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Not a Good Weekend For Europe's Elite


Out of the top sixteen clubs on the continent, as determined by Champion's League seedings, only one has not played its first game since the international break. The other fifteen were all in action yesterday or today, and, astonishingly, were outscored as a group, dropping almost as many points as they earned.

Check out some of the weirder results:

  • Manchester United draw 3-3 at Everton, after holding a two-goal lead as the game went to stoppage time. United were in control thanks to goals from Nemanja Vidic and Dimitar Berbatov only to see their defence get two crosses very wrong indeed - first Tim Cahill headed Leighton Baines's delivery past Edwin van der Sar to make it 3-2 92 minutes in, and then the Australian nodded down a similar delivery for Mikel Arteta to slam a shot home off Paul Scholes's arm less than a minute later.
  • Barcelona lose 2-0 at home to newly promoted Hercules. Pepe Guardiola rested Xavi far a game that everyone expected to be a walk in the park for Barca, but Hercules scored through Nelson Valdez either side of the break and the Catalans simply couldn't get past keeper Juan Calatayud, who was somehow able to deal with the combined attacking threat of Leo Messi, Xavi, David Villa, Andres Iniesta without conceding.
  • AC Milan lose 2-0 away to newly promoted Cesena. Zlatan Ibrahimovich hit the post with a late penalty, but Cesena held AC easily for the full 90 minutes, drawing the giants forward before hitting them hard on the break. Milan were thoroughly outplayed and looked completely out of sorts by the end - and it could have been 3-0 if not for a goal-line clearance off a corner right at the death.
  • Roma are beaten away 5-1 by Cagliari, who finished 16th in Serie A last season. The score was 1-1 when Nicolas Burdisso was sent off while giving away a penalty to give the Sardinian minnows a man advantage. Alessandro Matri netted the spot kick and Cagliari went off to the races.

All in all, the fifteen teams scored 18 goals (11 without Chelsea and Arsenal) and conceded 19. They also earned 22 points out of a possible 42. Unless Marseille win their match tomorrow against Monaco, we're looking at one of the worst weekends for the elite European teams that I can remember. Only Werder Bremen and Bayern Munich have any excuse for their draw, as they played one another to a 0-0 stalemate.

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