Football Across Europe: December 13-18 (Recapped)

English Premier League

Everton vs. Arsenal: Red-hot Arsenal have a chance to move (temporarily) into the top spot in the Premier League with a win at Everton on Tuesday. Alexis Sánchez and Mesut Özil will try to continue their fine form in front of net and extend the longest unbeaten streak of the season. Meanwhile, the Toffees can move into seventh with a victory and put a mediocre start to the season behind them.

Result: Everton 2 – 1 Arsenal: Though Alexis Sánchez continued his torrent form and put Arsenal ahead twenty minutes in, Everton got a goal just before half and an Ashley Williams header in the 86th minute to capture all three points at the Gunners’ expense. 

Sunderland vs. Chelsea: Speaking of streaks, Chelsea take a scintillating nine-match win streak into their mid-week trip to the Northeast to face Sunderland. Three points clear atop the table, Antonio Conte’s men could strengthen their grip on the title race if league-leading goal-scorer Diego Costa keeps burying his chances. In this first-against-worst clash, Sunderland would be lucky to hold on for a point against Eden Hazard and company.

Result: Sunderland 0 – 1 Chelsea: Cesc Fàbregas goal on 40 minutes was all table-leading Chelsea needed to continue their winning ways against relegation-risk Sunderland. 

Manchester City vs. Watford: It’s gut-check time for Manchester City, who have dropped their last two EPL fixtures and need three points at home against Watford to stay relevant in the title race. With Sergio Agüero suspended, Kevin de Bruyne and Raheem Sterling should be relied upon against Watford, who are surprisingly seventh in the table.

Result: Manchester City 2 – 0 Watford: A Pablo Zabaleta goal in the 33rd minute would have been enough at the Etihad, but David Silva added late insurance as City saw it through against Watford as they sought to keep pace in the title race. Manager Pep Guardiola was no doubt pleased to see City keep the clean sheet. 

Middlesbrough vs. Liverpool: Liverpool, coming off a 2-2 draw at Anfield over the weekend with West Ham, travel to newly promoted side Middlesbrough on Wednesday. Having dropped five points and conceded six goals their previous two fixtures, Liverpool will welcome Boro’s league-low scoring record and look to return to their winning ways as they try to keep pace with the table leaders. Reds striker Divock Origi, in the starting XI for injured Philippe Coutinho, has four goals in his last four matches.

Result: Middlesbrough 0 – 3 Liverpool: Liverpool, also looking to stay in the title race and put recent poor form behind them, took all three points from Riverside Stadium through a double from Adam Lallana and Divock Origi’s fifth goal in his last five matches. 

Bundesliga (Germany)

Darmstadt 98 vs. Bayern Munich: Thanks to a 1-0 RB Leipzig defeat on Saturday and a 5-0 trouncing of Wolfsburg, Bayern Munich are now back to their usual spot atop the Bundesliga table, though still level on points with RB Leipzig. On Sunday, they travel to take on last place Darmstadt 98 and will look to add a further three points to their league title defense campaign. Arjen Robben, Robert Lewandowski, and Thomas Muller all found the net against Wolfsburg.

Result: Darmstadt 98 0 – 1 Bayern Munich: Enjoying nearly 80% possession, Bayern Munich defeated last-place Darmstadt on Sunday through a Douglas Costa goal in the 71st minute. A Red Bull Leipzig victory on Saturday, though, means the clubs remain level atop the Bundesliga table. 

Serie A (Italy)

Juventus vs. AS Roma: Saturday will see the top two teams in the Serie A table clash at Juventus stadium. Juve is fresh off a 3-1 victory in the Torino derby and Roma travels on the heels of a victory at home over AC Milan. New Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuaín doubled over the weekend, and looks to continue his fine form. Roma is unbeaten in their last five fixtures in all competitions and will be hungry to cut into Juve’s four-point table lead.

Result: Juventus 1 – 0 AS Roma: Though both teams saw chances, it was an early goal from in-form Gonzalo Higuain that saw Juventus victorious over the challengers  from Rome. Roma now finds themselves seven points back of table-leading Juve, with Napoli, Lazio, and AC Milan right on their heels. 

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