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Capital contenders build on provincial pain

Published: Monday 4 October 2010, 0.55CET
There were significant wins for Chelsea FC, Real Madrid CF and S.S. Lazio on a weekend when rivals Manchester United FC, FC Barcelona and FC Internazionale Milano were all held.
Capital contenders build on provincial pain
Alex and Didier Drogba did the damage for Chelsea against Arsenal ©Getty Images

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Published: Monday 4 October 2010, 0.55CET

Capital contenders build on provincial pain

There were significant wins for Chelsea FC, Real Madrid CF and S.S. Lazio on a weekend when rivals Manchester United FC, FC Barcelona and FC Internazionale Milano were all held.

The likes of Chelsea FC, Real Madrid CF and S.S. Lazio made it a weekend to savour for fans in some of Europe's capital cities, with rival sides Manchester United FC, FC Barcelona and FC Internazionale Milano all held to draws. UEFA.com takes a look back at the latest action, which also featured landmark wins for 1. FSV Mainz 05 and Stade Rennais FC.

England
Chelsea FC strengthened their grip at the top of the Premier League thanks to a 2-0 win against title rivals Arsenal FC that lifted them four points clear. Their closest pursuers are now Manchester City FC, who defeated Newcastle United FC 2-1 to skip ahead of city neighbours Manchester United FC, held to a 0-0 draw at Sunderland AFC. Rafael van der Vaart registered twice for Tottenham Hotspur FC as they beat Aston Villa FC, but perhaps the result of the weekend came at Anfield, where promoted Blackpool FC downed Liverpool FC 2-1. "We have a lot of work to turn the situation around," said Reds manager Roy Hodgson.

Italy
S. S. Lazio lead the way in Serie A after Stefano Mauri's strike earned them a 1-0 victory against Brescia Calcio. It looked as if their position at the summit might only prove temporary, but titleholders FC Internazionale Milano failed to register for the second league outing in succession and contested a goalless draw with 'Derby d'Italia' rivals Juventus. "We definitely have some decent talent, but I can't tell yet if we're one of the top squads," explained a cautious Lazio coach Edoardo Reja. His side's eternal rivals AS Roma are second-bottom, meanwhile, after they succumbed 2-0 at third-placed SSC Napoli, with AC Milan fourth.

Spain
There is an unfamiliar look to the top two in the Liga despite a handsome 6-1 success for Real Madrid CF at home against second-bottom RC Deportivo La Coruña, Cristiano Ronaldo scoring twice. José Mourinho's men now sit third, two points behind frontrunners Valencia CF and one behind Villarreal CF. Valencia beat Athletic Club 2-1 to continue their reign, but coach Unai Emery is still looking for more from his troops, saying: "At home we must improve or we will always suffer." Three points shy of the Blanquinegros in fourth are titleholders FC Barcelona, who could only draw 1-1 with RCD Mallorca at Camp Nou.

Germany
The party continues for 1. FSV Mainz 05 after they equalled a Bundesliga record by posting their seventh win from seven outings, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim becoming their latest victims in a 4-2 loss. Coach Thomas Tuchel was quick to guard against soaring expectations, however. "Our goal is to establish ourselves in the Bundesliga and we are, I believe, on the right track," he said. Borussia Dortmund are a team on the right track too after they claimed a sixth consecutive victory by seeing off FC Bayern München 2-0, a result that left the champions 12th. The situation also worsened for bottom two sides FC Schalke 04 and VfB Stuttgart as they both lost.

France
Ligue 1 boasts a fresh face in pole position after Stade Rennais FC supplanted AS Saint-Etienne. The previous leaders earned a worthy 1-1 draw with champions Olympique de Marseille on Saturday but it proved insufficient to keep them out in front, Rennes seizing their chance to go top for the first time in 40 years by dispatching Toulouse FC 3-1. That was also the scoreline as LOSC Lille Métropole leapt up to third following their game against Montpellier Hérault SC, while Olympique Lyonnais edged AS Nancy-Lorraine 3-2 and AJ Auxerre finally claimed their first win by prevailing 4-0 at bottom side AC Arles-Avignon.

Elsewhere
PSV Eindhoven are the new Eredivisie leaders thanks to a weekend in which they beat VVV-Venlo 3-0 and AFC Ajax succumbed 2-1 at home against FC Utrecht. There was a change in Cyprus too as AC Omonia's 3-0 loss at APOEL FC helped Anorthosis Famagusta FC assume command, while R. Standard de Liège's stunning 5-1 win against RSC Anderlecht lifted them to within six points of Belgian pacesetters KRC Genk. SL Benfica jumped up to second by seeing off fellow Portuguese UEFA Champions League representatives SC Braga 1-0 and the tussle between Ukraine's finest ended with FC Shakhtar Donetsk defeating FC Dynamo Kyiv 2-0 to streak five points clear.

Last updated: 04/10/10 13.16CET

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