Kai Havertz delivered the first installment on his £65m travel fee when he headed home Bukayo Saka’s cross to propel Arsenal to a 1-0 win over stubborn Brentford. Victory lifted Mikel Arteta’s Gunners to the summit of Premier League standings where they sit a point above reigning champions Manchester City who could only draw one-all with Liverpool. Aston Villa moved above Tottenham Hotspur into fourth place, level on 28 points with the Kop by outmanouvering Spurs 2-1 via goals from Pau Torres and Ollie Watkins.
In the lower echelons of the standings, Sheffield United conceded three first half goals to fall 1-3 to Andoni Iraola’s rejuvenated Bournemouth despite Ollie McBurnie’s late consolation. Paul Heckingbottom’s newly promoted side are joined in the relegation doldrums by Vincent Kompany’s Burnley who surrendered a 1-0 lead to fall 1-2 to visiting West Ham United. Luton Town, the third newcomers moved four points above the drop zone by out-dueling Crystal Palace 2-1.
Real Madrid seized leadership of Liga Santander by steam rolling Cadiz 3-0 thanks to a brace from Rodrygo Goes and a late strike from division top scorer Jude Bellingham. Victory lifted Los Blancos to 35 points, one ahead of Girona who play Athletic Bilbao on Monday night. Reigning titlists Barcelona lost further ground in the title race when they were held to a 1-1 draw at Rayo Vallecano. Blaugrana were leapfrogged into third place by Atletico Madrid, 1-0 winners over hard battling Mallorca.
Across the Basque country border, Paris Saint Germain eviscerated Monaco 5-2 at the Parc des Princes to maintain a slender one point cushion over Nice who registered a 1-0 victory at home to Toulouse. Kylian Mbappe Lottin, Goncalo Ramos, Ousmane Dembele and Vitinha all scored for Luis Enrique’s Parisians as they geared up for Wednesday’s Champions League home rubber with Newcastle United. Lille Metropole outlasted Olympique Lyon 2-0 in front of their own fans to move to 23 points, one less than third placed Monaco.
A two horse race for the ages is taking shape in Germany where Bayer Leverkusen brushed aside Werder Bremen 3-0 to maintain a two point cushion above Thomas Tuchel’s champions Bayern Munich who on Friday dismissed Steffen Baumgart’s troubled Cologne 1-0 courtesy of Bundesliga top scorer Harry Kane’s 18th strike of the season. Leverkusen’s 17th victory in 18 outings served notice of their determination to last the distance in the title race.
Stuttgart stayed third by successfully negotiating a potential banana skin at Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1 while Borussia Dortmund moved into fourth place by wiping the floor with Gladbach 4-2. Marco Rose’s RB Leipzig fell to fifth after they were ambushed 2-1 at Nico Kovac’s Wolfsburg, the same side that eliminated them from the German Cup (DFB Pokal) earlier this month.
In Italy, Walter Mazzari guided Napoli to a 2-1 win over Atalanta on his second homecoming while another debutante Filipo Inzaghi oversaw Salernitana’s 2-1 victory over Lazio in a match lit up by veteran winger Antonio Candreva’s long distance pile driver against his former employers. Inter Milan are still the division pacesetters despite being held to a 1-1 draw at record Scudetto winners Juventus. AC Milan stayed in touch with the top two by edging Fiorentina 1-0.