Top teams consolidate positions
With the Premiership on FA Cup duty this weekend, all eyes were turned to the reopening of the Bundesliga, where Bayern Munich reinforced its position at the top, and the exciting Spanish Liga, where three teams battle it out for top spot with one point separating them and with Cristiano Ronaldo on fire for Real Madrid.
La Liga (After 21 matches)
Wins for the top three in La Liga, leaving Barcelona and Atlético Madrid locked together on 54 points and Real one point behind. Barcelona received Malaga and won 3-0, Piqué scoring before the break and Pedro Rodríguez and Alexis Sánchez adding two more in the second half; Atlético travelled across Madrid to Rayo Vallecano's stadium to win 4-2 with goals from Villa, two from Arda Turan and Saúl Ñiguez (o.g.); Real Madrid saw off Granada at the Bernabeu, with second-half goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Benzema.
Bundesliga (After 18 matches)
FC Bayern München leads on 47 points with a game in hand, ten points clear of Bayer Leverkusen. Borussia Dortmund and VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach follow on 33 points. Bayern won away at Mönchengladbach 2-0; Dortmund drew 2-2 with Augsburg at home and Leverkusen lost 3-2 at Freiburg. Bayern, ever-nearer the title under Guardiola (photo).
Serie A (After 21 matches)
Juventus 56 points, AS Roma 50, SCC Napoli 44. Of the top three, Roma was the only one to pick up the three points, winning 3-1 at Verona, while Juventus drew 1-1 at Lazio and Napoli was held at home by Cheivo, with the same score.
Ligue 1 (After 22 matches)
AS Monaco took advantage of the draw between Paris Saint-Germain (away) and Guingamp (1-1) and Lille (1-1 at home with Rennes) by beating Marseille 2-0, leaving PSG on 51 points, Monaco three behind and Lille back on 41 in third place.
Premiership (After 22 matches)
Last week, wins for the top three in the Premier League, Arsenal (51) sinking Fulham 2-0 with a brace of goals from Santi Cazorla, Manchester City (50) thumping four past Carfiff (4-2), goals from Dzeko, Jesús Navas, Y. Touré and Aguero; Chelsea (49) added to Manchester United's miserable Fergusonless season 3-1 with a hat-trick from Samuel Eto'o. This week, the English Leagues played in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Primeira Liga (After 16 matches)
This week, the Portuguese Leagues were negaged in the League Cup. From last week, Benfica, Sporting and Porto lead the Portuguese League. Benfica (39) beat Marítimo (Madeira) 2-0 with goals from Rodrigo, Sporting CP (37) won 2-1 at Arouca and FC Porto (36) beat Setúbal easily, 3-0.
Turkish League (After 18 matches)
Fenerbahçe leads the Turkish league increasing the gap to ten points Galatasaray AS after 18 games. Fenerbahçe has 44 points, Galatasaray 34, with Sivasspor and Kasimpasa on 32.
Russian Premier League (After 19 matches)
The Russian Premier is hot, hot, hot. Zenit recovered with a 2-1 win over Ural and is equal first (40 points) with Lokomotiv (drawless home game with Rubin). Spartak Moskva is third with 39 points (1-0 winner at Rostov). Dinamo Moskva (35) beat Amkar 2-0 in Moscow, while CSKA (34) lost 1-0 at Krasnodar. The championship resumes in March.
In Armenia FC Ararat leads, 8 points clear, with 30 points from 14 games. The Championship resumes in March; in Azerbaijan, Qarabag leads with 36 points from 18 games, one ahead of Qäbälä. The championship resumes at the end of January; in Belarus after 32 games, BATE Borisov is the Champion. In Kazakhstan, FC Aktobe is champion.
In Ukraine after 18 games, the top spot belongs to Shakhtar Donetsk (41 points), five points ahead of Dynamo Kyiv. Metalist Kharkiv (36) and Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (35) follow in third and fourth place, both with a game in hand. The championship resumes in March.