IT’S was another exciting weekend of European action.
Neymar-less Paris Saint-Germain kicked off the weekend’s action with a 3-0 victory over last season’s title challengers Nice on Friday night.
While, Real Madrid were beaten by a La Liga debutant for the first time in 27 years as Girona claimed a Catalan victory just days after the region declared itself independent from Spain.
Over in Italy, it was Juventus who won the weekend’s biggest clash as under-fire Gonzalo Higuain popped up with two well-worked goals to down AC Milan at the San Siro.
And Benevento made it 11 defeats from 11 with a 5-1 reverse at home to Lazio. Ciro Immobile’s strike making it a whopping 15 league goals for the season so far — which is more than anyone in Europe’s top five leagues.
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Here’s a look at some of the big talking points from around the continent.
La Liga title race already over?
Real Madrid slipped eights points behind Barcelona following their shock loss at Girona, while Cristiano Ronaldo continues to struggle in front of goal with just ONE in La Liga so far.
Their problems are not just in attack, though as Casemiro, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos remarkably giving the ball away a total of 40 times at the Estadi Montilivi.
It’s difficult to explain exactly what is going wrong at the Bernabeu, with Marco Asensio also struggling for form.
Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid are enduring a torrid start to the campaign despite being undefeated.
Five wins and five draws and just the two league goals for Antoine Griezmann has seen them fall eight points behind Barcelona.
It looks as though the Catalan side’s biggest challengers might, remarkably, be Valencia this season who are quietly plodding along in second place.
Ayew keeps Hammers ahead of Zaza
Much of Valencia’s early success this season is down to the goal scoring prowess of Simone Zaza.
The Italian has scored nine times — including a hat-trick during a 5-0 win over Malaga.
And Zaza, who left West Ham after scoring no goals in 11 games, even beat Lionel Messi to win the September player of the month award in La Liga.
His ninth of the campaign came in the early kick-off on Saturday, which finished moments before Slaven Bilic’s men travelled to Crystal Palace still stuck on eight goals Premier League for the season.
Javier Hernandez’s opener brought the Hammers level with their former striker, before Andre Ayew edged them in front with their tenth of the campaign.
West Ham lead for now — but it promises to be a closely fought contest.
Hig’s Zlat trick
Higuain’s profligacy in front of goal — coupled the incredible scoring feats of Paulo Dybala — have led to intense criticism.
But in arguably Juventus’ toughest game of the season so far, he answered those critics with a match-winning double to beat Milan 2-0.
And, in doing so, he joined an exclusive club with just one very important member.
Higuain became only the second player to score 100 league goals in two of Europe’s top five leagues: 107 with Real Madrid in La Liga and now 101 in Italy (71 for Napoli and 30 for Juventus).
The only other person to do that?
Zlatan Ibrahimovic: 122 in Italy (23 for Juventus, 57 for Inter Milan and 42 for Milan) and 113 for PSG in Ligue 1.
Jupp Heynckes’ return has been had a double-whammy affect in Germany.
Not only have Bayern Munich improved — but Borussia Dortmund have suffered a drastic drop in form.
On the day he was hired, the Bavarians were in third place, and six points behind their Der Klassiker rivals.
However, the wily old fox has notched up three wins on the spin in the Bundesliga with Dortmund picking up just one point since.
Their 4-2 loss at Hannover was their second in three games since Heynckes’ arrival.
Dortmund are now looking up at Bayern, who are three points ahead in first place.
The title race in France was effectively over before a ball had even been kicked.
Not only had PSG signed the two most expensive players of all-time, nearest rivals Monaco had been forced to sell off their best players.
But the battle for second is getting more intriguing every week.
The position is currently occupied by Monaco — but Nantes are just five points behind in fifth place, with Lyon and Marseille in between.
Claudio Ranieri has done an incredible job at Nantes, while Marseille are now undefeated in seven.
Lyon’s youngsters are one of the most exciting sides to watch in Europe while unpredictable Monaco have the ability to beat a rival 6-1 one week and lose 4-0 to another the next — literally!
New Marco Silva?
Marco Silva may be be seen as the new Jose Mourinho, but the Watford boss my have a successor from his homeland sooner than he would have expected.
Ranieri’s predecessor at Nantes, Sergio Conceicao, took over as manager of Porto in the summer and has enjoyed a scintillating start to life in the dug-out of his former club.
The Dragons have had to watch from afar as Benfica romped to title victories in each of the past four seasons.
True enough, trophy hunter Iker Casillas is yet to win any silverware since joining from Real Madrid in 2015.
But that could be about to change with Conceicao having led his former club to nine victories and one draw from their first ten outings.
At the weekend, Porto claimed a big victory, winning 3-0 away to city rivals Boavista.
Parma could be on course to make history with a third-successive promotion — and return to Serie A.
In 2015, the club liquidated and the iconic 90s side ceased to exist.
Parma 1913 rose out of the ashes in its place and began their journey in Serie D, Italy’s fourth tier.
They won the title in their first season and, in their second, were promoted to Serie B via the play-offs before being taken over by wealthy Chinese owners.
Now in Italy’s second tier, they sense history and the weekend’s 2-0 victory saw them rise to second before dropping to fourth on goal difference following other results.