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Soccer Insights – Dec Vol. 4

A final round-up from 2014 as teams across Continental Europe shuffle for position ahead of the winter break, while the Premier League prepares for the busiest part of the season.

Premier League
Aston Villa 1-1 Manchester United
Hull 0-1 Swansea
Liverpool 2-2 Arsenal
Manchester City 3-0 Crystal Palace
Newcastle 0-1 Sunderland
QPR 3-2 West Brom
Southampton 3-0 Everton
Stoke 0-2 Chelsea
Tottenham 2-1 Burnley
West Ham 2-0 Leicester

1. Chelsea 42pts
2. Man City 39pts
3. Man United 32pts
4. West Ham 31pts
5. Southampton 29pts

Talking points
• A dramatic match at Anfield saw Liverpool get out of jail with a 97th minute equaliser from Martin Skrtel, meaning the Reds will spend Christmas Day in 10th place.
• Playing in non-League football just five years ago, Charlie Austin hit a hattrick as QPR came from two behind to beat West Brom. The striker has 11 league goals for the season.
• Adam Johnson was the hero for Sunderland as his last-minute strike earned the Wearsiders a fourth consecutive derby win over their Tyneside neighbours.

La Liga

Athletic Bilbao 1-4 Atletico Madrid
Barcelona 5-0 Cordoba
Celta Vigo 0-1 Almeria
Eibar 0-1 Valencia
Elche 1-2 Malaga
Granada 1-1 Getafe
Levante 1-1 Real Sociedad
Rayo Vallecano 1-3 Espanyol
Villarreal 3-0 Deportivo

1. Real Madrid 39pts
2. Barcelona 38pts
3. Atletico Madrid 35pts
4. Valencia 31pts
5. Villarreal 30pts

Talking points
• Luis Suarez finally netted his first La Liga goal for Barcelona as they wrapped up the year with a convincing home win.
• Antoine Griezmann became the first French player to score a La Liga hattrick since Thierry Henry in 2008 as Atletico came from behind to thrash Bilbao.
• Real Madrid didn’t have a game as they were busy winning the Club World Cup in Morocco.


Augsburg 2-1 Borussia Monchengladbach
Bayer Leverkusen 1-1 Frankfurt
Freiburg 2-2 Hannover
Hertha Berlin 0-5 Hoffenheim
Mainz 1-2 Bayern Munich
Schalke 0-0 Hamburg
Stuttgart 0-0 Paderborn
Werder Bremen 2-1 Borussia Dortmund
Wolfsburg 2-1 Koln

1. B. Munich 45pts
2. Wolfsburg 34pts
3. B. Leverkusen 28pts
4. B. M’gladbach 27pts
5. Schalke 27pts

Talking points
• Bayern fell behind after conceded only their fourth league goal of the season, and needed a last minute goal from Arjen Robben to sit 11 points clear at Christmas.
• Dortmund will spend the winter break in the relegation zone after another loss. Despite the cliché of being ‘too good to go down’, it is starting to become a distinct reality.

Serie A

Atalanta 3-3 Palermo
Cagliari 1-3 Juventus
Fiorentina 1-1 Empoli
Inter 2-2 Lazio
Napoli 2-0 Parma
Roma 0-0 AC Milan
Sampdoria 2-2 Udinese
Sassuolo 1-1 Cesena
Torino 2-1 Genoa
Verona 0-1 Chievo

1. Juventus 39pts
2. Roma 36pts
3. Lazio 27pts
4. Napoli 27pts
5. Sampdoria 27pts

Talking points
• Roma lost ground on Juventus after a frustrating goalless draw with Milan, in a game where Nigel de Jong got away with a blatant handball in the box.
• In the other Rome v Milan battle, Inter came from two down to salvage a draw with Lazio.
• After a loss to Napoli, Parma have just six points from 16 games and at this stage look a certainty to be relegated.

Ligue 1

Bordeaux 0-5 Lyon
Caen 1-1 Bastia
Lens 2-0 Nice
Lorient 1-2 Nantes
Marseille 2-1 Lille
Metz 0-1 Monaco
PSG 0-0 Montpellier
Rennes 1-3 Reims
St Etienne 3-0 Evian
Toulouse 1-1 Guingamp

1. Marseille 41pts
2. Lyon 39pts
3. PSG 38pts
4. St Etienne 36pts
5. Monaco 32pts

Talking points
• Lyon scored three times in the final ten minutes to record a stunning 5-0 win in Bordeaux and climb above PSG into second.
• The Parisians dropped more points with a stalemate against Montpellier and will enter the break in third place despite just one league defeat.

What to look out for next week
As most European leagues take a break for the winter, the Premier League is in full swing with fixtures throughout the holiday period. There are a full ten games on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. Here are some of the more eye-catching games:

• Chelsea v West Ham – Dec 26th
• Man United v Newcastle – Dec 26th
• Tottenham v Man United – Dec 28th
• West Ham v Arsenal – Dec 28th
• Southampton v Arsenal – Jan 1st
• Tottenham v Chelsea – Jan 1st

Happy Holidays!

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Greg Bortkiewicz