Cristiano Ronaldo pulled Real Madrid four points clear at the top of La Liga, with the kind of display one would expect from a player hitting his 39th career hat trick and 17th goal in 16 games this season. To add to the impressive figures, the Portuguese has now scored 17 times in the fixture, taking him clear in the all time scorers list, above Alfredo Di Stefano. Zindane’s managerial star is in the ascendancy, just as Atletico’s Simeone’s is starting to wane, with the Argentinian’s side now fifth in the table, 9 points below their neighbours.
Barcelona lost ground, only managing a goalless home draw against mid table Malaga. Sevilla leap-frogged Villarreal into third, taking the points away from Deportivo in a tight 3-2 victory. Real Sociedad remain in the hunt for Champions League places with a 3-1 win away to Sporting Gijon, while bottom of the table Granada managed a fifth draw, this time with fellow strugglers Valencia, but remain winless. Eibar and Bilbao got back to winning ways, registering 1-0 home wins over Celta Vigo and Villarreal respectively. Real Betis beat Las Palmas 2-0 on Friday night, Alaves lost 1-0 at home to Espanyol on Sunday and finally in last night’s fixture, Leganes picked up a valuable three points against second bottom Osasuna.
Meanwhile, over in England Chelsea took top spot, squeezing past a resolute Middlesbrough on Sunday, capitalising on Liverpool’s goalless draw at Southampton. Arsenal also drew, manager Arsene Wenger unable to get past Jose Mourinho still, even with Manchester United having an indifferent season. Manchester City kept up the chase however, condemning Crystal Palace to a fifth straight defeat. Immediately below Palace, West Ham lost to fellow Londoners Tottenham, and Hull were beaten 3-0 by Sunderland who were one of only two teams in the bottom half to win this weekend. Sunderland were replaced at the bottom of the table by Swansea, who drew at Everton.
Watford continue to impress, beating champions Leicester 2-1, and Bournemouth won on the road for the first time this season, against Stoke. West Brom cruised to a 4-0 home win over Burnley in the Monday night game.