just five points off the podium. Ultra effective against Troyes (5-1), Lille is also not far away.
Neymar and Lionel Messi’s PSG are therefore the only top scorer to have lowered the flag this weekend, an anomaly that is a task a month after the first leg of the Champions League round of 16 against Bayern.
Regrouping in the pack of contenders for the Champions League
Six clubs in a handkerchief but only three places in the Champions League, behind a Napoli who escaped and are the big favorites for the Scudetto after their demonstration against the Bianconeri (5-1). This is the equation in Italy, given that the 18th day of Serie A saw a general consolidation at the top of the table.
Atalanta Bergamo passed eight goals to a defenseless Salernitana (8-2), Lazio Rome got the better of Sassuolo (0-2) while Roma dominated Fiorentina thanks to Paulo Dybala’s brace (2-0). The trio is three points behind Juventus (3rd) and Inter (4th) and four from Milan (2nd).
Between these three clubs, Juve largely lost against Napoli (5-1), while Inter won 1-0 against Hellas Verona and Milan settled for a draw against Lecce (2-2). .
Real Sociedad does the right thing
Third away match without success for Atlético Madrid: the Colchoneros were eliminated 1-1 on Sunday for matchday 17 of La Liga in Almeria, and finished in 4th place. The people of Madrid had opened the scoring following intelligent play by Antoine Griezmann, who let slip Geoffrey Kondogbia’s pass to striker Angel Correa (18th). But Almeria responded with a perfect cross from Lucas Robertone, finished with a diving header from former Reims centre-forward El Bilal Touré (37th).
Madrid are hot on Real’s heels: thanks to a brilliant 3-1 in the Basque derby against Athletic Bilbao on Saturday in Anoeta, Real Sociedad continues to impress and is close to three points behind Real Madrid (2nd, 38 points).
The Txuri-urdin (white-blue, in Basque) got off to a strong start with a goal from Alexander Sorloth (25th) and a jewel from Takefusa Kubo, who cleared a defender from a small bridge before adjusting Unai Simon (37th) . Athletic Bilbao closed the gap thanks to Oihan Sancet, whose shot was not properly deflected by Alex Remiro (40th), but Basque captain Mikel Oyarzabal sealed the victory from a penalty (63rd).
The two leaders of La Liga, FC Barcelona (1st) and Real Madrid (2nd), did not face each other in the league but in the Spanish Super Cup final, played in Saudi Arabia. And Cules coach Xavi took the opportunity to lift his first trophy.
Derby day: Arsenal beat Tottenham, Manchester United against City
Thanks in part to Hugo Lloris’ first own goal in 354 Premier League appearances, Arsenal extended their lead at the top of the table to eight points. While the North London derby between the Gunners and Tottenham is traditionally one of the hottest in England, this one was scuppered in the first half thanks to two goals from Arsenal, who then bowed out and let go of their goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale finish the job (2-0).
The Gunners now have 47 points to City’s 38, beaten in Saturday’s derby against United. The Red Devils confirmed their return to the forefront of the English league by beating Manchester City (2-1). Guided, but never resigned, they overthrew, with a little help from the referees, a City that no longer runs smoothly with a transparent Erling Haaland. United are back close to the podium with 38 units, one point behind their neighbor (2nd).
While still breaking the piggy bank to sign the Ukrainian Mykhailo Mudryk for 100 million euros, Chelsea proposed a capital success against Palace (1-0). With 28 points, the Blues remain 10th and ten units from qualifying places for the Champions League, but the Londoners, and above all their coach, Graham Potter, needed it badly. We will need to confirm the slight recovery next week in Liverpool, in a practically double or nothing match for the two teams.
Facing Fulham, a surprise team at the start of the season, Newcastle found the foul right at the end (1-0), after saving themselves from a slide by Serbian forward Aleksandar Mitrovic with the consequent cancellation of the penalty he had converted. Overtaken by Manchester United on Saturday, the Magpies regained 3rd place on goal difference (38 points, 22 against +8), one point behind the reigning English champion.