Chelsea’s march towards the Premier League title continued apace this weekend as they eclipsed Stoke City 2-1 away.
Despite being an injury doubt ahead of the match, Victor Moses played 70 minutes for Antonio Conte’s side as they moved up to 69 points, with Ramadan Sobhi and Saido Berahino fairly ineffectual for the hosts.
There was controversy at Middlesbrough, where Côte d’Ivoire centre-back Eric Bailly and Benin’s Rudy Gestede were involved in an unsavoury spat in Manchester United’s 3-1 victory, although the latter later insisted in the press that a kiss between the two had been misconstrued as a bite!
Congolese frontman Benik Afobe scored a rare goal as Bournemouth eased their relegation fears with a 2-0 triumph over Jordan Ayew’s Swansea City, and Leicester City also pulled away from the drop zone with a 3-2 victory at West Ham United.
Riyad Mahrez’s post-Claudio Ranieri renaissance continued apace with the opener for the Foxes, but while Ghana’s Andre Ayew continued his goalscoring form with the Hammers’ second just after the hour mark, he wasn’t able to salvage a point.
Fresh from downing Manchester City in the Champions League in midweek, AS Monaco continued their excellent domestic form with a fourth consecutive win – this time as Caen were defeated 3-0 away.
New France call-up Kylian Mbappe scored twice as hopes fade that he will represent Cameroon, while Franco-Ivorian Tiemoue Bakayoko was introduced as a substitute in the week he was linked to Manchester United and received his first invitation to Didier Deschamps’ squad.
Paris Saint-Germain remain second and three points off Monaco after coming from behind to beat Olympique Lyonnais 2-1 in the big game of the weekend.
Serge Aurier (pictured) shone for the hosts, while Corentin Tolisso was a dynamic presence in the heart of OL’s midfield.
OGC Nice’s hefty injury list looks to be catching up with them as they fell seven points off the pace with a 1-1 draw at Nantes, with the Côte d’Ivoire’s Jean Seri salvaging a point with a superb strike from the edge of the box.
Younousse Sankhare found the net in Bordeaux’s 5-1 rout of Montpellier, with Ryad Boudebouz responding from the spot for the hosts, and Cameroon skipper Benjamin Moukandjo prompted an unlikely comeback for bottom club FC Lorient, scoring their first as they battled back from 2-0 down to defeat Nancy 3-2 away.
Kwadwo Asamaoh was among Serie A’s outstanding performers this weekend, contributing a sublime assist for Juventus’ winner against Sampdoria – a delightful cross which Juan Cuadrado met with a diving header.
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The Ghana international, selected at left back ahead of Alex Sandro, also denied Patrik Schick with an excellent last-gasp tackle as the reigning champions moved up to 73 points.
In second place are AS Roma, who bounced back from their midweek Europa League elimination by Lyon to defeat Sassuolo 3-1, with Mohamed Salah tapping home the Giallorossi’s second.
Faouzi Ghoulam endured a mixed afternoon for Napoli as they saw off Empoli 3-2 to consolidate their grip on the third Champions League place, and Ghana’s Afriyie Acquah slammed home an excellent effort for Torino in their 2-2 draw with Inter Milan.
There were many who predicted that Kevin-Prince Boateng might struggle in Spain after Las Palmas brought him in from the cold at the start of the season, but the Ghana international is enjoying a fine campaign and struck the only goal of the game – his eighth of the campaign – as the Canary Islanders downed Villarreal on Friday evening.
Real Madrid remain top after a 2-1 win at Athletic Bilbao, but Barcelona remain just two points behind them after a 4-2 victory over Aymen Abdennour’s Valencia at the Nou Camp.
The North African stopper was introduced in the 46th minute with the scores tied at 2-2.
Ivorian forward Lacina Traore scored his second goal for Sporting Gijon as they came from behind to down fellow strugglers Granada 3-1, and Wissam Ben Yedder and Steven N’Zonzi were both in action as Sevilla were beaten by the same scoreline at Atletico Madrid.
In the Bundesliga, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s (pictured) fine form continued as he scored a 14th-minute opener for Borussia Dortmund in their 1-0 victory over Ingolstadt.
The goal was the Gabon international’s ninth strike in his last five matches and takes BVB up to third on 46 points.
They’re now just three points behind RasenBallsport Leipzig, whose title push continues to fade as they were defeated 3-0 by Wolfsburg, with Senegal’s Lamine Sane starring in the home side’s defence.
Bayern Munich still lead the way, now 13 points clear of Leipzig, after downing Borussia Monchengladbach 1-0.