The Eredivisie's established elite continues to drop points to Vitesse, who are making the most of their partnership with Premier League giants Chelsea this season. Just two weeks after drawing Twente and three weeks after winning away to Ajax, they've done it again, downing first-placed PSV in Eindhoven. The Eredivisie title race now looks very much like a four-way tilt, especially given the likelihood of a better second half from Ajax, following their exit from Champions League.
Just one point separates the top four teams in France after this weekend's action, while the impending Istanbul derby looks better every week as Fenerbahce storms up the Turkish Super Lig table. With any look, Fener and Galatasaray will be the top two teams in Turkey when they meet in the middle of December.
Lyon tumbles three spots with a stunning loss
For the most part, the status quo was maintained in Ligue 1 over the weekend, except in the case of Olympique Lyonnais. They started Round 14 on top of the table, but sit in fourth place following their surprising 3-0 defeat at the hands of Toulouse. The loss itself isn't particularly surprising, as Toulouse are a good team who are solid at home, but the margin of defeat certainly is. Toulouse did an excellent job of taking advantage of space that opened up as Lyon got more aggressive late in the match, scoring in the 87th and 90th minutes to seal their victory.
Lyon are just one point behind co-leaders PSG and Marseille, and have one game in hand on the Parisians. Marseille and Lyon make up their game in hand mid-week, when they face off against each other. PSG, Marseille, and a surprisingly hot Saint-Etienne side all won at the weekend to stay bunched up at the top of the table.
Vitesse closes Eredivisie gap
PSV Eindhoven's goal differential indicates that they're still the best team in Holland by a fairly wide margin, but their potent attack was stifled by Vitesse over the weekend, as they dropped three points at home. PSV went up early on a goal by Timothy Derijck, who took advantage of a poor clearance by Theo Janssen, but their attack wasn't able to create any goals in the following 85 minutes of play. Jonathan Reis equalized for Vitesse on a free kick through a suspect wall, and Wilfried Bony netted his 15th of the year to win the game, turning in an assist from Reis.
Ajax won their third straight, defeating Roda JC 2-1, while Twente were a bit disappointing in a 2-2 home draw with PEC Zwolle. PSV still lead the league, with Twente and Vitesse two points behind. Ajax are currently six points off the pace.
Portuguese Liga a two-horse race
Sporting Braga had a chance to bust their way into the title race in Portugal this weekend, but were broken down late by Porto's Colombian contingent. An impressive defensive performance had Braga keeping a clean sheet into the 90th minute, but it all fell apart as the visitors pushed forward for a winner. It took a deflection for James Rodriguez to score the winner, from 25 yards in the 90th minute. In stoppage time, as Braga went all-out for an equalizer, Jackson Martinez took advantage of a botched clearance to seal Porto's win.
Benfica comfortably got by Olhanense, 2-0, and it seems unlikely that Portuguese football is going to provide much intrigue outside of the matches between Benfica, Porto and Braga this season.
Anzhi keep pressure on Russia's other big guns while Spartak go down in flames
CSKA Moscow and Zenit St. Petersburg, the first and third placed teams in the Russian Premier League, did not play over the weekend and face off against each other on Monday. The team sandwiched between them, Anzhi, did well to come from behind and beat Amkar Perm on the road to keep pace with CSKA. Substitute Oleg Shatov rescued the wealthy side, netting a 92nd minute winner.
Unai Emery met his downfall this weekend after a surprising Moscow derby. His Spartak Moscow side, who were eliminated from Champions League mid-week, suffered a stunning 5-1 loss to local rivals Dinamo Moscow. Those two results in quick succession were enough to convince the Dinamo board that it was time to move on and find a new manager. While firing an experienced, successful manager like Emery after half a season seems harsh, it's tough to excuse the club's recent results.
Anderlecht done in CL, but soaring domestically
While Anderlecht will be disappointed to crash out of Champions League, it might help them to win the Belgian Pro League title comfortably. They stomped Germinal Beerschot 4-1 over the weekend to maintain a four-point lead at the top of the table. Second-placed side Zulte-Waregem was also victorious, ending a two-game winless streak, while Club Brugge seem to be off their terrible skid. They won for the second week in a row and are back up to fifth.
Danish league already over?
FC Copenhagen won away against SonderjyskE over the weekend, while FC Nordsjaelland lost to Esbjerg. Copenhagen now have a nine-point lead at the top of the table, and it's tough to see them relinquishing that, even though Nordsjaelland will be solely focused on the league after exiting European competition.
SPL: Still a thing
With Celtic's win over Aberdeen last week, the SPL appeared like it was finally going to turn into the one-horse league everyone predicted it would be at the start of the season. Instead, the Bhoys lost at home to Inverness while Aberdeen won away to Hibernian. Celtic are now just one point ahead of both Hibs and Aberdeen, and have inexplicably lost or drawn as many games as they have won. Even though they outplayed Barcelona for the better part of 180 minutes.
Shahkhar's loss last week: Entirely meaningless
Shakhtar Donetsk stunningly lost last week ... while Dynamo Kiev managed to do the same and Dnipro drew. Their lead was still a whopping 11 points coming into this week, and they proved that their lone loss of the domestic season was meaningless by laying a 5-1 beating on Hoverla. Dynamo were victorious as well, beating local rivals Arsenal Kiev, 4-0. Metalist and Dnipro are both in action on Monday.
Get ready for the Istanbul Derby
It's coming. We're three weeks away, but it looks even more enticing this week than it did last week. Gala and Fener both won over the weekend, and occupy the top two spots in the Turkish Super Lig table. Football is better when they're both relevant.