Around Europe: FC Basel are dominating

It’s been a while since I’ve sat down and watched and mused around on Yahoo’s European pages due to Internet issues. But, it’s great to be back, and it’s fantastic to see that Europe’s leagues are really starting to hot up. In case you don’t know, or maybe because it’s been a while, my name is Daniel Statham and I’m here to bring you your weekly European update. 

We always start in Spain, but that’s because its the division that peaks most people’s interest. Since I last wrote to you all, Barcelona lost to Alaves, and then bounced back by demolishing Celtic in the Champions League and Leganes in the league. This weekend they travelled to Sporting Gijon and any signs of the cobwebs that presented themselves against Alaves have been more than dusted away, as they dispatched them 5-0, following a midweek draw with title challengers Atleti. Real Madrid had formed themselves a commanding lead at the top following Barca’s slip ups, but they seem to have caught whatever infected Luis Enrique’s men. Successive draws against Villarreal and now Las Palmas have seen they’re lead cut to 1 point at the top, to, their Catalan rivals. Atleti have moved up to third place following their dire start, with an Antoine Griezmann goal securing a 1-0 victory over Deportivo, following a draw to Barcelona in midweek. Fourth placed Villarreal had a 3-1 win over Osasuna and fifth placed Athletic Bilbao beat Sevilla by the same scoreline. Elsewhere there was wins for Real Betis, Eibar, Celta Vigo and Alaves. Valencia picked up their second win in as many games as they beat Leganes 2-1, following Pako Aysteran’s sacking.

In Italy Champions Juventus continued their impressive start after requiring a Goldaniga own-goal to beat lowly Palermo. Although, it was by far the best performance they’ve had this season and would have struggled to beat most teams in the league on Saturday. Their game was followed by Napoli who also came out victorious after goals from Manolo Gabbiadini and Marek Hamsik. The latter was bringing up his ton for the side from Naples who sit one point behind the Champs, although they can boast an unbeaten record, something which Juve cannot. They are the only unbeaten side left in the division. Third placed Inter were held at home against Bologna, an Ivan Perisic goal cancelled out an early strike from Mattia Destro. Fourth placed Roma lost away from home to Joe Hart’s Torino. A goal from Andrea Belotti and two from Iago Falque, who is currently on loan at the Stadio Olimpico di Torino from Roma saw Torino come out victorious, although the headlines were stolen by Francesco Totti who scored his 250th league goal for Roma, after beating Joe Hart from the penalty spot. Goals from Senad Lulic and Balde Diao Keita gave Lazio a comfortable looking 2-0 victory over Empoli, who had probably the better of the chances but had clearly left their shooting boots at the Stadio Carlo Castellani. AC Milan were held by Fiorentina away from home to a 0-0 draw. Elsewhere there were wins for Sassuolo, Cagliari and Atalanta, meanwhile Genoa and Pescara played out a 1-1 draw.

In Germany Bayern maintained their 100% start after coming out victorious in their away clash against Hamburg. A late Joshua Kimmich goal ensured they stayed three points ahead of Borussia Dortmund. Thomas Tuchel’s side had pulled level with Bayern after beating SC Freiburg 3-1 on Friday evening, with their goals coming from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Lukasz Piszczek and Raphael Guerreiro. FC Koln drew with RB Leipzig in their delayed encounter after fan protests at Leipzig’s Red Bull ownership. This meant that both sides joined Bayern Munich in being unbeaten thus far this season. A 2-1 win for Hoffenheim over struggling Schalke saw them earn that same accolade as well. Although the win on Sunday was their first of the season. A 2-0 win for Borussia Monchengladbach over Ingolstadt saw them jump into fourth position behind Bayern, Dortmund and Koln. Bayer Leverkusen got their second win of the season following a goalfest at Mainz. Leverkusen won the game 3-2, after a Javier Hernandez hat trick, the match winner being scored in the 92nd minute. Elsewhere Augsburg beat Darmstadt and Werder Bremen beat Wolfsburg. 5th and 6th placed Eintracht Frankfurt and Hertha Berlin drew 3-3 in a 6 goal thriller at the Commerzbank-Arena.

In France unbeaten Nice overtook Monaco at the top following a 1-0 win at Nancy, and no, Mario Balotelli didn’t score that one, but he is in fine fettle for his new club having scored 4 goals in 2 games. Monaco beat Angers 2-1 to cement their position in second place, the goals coming from Kamil Glik and an own goal after the away side had taken the lead. Monaco needed to bounce back in style following a 4-0 demolition by Nice the match day prior. Toulouse jumped up into third position after a Friday evening mauling of Champions PSG, who had Serge Aurier sent off in the game that they lost to Toulouse 2-0. 17 year old Goalkeeper Alban Lafont was by far the man of the match as he single handedly held of the wealth of PSG’s attacking players, the goals came from Yann Bodiger from the penalty spot and Jimmy Durmaz. Fifth placed Bordeaux were held at home by Caen whilst 6th placed Metz and 7th placed Saint-Etienne both won to put pressure on Jocelyn Gourvennec’s side. Elsewhere there were wins for Lorient over Lyon, Marseille over Nantes, Bastia over Guingamp and Dijon over Rennes.

In Portugal Benfica continued their unbeaten start with a 2-0 win over Chaves, capitalising on Sporting Lisbon’s slip up to Rio Ave the weekend before. Sporting themselves bounced back to winning ways following a 4-2 win over Estoril. Porto, who alongside Sporting played on Friday evening also came out victorious, beating Boavista 3-1. That makes up the top 3 in Portugal, with Benfica leading the way, followed by Sporting 1 point adrift and then Porto two points further back in third. Fourth placed Braga beat Setubal 2-1 to keep within touching distance of Porto and Vitoria Guimaraes maintained their decent start by beating Moreirense 1-0. Elsewhere Belenenses and Arouca drew 1-1, whilst Nacional beat Feirense 2-0 and Pacos Ferreira beat Rio Ave 2-1.

In the Netherlands, Feyenoord made it 7 from 7 following a 5-0 desolation of Roda. Ajax tried to match them, but could only beat PEC Zwolle 5-1, and they currently lead the chasing pack, with PSV beating Excelsior 3-1 to match Ajax on 16 points. FC Twente, Utrecht and Heerenveen all came out with three points from their matches, and Groningen and Heracles, AZ Alkmaar and Go Ahead Eagles and NEC and Willem II all played out draws.

In Belgium Zulte Waregem beat Mechelen 3-2 to cement their position at the top of the table, with Anderlecht slipping up and losing to bottom placed Westerlo. Standard Liege beat Eupen 3-0 to jump to third matching Anderlecht’s record perfectly. Gent and Charleroi both can boast the exact same record as Anderlecht and Liege following their wins over Sint-Truiden and Oostende. Club Brugge beat Mouscron 3-0 to kickstart their season, whilst Genk fell to Kortrijk 4-1. Waasland-Beveren and Lokeren drew 1-1 in the only draw in Belgium this weekend.

In Switzerland FC Basel continued their unbelievable 100% record, as they won their ninth consecutive game of the season following their 3-1 win over FC St Gallen. This takes Basel onto 27 points with a majestic +22 goal difference. Young Boys are in second place and are already a massive 13 points behind Basel, could the fat lady be warming up her vocal chords already? Probably doesn’t help when YB failed to beat 7th placed Sion on Sunday, being held to a 0-0 draw away from home. Lausanne are also on 14 points and they beat Luzern 3-1 on Saturday. Lugano are also on 14 points following their 2-2 away draw against FC Thun. Grasshoppers beat FC Vaduz 2-1 in the final game of this match day.

A special mention to Turkey this week, as Besiktas and Galatasaray faced for the first renewal of the Istanbul derby. The game ended 2-2. The other Istanbul club Fenerbahce came out victorious in their game against Gaziantepspor. The league is currently led by Istanbul Basaksehir after their draw against Osmanlispor, Bursaspor jumped into second place following their 1-0 win over Kasimpasa. Besiktas follow in third, with Galatasaray in fourth position. Fenerbahce find themselves in 7th position. An interesting stat line has formed with the table in Turkey as well, five clubs are still without defeat this season, which is causing the table to become very clustered up.