European roundup: Atletico Madrid and Napoli top in Spain, Italy

Atletico Madrid and Napoli kept their noses ahead in Spain and Italy while the top two in the Premier League, Arsenal and Leicester City, both drew at the weekend to remain separated only by goal difference.

Atletico Madrid and Napoli kept their noses ahead in Spain and Italy while the top two in the Premier League, Arsenal and Leicester City, both drew at the weekend to remain separated only by goal difference.

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Arsenal reclaimed top spot in the Premier League on goal difference from Leicester City despite being held to a 0-0 draw by Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium on Sunday.

Leicester went top on Saturday with a 1-1 draw at bottom side Aston Villa where Japan striker Shinji Okazaki scored for the visitors whose Algeria international Riyad Mahrez missed a penalty.

Arsenal and Leicester have 44 points from 22 matches, one ahead of Manchester City, who thumped Crystal Palace 4-0, and five more than fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur who came from behind to crush second-bottom Sunderland 4-1.

Manchester United climbed to fifth on 37 points after Wayne Rooney scored for a 1-0 win at arch-rivals Liverpool in a drab north-west derby, while champions Chelsea drew 3-3 at home to Everton and stayed 14th.

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Gonzalo Higuain scored two goals, taking his league tally to 20 in as many games, to help Napoli secure a 3-1 win over Sassuolo which kept them two points clear at the top of Serie A.

His fellow Argentine Paulo Dybala also scored a brace as title holders Juventus won 4-0 at Udinese, their 10th league win on the trot, to stay two points behind in second.

Inter Milan, a further two points adrift in third, lost ground after a 1-1 draw at Atalanta.

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Atletico Madrid maintained a two-point lead at the top of La Liga with a 3-0 victory away to Las Palmas, while Barcelona and Real Madrid stayed hard on their heels with thumping wins over Athletic Bilbao and Sporting Gijon.

Lionel Messi’s seventh minute penalty set champions Barca on the way to a 6-0 success against 10-man Bilbao at the Nou Camp, with a hat-trick for league top scorer Luis Suarez.

Real continued their serene progress under new coach Zinedine Zidane when Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema each scored two goals in a 5-1 destruction of Gijon at the Bernabeu.

Atletico lead the table on 47 points from 20 matches, with Barca, who have a game in hand, on 45 and Real with 43.

Villarreal slipped three points behind Real in fourth when they were held to a 0-0 draw at home to Real Betis.

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Paris St Germain continued their comfortable stroll towards a fourth successive French title with a Zlatan Ibrahimovic goal securing a 1-0 win at Toulouse.

PSG have 57 points from 21 matches and lead Monaco by 21 points after the principality team moved up to second with a 2-0 victory at Lorient.

Angers are third on 34 following their 2-1 defeat at Nice.

St Etienne beat Lyon 1-0 on Sunday in France’s hottest derby after new recruit Alexander Soderlund scored the only goal.

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Leaders Ajax Amsterdam’s 1-0 win at ADO Den Haag was marred by alleged racist chanting directed at their black defender Riechedly Bazoer from a section of the home fans.

Ajax coach Frank de Boer reacted angrily, calling the chants “outrageous”.

German forward Amin Younes scored after 21 minutes for an Ajax side still three points ahead of champions PSV Eindhoven, who won 2-0 at third-placed Feyenoord with goals from Hector Moreno and Luciano Narsingh.

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Porto slumped to a shock 1-0 defeat at Vitoria Guimaraes, leaving them five points off the pace after an early blunder by former Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas.

Bouba Sare took advantage of Casillas’ misjudgement in the fourth minute to hand Porto a first loss since they fired Julen Lopetegui 10 days ago and appointed Rui Barros as interim coach.

Porto are third with 40 points from 18 games, five behind leaders Sporting Lisbon who were held 2-2 at home by Tondela. Champions Benfica, 2-1 winners at Estoril, are second with 43.

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Champions Gent moved three points clear at the top after Laurent Delpoitre’s double secured a 2-0 home win over third-placed Anderlecht.

They sit ahead of second-placed Club Bruges who beat Mouscron-Peruwelz 3-0.

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Panathinaikos slipped further adrift of runaway league leaders and arch rivals Olympiakos Piraeus after being held to a 0-0 draw by Panionios.

The result saw Panathinaikos drop from second to fourth, 19 points behind Olympiakos, who have 51 and are in action in Crete on Monday against Platanias.

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