In Spain …
Can Gareth Bale replace Ronaldo?
In the end Real didn’t need Cristiano Ronaldo or Gareth Bale. Two goals from Karim Benzema and one a piece from James Rodriguez and Sergio Ramos, helped Real Madrid to a 4-1 win over Real Sociedad. This, after suffering the early shock of going a goal down in the first minute to David Moyes’ side.
• Will Nuri Sahin help Klopp sleep easier?
Borussia Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp described finshing 2014 in 17th place “like going on holiday on a bed of nails”.
The returning Sahin did not herald an improvement for Dortmund and so the torment continues for Klopp. A 0-0 draw at Bayer Leverkusen means that last season’s runners-up are rooted to the bottom of the table.
• Can anyone beat Bayern Munich?
Yes! Emphatically so. Inspired by two goals from Kevin De Bruyne, second placed Wolfsburg brushed aside a strangely lethargic Bayern Munich side to cut the gap at the top of the table to eight points.
• Who is more at risk: Filippo Inzaghi or Roberto Donadoni?
Mid-table Milan hosted rock-bottom Parma, with both coaches fearing for their jobs. In the end it was Inzaghi who will have slept easier than his Parma counterpart. A 3-1 win at the San Siro eased the pressure on the rookie coach, while for Donadoni’s Parma, this was an eigth successive away defeat.
• Can Chelsea thrive without Diego Costa?
Chelsea will have been the happier of the two sides after a 1-1 draw in their top of the table clash with Manchester City. Loic Remy, starting in the place of the suspended Diego Costa, opened the scoring for the Premier League leaders, but a David Silva goal earned the visitors a point.
City could claim to that they had the better of proceedings, but the gap at the top of the tabel remains five points.
• How reliant are Lyon upon Alexandre Lacazette
With 21 goals in 22 matches, Alexandre Lacazett has almost singlehandedly powered Lyon’s title push this season. So, perhaps it was inevitable that without him the goals would dry up.
Lyon had won their last seven matches, but the La Ligue pacesetters were held to a goalless draw by a resurgent Monaco side. That draw, combined with wins for PSG and Marseille, reduced Lyon’s lead at the top of the table to two points.