Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

Soccer scores in Europe

Does Arsenal have the strength in depth to carry it off, or do the owners of the club want to use it as a cash cow, paying Arsene Wenger to do the impossible every year with limited budgets? Atlético and Barça are neck-and-neck in Spain with Real within striking distance. In Italy, Juventus did itself a huge favour by beating second-placed Roma 3-0.

Premiership (After 20 matches)

Arsenal (45) begins 2014 on top of the Premier League ahead of rivals Manchester City (44) and Chelsea (43). The matches took place on New Year's Day. Arsenal received and beat Cardiff City 2-0, Manchester City won 3-2 at Swansea, while Chelsea FC won 3-0 at Southampton

La Liga (After 18 matches)

Barcelona and Atlético share top spot with 49 points, Real Madrid is third on 44 points. Barcelona put four goals past Elche in the first game of the new year in the Spanish Primera Liga, while Atlético de Madrid beat Málaga 1-0 away, Koke getting the winner on 70 minutes. Real Madrid played Celta in Madrid on Monday evening and won 3-0, goals from Karim Benzema and a brace from Cristiano Ronaldo.

Bundesliga (After 17 matches)

Borussia Mönchengladbach (33) overtakes Dortmund (32), now in a race for second place together with Bayer Leverkusen (37) given that Bayern Munich (44) has a seven-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga... with a game in hand. Leverkusen went down 1-0 at Bremen, Borussia Mönchengladbach drew 2-2 at home with fifth-placed Wolfsburg, while Dortmund fell further behind, losing 2-1 at home to Hertha Berlin.

Serie A (After 18 matches)

Juventus (49), Roma (41), Napoli (39), Fiorentina 36. Juventus beat Roma 3-0 with goals from Vidal (17), Bonucci (48) and Vucinic, 77 (penalty). Fiorentina move into fourth place with a 1-0 win over Livorno. Napoli played on Monday night at home against Sampdoria and won with two goals from Dries Mertens.

Ligue 1 (After 19 matches)

Paris Saint-Germain leads on 44 points, ahead of AS Monaco FC (41), one point ahead of LOSC Lille. PSG drew 2-2 at home with Lille, while Monaco failed to take advantage, losing at home 2-1 with Valenciennes.

Primeira Liga (After 14 matches)

Sporting CP, FC Porto, Benfica, 1,2,3 on 33 points apiece. Benfica (2-0 winners at Setúbal) and FC Porto (4-0 over Olhanense) took advantage of Sporting's goalless home draw with Nacional (Madeira), to remain equal on points at the top as the Portuguese Premier League enters the new year.

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.

Fenerbahçe leads the Turkish league increasing the gap to eight points (41) over Galatasaray AS after 17 games.

In Armenia FC Ararat leads, 8 points clear, with 30 points from 14 games; in Azerbaijan, Qarabag leads with 36 points from 18 games, one ahead of Qäbälä; 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.


Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey