No wins at all for my strugglers this week, unless you count overachieving Spezia’s dumping Bologna out of the Coppa Italia (a win, sure, but I’m not really covering the cups).
We also had two ‘re-entries’ into the drop zone, with Arminia and Fulham slipping back after all five sides have briefly been out of their respective bottom threes. Here’s how a relatively quiet week went down…
Premier League: Fulham (evens to go down) 2-3 at home to Everton
Everton scored with pretty much the first meaningful bit of play in this game, and that pretty much sums up how fit for the premier league Fulham have been so far.
In fairness, for all that awful start, Fulham conjured up quite a lot against an Everton team who should have been out of sight, given how much they were creating.
Another awful penalty miss cost them, though, and coming back from 3-1 was always going to be a big ask against one of the form teams in the premier league. They still hang on outside the drop zone, but it’s hard to see that lasting with Leicester, Man City and Liverpool the next three (it didn’t Burnley won on Monday – Ed).
La Liga: Elche CF (8/15 to go down), 1-1 away to Levante
A fiery looking draw in this Valencia derby looked like a solid contest with both sides playing nice football, though Elche will likely be slightly disappointed not to have got more from it, with Levante currently struggling near the bottom.
Both sides could have won a game that saw both goalkeepers making strong saves in some fairly fast-paced action. The result is Elche’s second 1-1 draw on the trot, and sees them remain in the top half with games in hand, a great start to the season.
I’m increasingly keen to see this lot play, perhaps they’ll be a chance when the travel restrictions are over.
Serie A: Spezia (1/4 on to go down) 0-0 at home to Atalanta
I’m starting to feel increasingly confident about Spezia, with the newcomers showing plenty of fight. Sure, they were probably a little lucky to get a result at home to Atalanta this week, but the high-flying visitors went on to pillage Liverpool at Anfield in their next game, a notoriously difficult fixture, so that shows how well Spezia are going.
Spezia are still without a home win, which is about the only blight, really. In this game, both sides hit the post and Atalanta dominated late on, but couldn’t breakthrough. I have a theory that the lack of crowds is actually benefitting teams like Spezia, as it takes away the intensity of the game in what would otherwise be a really pressured situation for newcomers.
A 4-2 extra-time win against Bologna in the Coppa Italia in midweek didn’t do any harm, either.
FC Metz (1/6 on to go down), 1-1 away to Nantes
Metz are now undefeated in an incredible 8 games, and probably have a decent shot of making it 9, too, with struggling Brest at home next week.
Metz were probably a little bit lucky in this one, though, with Nantes having the better of the game in general, and the Metz equaliser coming from a dodgy looking penalty for handball from extremely close range.
Still, barring a huge flop in form, relegation already looks unlikely.
Bundesliga: Arminia Bielefeld (5/6 on to be relegated) 1-2 at home to Bayer Leverkusen
Arminia Bielefeld’s horrible run extended to six straight losses last weekend, and with RB Leipzig up next, doesn’t look like improving soon. They’ve finally dropped into the relegation zone, too.
It took until the dying seconds for Bayer to win this one, though in truth it was a gift to Bielefeld that they were even in this game, with their only decent ‘effort on goal’ an absolute howler from the Bayer ‘keeper off a back pass.
They firmly deserved to lose, much improvement needed.
The stats (across my five teams, league games only)
Played 43 Won 11 Drawn 12 Lost 20
Goals for 45 Goals against 64
Average score – 1.05-1.49