Messi bagged four goals, Real Madrid lost and Lazio striker Ciro Immobile broke a 61-year goalscoring record. Here are the Winners and Losers European football: February 21-23. Bet on football here.
Barcelona’s title bid
Defending champions Barcelona moved above rivals Real Madrid and back to the top of La Liga after a 5-0 win over Eibar on Saturday. Lionel Messi bagged four goals to give Quique Setien’s men an important win ahead of a huge Champions League tie clash with Napoli. That was Barca’s 12th home win out of 13 this campaign. To put it into perspective, Setien’s men can open a five-point lead if they beat second-placed Real Madrid in next Sunday’s El Clasico showdown.
Ciro Immobile became the first player in 61 years to reach 27 Serie A goals after 25 matches as Lazio registered another comfortable 3-2 win away from home. The record for most goals in a Serie A campaign is held by current Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain, who scored 36 in 35 games for Napoli in the 2015/16 season. With 13 games left to play, the record is within his sights. Sunday’s goal at Genoa took him to 116 goals in 166 games for Lazio. His goal scoring form this season has also helped Lazio challenge for the title as they hope to break Juventus’ monopoly. The last time Lazio won the Scudetto was in the year 1999/2000, which remains their only Serie A title since 1974.
Over 2.5 Goals bettors in La Liga
It was an entertaining weekend in La Liga which saw Over 2.5 Goals in eight of the ten matches played. Real Madrid’s match at Levante saw them lose 1-0 while 10-man Celta Vigo won 1-0 against fellow relegation battlers Leganes. In total, 32 goals were scored this weekend.
Eden Hazard and Real Madrid
Eden Hazard’s debut season at Real Madrid has been a nightmare since joining from Chelsea in summer 2019. He endured fresh injury misery on Saturday in Real’s loss to Levante. The Belgium international suffered a microfracture in his ankle in November that saw him ruled out of action for three months and picked up a similar problem on Saturday. His club confirmed after the game he is set for more time on the sidelines. Zinedine Zidane’s side fell to a 1-0 defeat at Levante, dropping off the top of the La Liga standings. The defeat was crucial considering they host Barcelona in the El Clasico this coming Sunday. This wasn’t the ideal preparation for another huge showdown with Manchester City in the Champions League.
Olympique Marseille’s title hunt
Olympique Marseille’s Ligue 1 title challenge suffered a significant setback when they were beaten 3-1 by Nantes at home on Saturday. Marseille were unbeaten in 14 games, stretching all the way back to October. With PSG winning a 4-3 thriller with Bordeaux, Andre Villas-Boas side are now 13 points behind the defending champions.
Los Che suffered their fourth defeat in five games when they were hammered 3-0 by Real Sociedad. Albert Celades’s team went into this match on the back of an embarrassing 4-1 defeat to Atalanta in the UEFA Champions League that has left them on the brink of elimination from Europe’s top competition. They have conceded 14 goals in their last five games. Can they get out of this rut?
Neymar was sent off late on as Paris St-Germain came from behind to get back to winning ways against Bordeaux. The Brazilian was shown a second yellow card for a late challenge on Yacine Adli in stoppage time and will, therefore, be suspended for Saturday’s home game against Dijon.