After the week-long hiatus for the international break, domestic football was back on Saturday as Brentford earned a deserved point at Aston Villa. Sam Johnstone’s heroics, in twice denying Ollie Watkins and making a fine save from Josh Clarke, kept The Bees at bay while Daniel Bentley also had to be alert to thwart James Chester late on as both sides left with a point.
The past seven days also saw Brentford B lose their 100 per cent record this season after a 3-0 defeat at Griffin Park against local rivals Queens Park Rangers. With a number of players either on international duty or on loan, Rangers proved too strong under the lights: Dan Darbyshire on target before the break with Romeo Akinola adding the extras late on.
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Cardiff City continue to lead the way in the second tier but they have now dropped their first points of the season after Saturday’s 1-1 draw away at Fulham. It could have been worse for Neil Warnock’s men as Ryan Sessegnon fired The Whites into a 75th minute lead but Danny Ward was on hand to nod home a leveller eight minutes from time.
The Bluebirds lead Leeds United by two points after new signing Pierre Michel-Lasogga inspired United to a 5-0 win at home to Burton Albion. Wolverhampton Wanderers’ win over Millwall moved them up to third, above Ipswich Town who suffered defeat at eighth-placed Queens Park Rangers, while Sheffield United and Middlesbrough complete the top six.
Derby County, Bristol City, and Sheffield Wednesday moved to the fringes of the Play-Offs after wins over Hull City, Reading, and Nottingham Forest. Norwich City were the weekend’s other victors after their home success over Birmingham City while leaves Blues narrowly above the drop zone.
There was no doubt about the major talking point of the Premier League weekend as Sadio Mane’s red card overshadowed Manchester City’s 5-0 demolition of Liverpool at The Etihad Stadium. The striker saw a straight red for a high challenge on City keeper Ederson with the score at 1-0 late on in the first-half. Pep Guardiola's men are now level with rivals United at the top of the table after The Red Devils 2-2 draw at Stoke City.
Elsewhere in Europe, life after Neymar continues to go well for Barcelona as they made it three wins from three after a 5-0 victory over Espanyol at the Nou Camp. They are now four points clear of both Madrid clubs after Real could only draw 1-1 at home to Levante and Athletico were held at Valencia. The Brazilian was, however, on target again for new club PSG as they made it five wins from five in Ligue 1 after thrashing bottom club FC Metz 5-1 on Friday night. In Germany, Borussia Dortmund top the Bundesliga after Bayern Munich’s shock defeat to Hoffenheim while it’s a three way tie at the top of Serie A while Juventus, Napoli, and Inter Milan all on nine points after three games.
It was also a great week for the four home nations in World Cup qualifying as England’s 2-1 win over Slovakia at Wembley all-but secured passage to next summer’s tournament in Russia. Scotland’s six point haul from games against Lithuania and Malta put their Play-Off destiny back in their own hands while Northern Ireland’s victory over the Czech Republic guaranteed them, at worst, a Play-Off spot from Group C. In Group D, it looks like a straight shootout between Wales and Republic of Ireland for the runners-up spot with the pair due to meet in Cardiff on the final matchday.
Eight nations have now booked their spot in Russia with South Korea and Saudi Arabia progressing through Asian Qualifying on Tuesday to join Russia, Belgium, Brazil, Iran, Japan, and Mexico.