RC Lens handed PSG their first league defeat of the season on Sunday and fell four points behind the capital club in the standings. Across the Channel, Arsenal cemented their lead after Manchester City’s draw. And in Spain, Barça and Real Madrid continue neck and neck at the top of La Liga.
RC Lens drops PSG, OL sees podium slip
Sang et Or handed PSG their first defeat of the season on Sunday, January 1 (3-1). In this matchday 17 clash between the top two, RC Lens got the best of the Parisians, who were bereft of Lionel Messi (on leave) and Neymar (suspended) and this time Kylian Mbappe could not save his team as it was against Strasbourg. On Wednesday – he won in the last second (2-1).
Playing at the incandescent Bollaert Stadium, Lensois were able to rely on a superb evening – scorer and passer – from Loïs Openda to move back to within four points of PSG in the standings. They also use this prestigious success to take their points lead to seven over Olympique de Marseille (3rd), who play in Montpellier on Monday (19:00).
Trailing Monaco (4th) bounced back to OM over Brest (1-0) thanks to a superb strike from Russia’s Alexander Golovin. The podium, Olympique Lyonnais, is far from a penalty at the end of the match by the Austrian Muhammed Cham (86th), after losing at home to Clermont (1-0). A real setback. The revolution of the new coach Laurent Blanc is not going forward. After their impressive win at Brest (4-2), the Rhodians (8th) drop another step back and are nine points behind OM, two lengths behind the day’s winner.
“Arsenal” drives away “Manchester City”, “United” wins its fifth victory
Arsenal capitalized on another Manchester City misstep on Saturday to extend their gap at the top of the Premier League, seven points behind the reigning champions. The Gunners defeated “Brighton” (2-4) on the 18th day, while “Citizens” defeated “Everton” (1:1) at home.
Emboldened by a poor result from their arch-rivals half an hour earlier, Mikel Arteta’s men did not allow Brighton to doubt them, scoring four goals and displaying cold realism at key moments. The Gunners will begin a crucial month of January in the title race, hosting Newcastle (January 3), visiting Tottenham (January 15) and Manchester United (January 22).
Already on loan from Leeds on Wednesday, despite a clear victory (3-1), the Citizens could not beat Everton (1-1). The two points against 16th in the table are reminiscent of a poor performance against Brentford at the Etihad Stadium in the previous league match (1-2, November 12). It should also be noted that Erling Haaland scored the 27th club goal of the season in all competitions.
Finally, Manchester United held Wolverhampton to their fifth successive win (0-1) in all competitions, which allows them to move into the Top 4 for the first time this season, two points ahead of Tottenham Hotspur and two ahead of Newcastle. Didn’t get the best of Leeds (0-0). While Erik ten Hag’s men did not really dominate their opponents (18th), they were able to rely mainly on the accuracy of Marcus Rashford, who scored in the 76th minute after being benched for disciplinary reasons in the first half.
“Barcelona” draws, Benzema wins “Real Madrid”.
FC Barcelona were mixed (1-1) during the derby against Espanyol Barcelona on the 15th day of La Liga at the Camp Nou on Saturday, but ended 2022 level with Real Madrid (38 points) at the top. Winner Friday at Valladolid (0-2).
In this match, the speech of the referee Mateu Lahoz, already in the spotlight after his controversial refereeing in the 2022 World Cup 2022 World Cup quarter-final between Argentina and the Netherlands, has ignited the Spanish press. In the last half hour of the game, the Valencia referee drew seven yellow cards in six minutes and even sent off two players (Jordi Alba and Vinicius Souza) for protests, leaving the two teams 10 against ten.
After an injury that ruled him out of the 2022 World Cup, Karim Benzema scored twice to give Real Madrid a 2-0 win on Friday. As they made a big return to the competition, the Merengues found fault in the 83rd on a penalty only to be converted by ‘KB9’. Helped by Sergio Leon’s red card for an affront to the fourth official (83rd), Benzema then doubled his bet with compatriot Eduardo Camavinga’s excellent service from the penalty spot (89th).
Real Sociedad, on the other hand, strengthened its position on the 3rd place in the tournament after its success over its neighbor Osasuna (2:0). The success leaves Real Sociedad nine points clear of Real and Barça and five ahead of Villarreal, who are seventh in Europe after Saturday’s 2-1 win over Valencia CF.