It had to happen sooner or later. La Liga minnows Levante finally lost their first game of the season yesterday, 2-0 at Osasuna , ending their run of seven successive league wins, surrendering their position at the top of the table to Real Madrid, who battled to a 1-0 victory away at Real Sociedad on Saturday.
Lionel Messi responded to his uncharacteristic three-game drought in the league by scoring an 18-minute hat-trick in the first-half as Barcelona thrashed Mallorca 5-0 at the Nou Camp. The newest of Barça's La Masia graduates, 20-year-old winger Isaac Cuenca, also scored in the rout, it was his first goal for the club on his second start.
Coach Pep Guardiola was full of praise for the youngster. "Isaac is a guy who is good at taking players on and passing, " he said. "He knows what to do out wide, we have a small squad so players like him can come in."
In Italy, Juventus maintained their two-point lead at the top of Serie A after defeating Internazionale 2-1 at San Siro. Their former coach, Claudio Ranieri, now in charge of Inter, admitted after the game that his side were beaten by a team that could go on to win the Scudetto. "They can [win the title], they're working hard and have the time to do so but I'm not giving up," he said. Inter have now only won once in their past five league games. Milan are second after Zlatan Ibrahimovic's double secured a hard-fought 3-2 win at Roma. The Rossoneri have won their last four league games.
In Germany, Bayern Munich lead the Bundesliga by four points after a 4-0 win over Nurnberg. It was yet another clean-sheet for goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, his ninth in the league so far this season. Champions Borussia Dortmund were held to a 1-1 draw at Stuttgart and, in doing so, slipped to third.
Marseilles get in the mood for Arsenal tie
Marseilles go into tomorrow's vital trip to the Emirates with a victory after a 3-2 success away at Dijon. Early goals from Loïc Rémy and Benoit Cheyrou gave the side a 2-0 lead after 11 minutes, but Dijon fought back to level before Alou Diarra scored the winner with eight minutes remaining. Didier Deschamps's team climbed to ninth in Ligue 1 after the win.
Manchester City's opponents on Wednesday, Villarreal, ended a run of five straight league defeats with a 2-0 victory over Rayo Vallecano. Belgian champions Genk warmed up for Chelsea with an entertaining 5-4 win away at Club Brugge but remain sixth in the league, while the Romanians Otelul Galati won 1-0 against Gaz Metan Medias ahead of their trip to Old Trafford.