European Roundup Photos: Man United, Bayern, Barca roll on
Manchester United, Bayern Munich and Barcelona cemented their commanding positions at the top of their respective leagues with victories over the weekend.
Manchester United ruthlessly beat Everton 2-0 on Sunday to move 12 points clear at the top of the Premier League following champions Manchester City's shock 3-1 loss at Southampton on Saturday.
Ryan Giggs and Robin van Persie struck in the first half for United who are in a commanding position to win their 20th league title with 12 matches left.
City trailed 2-0 at struggling Southampton but Edin Dzeko pulled one back before halftime, only for Gareth Barry's bizarre own goal to restore the home side's two-goal cushion.
Third-placed Chelsea beat Wigan Athletic 4-1 to ease the pressure on interim manager Rafa Benitez and Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal also won to stay in the hunt for Champions League places.
Southampton moved four points clear of the relegation zone and Aston Villa climbed out of the bottom three after beating West Ham United 2-1. Queens Park Rangers remained four points adrift at the foot of the standings following a 4-1 defeat at Swansea City.
Image: Ryan Giggs
Photographs: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
Barcelona move 12 points clear at the top
Barcelona moved 12 points clear at the top of the Primera Liga when they crushed Getafe 6-1 at the Nou Camp and second-placed Atletico Madrid were beaten 2-1 at Rayo Vallecano on Sunday.
Barca forward Lionel Messi scored his 35th of the campaign and Alexis Sanchez and David Villa made the most of a rare place in the starting lineup with a goal apiece.
Atletico's lead over third-placed Real Madrid was cut to four points after the champions thumped visiting Sevilla 4-1 on Saturday.
Real forward Cristiano Ronaldo warmed up in style for Wednesday's Champions League last 16 first leg at home to his former club Manchester United with a hat-trick and an assist.
Malaga cemented their grip on fourth with a 2-1 comeback win at Levante on Saturday, promising playmaker Isco scoring twice to crown the week when he made his debut for Spain in a 3-1 friendly win against Uruguay.
Image: Lionel Messi (centre) of FC Barcelona celebrates with his teammates
Photographs: David Ramos/Getty Images
Bayern Munich cruising towards Bundesliga title
Leaders Bayern Munich are cruising towards their first Bundesliga title since 2010 after crushing Schalke 04 4-0 to open up a 15-point lead.
Left back David Alaba scored either side of a sensational Bastian Schweinsteiger free kick with Mario Gomez, starting ahead of top scorer Mario Mandzukic, drilling in the fourth as Bayern made it four straight wins this year without conceding a goal.
Champions Borussia Dortmund suffered a shock 4-1 home loss to Hamburg SV but hung on to second place on 39 points, with Bayer Leverkusen missing the chance to go second after conceding a late equaliser in their 3-3 draw at Borussia Moenchengladbach.
Image: Bastian Schweinsteige (left) with Philipp Lahm
Photographs: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Juventus increased their lead
Juventus increased their lead at the top of Serie A to five points when they beat Fiorentina 2-0 and second-placed Napoli were held to a 1-1 draw at third-placed Lazio.
Mirko Vucinic and Alessandro Matri scored in the first half for titleholders Juventus, taking them on to 55 points from 24 games.
Napoli trailed for most of their match, Hugo Campagnaro grabbing a point in the 87th minute after Sergio Floccari scored in 11th minute for Lazio who are a further six points back in third.
Inter Milan's 3-1 win over Chievo left them one point behind Lazio in fourth whilst Mario Balotelli scored a late penalty for the second game in a row to salvage a 1-1 draw for AC Milan at Cagliari.
Image: Head coach Antonio Conte of Juventus FC
Photographs: Claudio Villa/Getty Images
Paris St Germain beat Bastia
Paris St Germain moved six points clear at the top of the Ligue 1 table by beating Bastia 3-1 while their main rivals in the title race, Olympique Lyon, collapsed to a home loss to Lille by the same score.
PSG, level with Lyon 10 days ago, have 51 points from 24 games with the seven-times French champions on 45 after their second successive defeat.
Third-placed Olympique Marseille are two points behind after a 1-1 draw at Evian Thonon Gaillard in which they conceded a penalty and had Kassim Abdallah and Jordan Ayew sent off in the second half.
Marseille, who occupy a Champions League qualifying spot, are three points ahead of fourth-placed St Etienne, who better copped with their snow-covered pitch to beat Montpellier 4-1, and Stade Rennes in fifth thanks to their 2-0 home victory over Toulouse.
Image: Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Paris Saint-Germain
Photographs: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images