Trecker’s Monday Morning Wrap

It’s becoming cliché, but the so-called “European hangover” once again hit all but one English team this weekend, with a series of shock results that scrambled the Premier League table.

That one team? Unlikely Liverpool.

Rescued Thursday against Napoli by Steven Gerrard, the Reds knocked off Premier league leaders Chelsea 2-0 Sunday behind a virtuoso performance by Fernando Torres.

But Chelsea was not the only Premiership contender to pay a weekend price for midweek exertions.

Bolton dealt Tottenham another setback in a Saturday thriller, with Kevin Davies carrying his side to a massive 4-2 win. Charismatic Spurs had ridden Welsh winger Gareth Bale to a huge win over Inter Milan at midweek, but the tank seemed empty at the Reebok, where Stuart Holden helped steer his side to a fully-deserved win.

Manchester United was lucky in its 2-1 win over Wolverhampton, getting a stoppage time rescue from Park Ji-Sung that Marcus Hahnemann should probably have saved. United looked off-key and was fortunate it was up against one of the two worst teams in the league.

Arsenal stumbled and bumbled to another loss, this time to Newcastle, who climbed up to fifth thanks to Andy Carroll’s goal in first half stoppage. Fans will point the finger at ‘keeper Lukas Fabianski for coming out  but failing to collect the ball on Carroll’s goal, but that’s too simplistic. Once again, Arsenal did not play a confident, complete game, looked hungover from its (losing) trip to Ukraine, and lacked any significant ideas up front.

Manchester City of course had dropped three games in a row, with the latest indignity a 3-1 loss to lowly Polish club Lech Poznan in the Europa League. Sunday at the Hawthorns, Mario Balotelli scored two brilliant goals to give City a 2-1 win over West Bromwich Albion — then got ejected with just under a half hour to play for kicking out at Youssuf Mulumbu. In contrast to Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs, City at least found a second wind and got a result ahead of the derby against Manchester United. Maybe they bought some time for embattled manager Roberto Mancini, too.

Elsewhere, Tim Howard and Brad Friedel saw their teams earn draws, with Everton recovering twice against Blackpool to draw 2-2, and Aston Villa coughing up a 94th minute goal to Clint Dempsey’s Fulham side to finish 1-1. Jonathan Spector is persona non grata at West Ham, which remains in dead last after a 2-2 draw with Birmingham. Blackburn beat Wigan 2-1, while Sunderland downed Stoke 2-0 in the remaining matches.

Perhaps the most romantic soccer story of the week came Friday, when the “rebel” club, FC United of Manchester advanced past Rochdale, 3-2 in the FA Cup on a last-minute goal by Mike Norton. It was the biggest win in the young club’s history, and came against a team some 80 places higher in the league tables.

Formed just five years ago by disgruntled Manchester United supporters after the Glazer family took control of the Red Devils, FCUM’s win sets up a possible FA Cup showdown between them and their “parent” club. They have to survive one more round before even thinking about that still unlikely possibility.

In Italy, Roma toppled leaders Lazio 2-0 behind two second-half penalties to close out a good week for under-fire manager Claudio Ranieri. The result sliced Lazio’s lead atop Serie A to two points following AC Milan’s 3-2 win over bottom-feeders Bari. In related

news, Oguchi Onyewu — yet to even make the bench for Milan this year — made headlines this week in an unpleasant manner. He was involved in a training session brawl with star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, where he reportedly tried to throttle the Swede.

It was not such a good week for Milan’s bitter rivals Inter, who followed up their 3-1 Champions League drubbing at Spurs with a 1-1 draw against lowly Brescia. Rafa Benitez’s men got the point thanks to a very dubious penalty won and converted by Samuel Eto’o. Eto’o appeared to dive, but was awarded the spot kick over Brescia’s howls. The result came at a cost though as key defender Walter Samuel badly injured his right knee and is expected to miss the rest of the season. Inter remain third, three points off the top.

Chasers Juventus won 3-1 over Cesena thanks to a fightback spearheaded by Alessandro Del Piero, while Napoli won 2-0 over sinking Parma. Sampdoria were held 0-0 by Silicians Catania.

In Spain, Barcelona coasted past Getafe 3-1, with goals from Lionel Messi and David Villa getting the Catalans started. But Real Madrid faced down bitter rivals Atletico Madrid 2-0 to stay on top by a single point. Goals from Mesut Oezil and Ricardo Carvalho won the game for Jose Mourinho’s men.

Villarreal crushed Atletico Bilbao 4-1 thanks in part to a goal from New Jersey’s Giuseppi Rossi. Jozy Altidore, who did not impress in a midweek 1-0 Europa League loss to PAOK, remained on the bench. The win kept the Yellow Submarine third in La Liga. Keeping pace, Espanyol beat Malaga 1-0 and Real Sociedad edged Santander 1-0. Valencia plays Sevilla in the Monday night game.

In Germany, time is slipping away for Bayern Munich, held 3-3 by Michael Bradley’s dead-last Borussia Moenchengladbach in their latest Bundesliga misadventure. With that draw, Louis Van Gaal’s club slumped to ninth, a distant 12 points out of first place and five off a Champions League berth.

Bayern dominated early, but coughed up a 2-1 halftime lead and required a late strike from Philipp Lahm to salvage one point. Bayern are missing three key players — Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben and Mark van Bommel — to injury but are dropping points due to an uncharacteristic softness in the back this season.

FSV Mainz’s free fall continued with a 1-0 loss to Daniel Williams and Freiburg. The one-time unbeaten leaders have now lost four of their last five in all competitions, and have fallen four points out of first. The shock result of the weekend might have been Stuttgart’s 6-0 whipping of Werder Bremen, orchestrated by a one goal, three assist showing from Ciprian Marica.

Elsewhere, Ricardo Clark did not play in Frankfurt’s 3-1 win over Wolfsburg to go fourth. Steve Cherundolo’s Hannover lost badly to Bundesliga leaders Dortmund 4-0; DaMarcus Beasley saw just over a half hour of action off the bench. And Jermaine Jones took a card but helped Schalke get a much-needed 3-0 win over St. Pauli.

Hamburg beat Hoffenheim 2-1; Leverkusen got a boost with a 3-1 win over Kaiserslautern; and Nuremberg downed Cologne 3-1.

In France, Lorient beat Carlos Bocanegra’s St. Etienne 2-1, to send the American defender’s club tumbling to sixth. While Charlie Davies continues his rehab at Sochaux, his club drew 1-1 with Auxerre. Paris Saint-Germain’s revival continues as they downed Marseille 2-1 to move third.

In Holland, FC Twente retained the top spot with a 2-1 win over Excelsior. PSV kept pace with a 2-1 win over Utrecht, but Ajax slipped at home, 1-0 to ADO Den Haag to close out a disappointing week that saw them pipped by Auxerre in the European Cup.

In Scotland, Celtic beat Aberdeen 9-0 in a record-setting Scottish Premiership match. It was the highest scoring game in the Scottish top-flight’s history — and the worst-ever defeat in the Dons’ 107-year existence. Gary Hooper and Tony Stokes both recorded hat tricks in the match.

Aberdeen played 64 minutes with 10 men, but even that doesn’t explain the final scoreline. Maurice Edu starred in Rangers’ 3-1 win over St. Mirren to keep Gers atop the SPL by a point, but the story in Scotland was crowd trouble at the Edinburgh derby, with fans celebrating Hearts’ 2-0 win over Hibernian by destroying part of the seating.

Jamie Trecker is a senior writer for covering the Barclay’s Premier League and the UEFA Champions League.