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Tuesday, 7 December 2010

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Strikes and snow no problem for Arsenal

Snow and strike action disrupted the European football programme over the weekend, but Arsenal, Barcelona and Lille were among the sides to take advantage by pulling clear in their respective leagues.

Manchester United’s game at Blackpool on Saturday fell victim to the snow, allowing Arsenal to take over at the top of the Premier League with a 2-1 victory at home to Fulham on Saturday.

In-form France international midfielder Samir Nasri was the Gunners’ match-winner at the Emirates, scoring two delightfully taken individual goals either side of an opportunist strike by Diomansy Kamara.

Header

Chelsea could not capitalise on United’s weekend off, as a late Jermaine Beckford header saw Everton emerge from their game at the defending champions with a 1-1 draw. Barcelona overcame the inconvenience of the Spanish air controllers’ strike to win 3-0 at Osasuna on Saturday and maintain their two-point lead at the top of La Liga.

Pep Guardiola’s side were forced to travel by train and coach to reach Pamplona, where they prevailed through a Pedro Rodriguez goal and a second-half brace from Lionel Messi.

Real Madrid, smarting from their 5-0 humiliation at Barcelona on Monday, returned to winning ways as Cristiano Ronaldo’s double — his 15th and 16th league goals of the season — saw them to a 2-0 home victory over Valencia.

Top spot

AC Milan kept hold of top spot in Serie A by beating Brescia 3-0, with Kevin-Prince Boateng claiming his first goal for the club and Zlatan Ibrahimovic netting his eighth league goal this term.

All is not well, however, for defending champions Inter Milan, who fell 10 points behind their city rivals after losing 3-1 at second-placed Lazio on Friday night.

Third-placed Juventus closed the gap on Milan to six points with a 3-1 win at Catania, while fourth-placed Napoli tackle fifth-placed Palermo on Monday. Borussia Dortmund took another step towards their first Bundesliga title in nine years with a 2-0 win over Nuremberg that stretched their lead at the summit to 10 points.

Reverse

Second-placed Mainz suffered a 2-1 reverse against Eintracht Frankfurt — their fourth defeat in six matches.

Champions Bayern Munich lost 2-0 at struggling Schalke, leaving them 17 points off the lead and prompting coach Louis van Gaal to declare that Dortmund are “too far ahead” to be caught.

Lille soared to the top of the French top flight on Sunday as a Moussa Sow hat-trick inspired them to an extraordinary 6-3 win at home to Lorient, a day after the match had been postponed due to heavy snow in northern France.

Second

Paris Saint-Germain moved into second place with a 3-1 win at home to Brest, but champions Marseille slipped to fourth after Emerse Fae’s stoppage-time strike earned Nice a 1-0 win at Stade du Ray.

PSV Eindhoven and FC Twente remain neck-and-neck on 37 points at the top of the Dutch standings, after PSV thrashed Heracles Almelo 5-2 and their title rivals won 2-0 at home to De Graafschap.

In Portugal, With unbeaten leaders Porto not tackling Vitoria Setubal until Monday, second-placed Benfica closed the gap on their title rivals to five points with a 2-0 win against Olhanense.

PARIS, Monday AFP

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