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.
So, five of these are incoming – as much as I’m enjoying the weekly write ups, I couldn’t bring myself to spend my Christmas trying to follow the day-by-day in five different European leagues, so one big bulk review per club in the aftermath it is.
I left Elche here:
Which is, let’s be honest, a hell of a start to the season for relegation favourites in what’s widely considered to be one of Europe’s toughest leagues. Since I left them, Elche have had five league games and two cup games (the second of which is, bizarrely, being played at 11am pretty much as I write this – I don’t know, either!). An exceptionally busy Christmas period that hasn’t gone well at all…
First off was a vibrant contest with Granada, in which both teams created penty of chances, though Granada certainly had the better of them, and deserved to come out one nil winners. Some of the saves in this game are really quite exceptional…
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).
Welcome to a winning week – we’re starting to upset the odds! As it stands, ust one of my five relegation favourites are in the drop zone, and this week we got first league wins of the seasons for Arminia Bielefled, Spezia Calcio and Elche CF. The long-shots are taking shape…
Bundesliga: Arminia Bielefeld (5/6 on to be relegated) 1-0 at home to FC Koln
What a start to the season for Bielefeld, one that, amazingly considering the holders won 8-0 on the opening day, puts them above Bayern in the latest Bundesliga table, and outside the European places on goals scored.
Of course, Arminia haven’t played anyone that good yet (they’ve even lucky enough to have an indifferent Werder Bremen next), but points mean prizes, and Koln, who haven’t won a league game since March, are likely to be one of the teams Arminia are ultimately fighting to finish above.
This was a game of not many chances, but a glorious cameo in the form of substitute Joan Simun Edmundsson, a lad from the Faroe Islands who became the first-ever player from that corner of the globe to play in the Bundesliga. He promptly marked the occasion with a brilliant takedown and finish from a ludicrously tight angle to win the game.
Koln should have taken at least a point, and looked pretty toothless up top, but who cares. One of my teams is flying unexpectedly high…