It’s taken roughly 88 games (it depends who you consider to have played ‘first’), but my teams have now collectively scored 100 goals this season, and some of them are running really well.
Metz, for example, pulled off a smash and grab this week against league leaders Lyon in France to move up to the top half, while Arminia grabbed a 3-0 win in Germany to open a gap on automatic relegation. Fulham look in the most trouble…
Spezia 13th place, 0-0 away to Torino.
What Spezia really need is to just keep chipping away towards a points total that will keep them up for an unlikely second season in Serie A, and this one is a great example. They were down to ten men after just 8 minutes – their third red card in four games – Luca Vignali the culprit this time.
After that it was always going to be tough, but oddly Spezia had the better of the chances in the first half and a couple of decent looks in the second half, too, before Torino started to dominate as they tired. Spezia have been consistently good away, but this has to be classed as a top result all things considered. They go up to 13th. A midweek win away to Roma in the Copa Italia, 4-2, didn’t do any harm either.
Arminia Bielefeld 0-0 vs Hoffenheim away and 3-0 vs Stuttgart at home, 15th place
Bielefeld have been on form recently, and their two results this week have given them a bit of breathing room in terms of staying up, and taken them to an impressive ten points from the last possible 15 (more than they’d managed in 12 games before this run).
Hoffenheim had the better of the first game, especially until the dying stages, but Japanese striker Doan had two great late chances for Bielefeld, who really could have snatched it.
Stuttgart have been great away this year, and their visit should have been a tough contest for Arminia, despite both clubs being newly promoted. Bielefeld were very comfortable, though, helped by both an own goal and an incredible flicked save with the back of his foot by their goalkeeper. A great win, though, that gives space on the automatic relegation spaces.
Fulham 0-1 v Chelsea at home and 1-2 v Man United at home, 18th place
Two fairly respectable results from Fulham this week, though they mark an end to their long run of draws, and Burnley’s unlikely win away at Liverpool means they really do look in trouble.
Against Chelsea, despite playing a chunk of the game with ten men, they were perhaps a little unlucky to get nothing: Chelsea are quite off colour at the moment, and Fulham had a couple of decent chances to score before they finally conceded a late winner to Mason Mount.
Against United, Fulham had the lead after Lookman sprung the offside trap. From then on it was predictable United dominance, though, and while Areola – who was otherwise good in the Fulham goal – should have done a lot better with the stop that led to Cavani’s goal, Pogba’s winner was top class. United deserved it, ultimately.
Elche CF 2-2 away to Valladolid, 18th place
Elche spent the weekend crashing out of the Copa Del Rey to cult second tier club Rayo Vallecano, but they won’t care about that if they manage to stay up, and it’ll be borderline. A draw against fellow strugglers Valladolid and their two games in hand give plenty of cause for hope.
Fernandez had Elche 2-0 up in the first half, from where the made a bit of a mess of things. Valladolid scrambled two very late goals, and even had a man sent off, to ensure the teams split the points in a game that was scrappy in the extreme.
Metz 1-0 away to Lyon, 10th place
Metz have been so above par this season that they’ve almost become less interetesting in the context of these blog posts, sitting as they do in an impressive 10th place in Ligue 1. This win might just be their best so far: league leaders Lyon were the hosts, and Metz’ away victory has knocked them off the top.
Lyon had the better of the first half, though Metz could have led, denied only by a real goalmouth scramble just before the break. The second was half was somewhat similar: Lyon in control, right up until a dying seconds breakaway snatched the points for Metz. A little lucky, perhaps, but defensively, Metz have now conceded just one in the last five.
Overall stats (all five teams):
Played 90 Won 21 Drawn 29 Lost 40
Goals for 102 Goals against 124
Average score – 1.13-1.37