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Marseille, Barcelona set impressive early pace

Published: Monday 17 September 2012, 0.45CET
The new season may be young, but FC Barcelona and Olympique de Marseille are among a number of sides to have caught the eye with flawless starts to their campaigns.
Marseille, Barcelona set impressive early pace
Marseille have won all five of their Ligue 1 outings so far ©Getty Images features

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Published: Monday 17 September 2012, 0.45CET

Marseille, Barcelona set impressive early pace

The new season may be young, but FC Barcelona and Olympique de Marseille are among a number of sides to have caught the eye with flawless starts to their campaigns.

The new season may still be young for many of Europe's leading leagues, but a number of teams have already caught the eye. FC Barcelona have yet to drop points in Spain under new coach Tito Vilanova – in contrast to faltering rivals Real Madrid CF – while Olympique de Marseille posted a fifth consecutive win in France and FC Bayern München are setting high standards in the Bundesliga. recaps the action.

Barcelona continue to set the early pace in Spain after recording their fourth consecutive victory under Josep Guardiola's former assistant Vilanova. Lionel Messi scored twice in a resounding 4-1 success at Getafe CF and the 42-year-old coach paid tribute to his side's resolve having lost last season's corresponding fixture. "It is important for everyone to know that we lost at Getafe [last season], and this year we won. There are never easy games, but there are many points at stake," he said. Rivals Madrid continue to stutter, meanwhile, succumbing 1-0 at Sevilla FC to mark their second defeat in four games. "Congratulations to Sevilla: they deserved to win without any doubt," said coach José Mourinho. "We got the prize we deserved considering how badly we played."

There seems to be no stopping Marseille at the moment as the Ligue 1 leaders extended their winning start to five games with a 1-0 victory at AS Nancy-Lorraine, Jordan Ayew heading in a 53rd-minute winner. "We all worked well together," explained the forward. "There's a great attitude in the squad and that's very good for the club." The win lifted OM back ahead of unbeaten Olympique Lyonnais, who swept aside AC Ajaccio 2-0, while third-placed Lorient FC edged Brittany derby rivals Stade Rennais FC 2-1 despite having two players sent off. Paris Saint-Germain FC are up to fourth, meanwhile, after they downed Toulouse FC 2-0.

Three teams boast 100% records after three matches, with Juventus top of the pile after they fought back to record a 3-1 victory at Genoa CFC, late goals from Mirko Vučinić and Kwadwo Asamoah sealing the result. The defending champions occupy top spot on goal difference ahead of SSC Napoli, who downed Parma FC by the same scoreline, and S.S. Lazio, who were 3-1 victors themselves against AC Chievo Verona. AC Milan suffered a second home defeat of the campaign, in contrast, succumbing 1-0 to Atalanta BC. "I admit to being a little bit worried, because it's not good enough to be playing like this," said Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri. "We need to be more positive and carefree."

Bayern's flawless start to the Bundesliga campaign continued with a 3-1 home victory against 1. FSV Mainz. The cold facts may indicate a commanding performance, yet captain Philipp Lahm was left wanting more. "There was a phase in which we slightly lost our grip on the game, but otherwise we can be satisfied," he said. "The first half was very, very good, although we should have won 3-0. Their goal was avoidable." Champions Borussia Dortmund moved onto seven points by sweeping aside Bayer 04 Leverkusen 3-0 at home, while Eintracht Frankfurt are enjoying the smoothest of transitions to the top flight as they sealed a third consecutive success at the expense of Hamburger SV.

Paul Scholes rolled back the years to mark his 700th appearance for Manchester United FC with a predatory goal. The 37-year-old broke the deadlock six minutes after half-time as Sir Alex Ferguson's side consigned Wigan Athletic FC to a 4-0 defeat at Old Trafford. "The amazing thing is that he has had to overcome a couple of bad knee injuries and a serious eye injury, yet he is still playing at the very top," said Sir Alex. Premier League pacesetters Chelsea FC dropped points for the first time this season in a goalless draw with west London neighbours Queens Park Rangers FC and champions Manchester City FC were held to a 1-1 stalemate at Stoke City FC. Arsenal FC were the weekend's biggest winners, meanwhile, posting a eye-catching 6-1 success at home to Southampton FC.

Late goals from Aílton and Igor Lebedenko helped FC Terek Grozny prevail 2-0 at FC Zenit St Petersburg and replace their hosts at the top of the table in Russia, despite the introduction of Zenit's new signings Hulk and Axel Witsel from the bench. There were table-topping tussles elsewhere too as FC Viktoria Plzeň defeated AC Sparta Praha 1-0 to join them on 16 points at the head of the pack in the Czech Republic, while FC København came from behind to beat Danish champions FC Nordsjælland 2-1 and retain their lead, with Andreas Cornelius notching the winner. In the Netherlands, FC Twente and Vitesse registered comfortable away wins to remain first and second respectively, while FC Shakhtar Donetsk made it nine from nine in Ukraine with a 3-0 win at FC Zorya Luhansk.

Last updated: 17/09/12 0.48CET

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