The Big Wide World Of Football, September 23-30

Ronny Hartmann - Bongarts/Getty Images

A quick glance through the week's action. How are the top leagues throughout the world shaking out?

Sorry about last week's absence -- my internet was no bueno. As always, leave your suggestions in the comments for what sort of news you'd like to see covered.

First, here's your quick round-up of the Big Five:

Premier League

Aston Villa secured a point against West Bromwich Albion, but you know that already. Did you realise, though, that the Villa are currently in 15th, behind Liverpool only on goal difference? Bet Stewart Downing is really pleased with the way he took off, particularly since Brendan Rodgers says they'll likely be considering offers for him in January. Thanks but no thanks, Reds.

As for the rest of the table, Chelsea's win over Arsenal keeps them three points clear of...Everton, who easily pushed aside Southampton. Manchesters United and City are one point behind the Toffees, and Tottenham Hotspur's dramatic win over United puts them one more point off.

It's Reading, Norwich City and Queens Park Rangers at bottom, if you're wondering. Oh, and Martin O'Neill's Sunderland are only two points above Villa, despite being unbeaten: they've drawn four times and just recorded their first win, over Wigan. Steven Fletcher has each and every one of their goals (five).

La Liga

Barcelona remain perfect in what could be an even duller season than usual in Spain. But against Sevilla, Barcelona showed some of their worst qualities: Cesc Fabregas made a big deal of an altercation with Gary Medel, making a big fuss about the Chilean headbutting him. Check out Dirty Tackle for the evidence of the "headbutt."

As for that "other" team in Spain, Real Madrid defeated Deportivo La Coruña in a match that looked more like a training ground exercise than anything else. See, Jose -- this is what happens when you start Luka Modrić. But with Madrid already eight points off the pace, it's unlikely they'll have a shot at the title. Fortunately, there's Atlético Madrid to pay attention to, with los Colchoneros also unbeaten thus far this season.

Bundesliga

Bayern Munich are still perfect, six games in, and have conceded just two goals while scoring nineteen. Can we say over-compensating for the loss of the Champions League trophy? Frankfurt, meanwhile, also remain unbeaten, their only draw occurring in a 3-3 with Borussia Dortmund midweek. But Dortmund reasserted their intent to defend the title with a 5-0 thrubbing of Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday.

Serie A

Between the midweek round and the matches at the weekend, Serie A's table has changed just a bit. Inter Milan and AC Milan both overcame the "Curse of the San Siro," beating Fiorentina and Cagliari, respectively. But it's Inter that sit third while Milan languish in 11th, tied for points with recently promoted Pescara, who have won their last two matches. AS Roma suffered yet another meltdown, allowing Juventus three goals inside fifteen minutes, for a final 4-1 victory that keeps them top. Napoli share the top spot, although their 1-0 win over previously unbeaten Sampdoria was not nearly as dramatic.

Ligue 1

Yep, it's still Marseille at the top in France, although they suffered their first defeat this weekend, a 4-1 slap-down by Valenciennes. That gave Paris Saint-Germain, still unbeaten, the chance to close the gap to three points. The French giants have shaken off their sad string of draws seen at the start of the season and have won their last four league matches, while also beating Dynamo Kievo 4-1 in the Champions League.

Elsewhere

In the Eredivisie, it's still Twente that are top, although they suffered their first defeat of the season, to Ajax. The Dutch giants are currently fourth, tied with PSV. Vitesse sits between.

Over in Russia, Anzhi has the lead, with CSKA Moscow is just two points behind, although they lost to Dinamo at the weekend. I keep waiting for Zenit St. Petersburg to make an impression.

The Portuguese league is rather interesting, with Benfica and Porto both unbeaten and sharing the top. Braga is just behind. Poor Benfica, though -- they play Barcelona in the Champions League this week.

In the States, the playoffs are starting to fall into place, at least in the Western Conference. San Jose, Salt Lake, Los Angeles and Seattle have all clinched a playoff position, but Vancouver and Dallas are still battling for the fifth spot. As for the East, only Kansas City have officially grabbed a spot, with a win over Chicago on Friday.

Down in Brazil, they're more than halfway through the season, and last year's champs, Corinthians, are twenty points off the pace. It's Fluminense and Atlético that are battling it out for the top.

Anything else you're looking for? Put it in the comments! We live to serve.

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