It was another extended weekend of soccer action across Europe as wild results were delivered across the Premier League, Bundesliga, Serie A and even Ligue 1. La Liga was on pause as Real Madrid beat CA Osasuna to claim their first Copa del Rey title in nearly 10 years. From a crazy Monday at the wrong end of the EPL to Alexandre Lacazette and Elye Wahi netting a combined eight goals in a nine-goal thriller between Olympique Lyonnais and Montpellier HSC, we make sure that nothing slipped under the radar.
Leicester and Leeds on the brink
Monday’s slate of Premier League games always looked likely to deliver drama at the foot of the table but the trio of fixtures surpassed all expectations. Everton stunned Brighton and Hove Albion 5-1 away from home while Leicester City went down 5-3 to Fulham and Nottingham Forest edged Southampton 4-3. The Saints are surely Championship-bound now, but the Foxes might now be as well with Leeds United no better off after losing 2-1 to Manchester City. Sean Dyche looks like he might belatedly save the Toffees from the drop after all while Steve Cooper’s Tricky Trees might just about have enough after a strong show of home support and big contributions from players who have costs considerable sums of money in the past 12 months or so. Sam Allardyce has his work cut out for him with Leeds and could well take the Whites down having done the same with West Bromwich Albion last time out and Leicester’s gamble on Dean Smith look unlikely to pay off given their continued slide. With just three games to go and tough matches for all concerned later this week, these could be the decisive days in the battle against the drop.
Hertha win yet remain endangered
It was a big weekend at the bottom in Germany as well where American-owned Hertha Berlin have three games to separate themselves from the bottom of the Bundesliga despite a 2-1 win over VfB Stuttgart. Pal Dardai is looking to pull off his 2021 feat of keeping Die Alte Dame in the German topflight and those chances should have been boosted by this narrow victory. However, Augsburg, Hoffenheim and Schalke (as late as late can be) also won to pull clear of the relegation zone which means that Hertha now have to target the relegation playoff spot — three points away — as their most likely route to salvation. Second from bottom VfL Bochum visit in the penultimate round, but Koln and Wolfsburg away are hardly ideal games around that with Stuttgart’s tricky run against Bayer Leverkusen and Mainz possibly offering hope that things could go down to the wire. Owners 777 have a mixed record in terms of their properties with foreign ownership an extremely contentious topic in Germany and immediate relegation not exactly an ideal entry scenario.
Lacazette and Wahi go goal crazy
Arsenal supporters might be surprised to know that the name currently preventing Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe from leading the way at the top of the Ligue 1 scoring charts is none other than former Gunner Alexandre Lacazette. The 31-year-old former France international is back with formative club Olympique Lyonnais and helped Les Gones to a pulsating 5-4 home win over Montpellier HSC this past weekend with four goals to move level with Mbappe on 24. Most impressive about the wild score line was the fact that Lacazette was equaled by La Paillade’s Elye Wahi who also scored four times in one of the most high scoring games of the French season. The 20-year-old is wanted by a number of European clubs including Arsenal’s bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Olympique de Marseille but few expected Lacazette to be challenging for top scorer status., yet the seven-time domestic champions are not yet guaranteed to be returning to European competition next season with the American expected to ring the changes this summer now that Aulas is no longer there to maintain the status quo.
De Paul on Griezmann leadership
Antoine Griezmann is in the some of the best form of his recent career right now after starring for France at the FIFA 2022 World Cup in Qatar midseason. The 32-year-old has four goals and four assists from his last five La Liga outings with Atletico Madrid as part of an overall haul of 14 goals and 13 assists for Diego Simeone’s men across all competitions. Teammate Rodrigo De Paul recently told CBS Sports exclusively that Griezmann remains an important leadership figure for Atleti despite losing out to Kylian Mbappe for Les Bleus’ armband: “I do not know what happened with France as we were all playing for our national teams,” said the Argentine World Cup winner. “Antoine is a leader inside and outside the soccer field, though. He is a very important individual and he always gives you very good advice. Of course, he is a leader — certainly.” De Paul also revealed to CBS Sports how much the Albiceleste success meant to club boss Simeone: “Cholo was very happy,” added De Paul. “Not only because of us, but because he is a fellow Argentine. I know that he was at the World Cup final and was always in close contact with us via text messages. We did receive a very warm welcome when we returned to Madrid. There are many Argentines in the club staff too and we shared our happiness together.”
Mourinho’s Roma suddenly off color
Since reaching the UEFA Europa League semifinals, Jose Mourinho’s AS Roma have gone on a damaging run of two draws and two losses to rival European hopefuls. Atalanta and Inter both got the better of the Giallorossi while a home draw to Milan and a point of the road at Monza have left Roma looking upwards towards continental qualification with a five-point gap now between them and a potential UEFA Champions League berth for next season. Obviously, that is less of a problem if Mourinho leads his team to UEL glory at the expense of Leverkusen and one of Juventus or Sevilla, but there is a risk that what looked like a promising end of term just a few weeks ago turns into a bit of a damp squib.