Manchester United’s Premier League match against Liverpool was postponed on Sunday afternoon after hundreds of fans got into Old Trafford and staged protests against their Glazer family owners.
The behind-closed-doors contest, initially scheduled to kick-off at 16:30 BST, was at first delayed and later called off, with a Man Utd statement confirming discussions are now taking place to re-arrange the game and find a viable date for the fixture to take place.
The protests follow Man Utd’s decision to join forces with the Premier League’s so-called ‘Big Six’, along with a handful of Europe’s most powerful clubs, to break away and form a Super League, before huge outcry and backlash subsequently saw them pull out.
The incident at Old Trafford naturally dominated the headlines on Sunday, and will likely be at the forefront of discussions next week, so there may have been some actual football that took place across the continent this weekend that went slightly under the radar.
With that, here are some of the biggest events that unfolded in European football this weekend.
1. Man Utd vs Liverpool postponed
The Liverpool-Manchester United rivalry is one of football’s most impassioned and famous derbies, with supporters across the globe pencilling this fixture into their diaries. The pre-match subplots were also naturally plentiful, not least the fact that Man City could have confirmed their Premier League title if the current champions clinched victory over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men.
However, City’s inevitable coronation will now have to wait after anti-Glazer protests at Old Trafford caused the match to be postponed, with Man Utd confirming the news on their website.
A statement read: “Following discussion between the Police, The Premier League, Trafford Council and the clubs, our match against Liverpool has been postponed due to safety and security considerations around the protest today. Discussions will now take place with the Premier League on a revised date for the fixture.
“Our fans are passionate about Manchester United, and we completely acknowledge the right to free expression and peaceful protest.
“However, we regret the disruption to the team and actions which put other fans, staff, and the police in danger. We thank the police for their support and will assist them in any subsequent investigations.”
2. Inter seal scudetto
While Man City will have to wait just that little bit longer until their status as champions is confirmed, Inter Milan got the job done on Sunday, ending their 11-year wait for Serie A glory, while subsequently breaking Juventus’ seemingly perennial stranglehold on the scudetto.
Nine straight scudetti have adorned The Old Lady jersey since Antonio Conte sealed the title in 2011/12, but it was that same man who tore down the Turin tower, shattering Juve’s monopoly on the division and bringing Serie A glory back to the San Siro, in what has been a scintillating campaign.
— Inter (@Inter_en) May 2, 2021
Arch-rivals AC Milan looked destined for the scudetto at one stage, but Inter have been headstrong and resolute since the turn of the year, with the club currently on an 18-game unbeaten run in Serie A, their longest such streak in a single season in the competition since February 2008.
The Nerazzurri fulfilled their side of the bargain on Saturday after comfortably seeing off Crotone 2-0, confirming the Calabrian club’s relegation in the process, while Atalanta could only muster a 1-1 draw with Sassuolo the following day, meaning they now have an unassailable cushion at the summit.
3. Ajax make it 35
Title celebrations were not just reserved for the San Siro, but the Johan Cruyff Arena as well. It’s been a fantastic week for Ajax, who not only saw head coach Erik ten Hag pacify links to Tottenham by signing a new contract, but he marked the extension by sealing a record 35th Eredivisie title for the Amsterdammers.
Ajax habitually had their tails up against Emmen on Sunday and went for the jugular to seal title glory in style, thrashing the Drenthe-based club 4-0. The humbling had all the hallmarks of an Ajacied triumph, with academy teenagers Jurrien Timber and Devyne Rensch both getting on the scoresheet.
You are 𝐀𝐅𝐂 𝐀𝐉𝐀𝐗
𝐗𝐗𝐗𝐕 is for you!! 🏆#XXXVoorJullie
— AFC Ajax (@AFCAjax) May 2, 2021
The club’s long-standing tradition of promoting from within has been a fruitful policy that has generated some of the game’s greatest players over the years, and Ten Hag will now be hoping the club’s latest batch of stellar striplings can follow in the esteemed footsteps of their Amsterdam alumni.
Ajax’s title win with three games to spare is the third such time they’ve confirmed their championship status in such a fashion, with the other occasions coming in 1971/72 and 1997/98, while this is also their sixth Eredivisie triumph in the last 10 full seasons.
4. Lille move a step closer
It’s been a refreshingly atypical script in some of Europe’s biggest divisions, with Inter usurping Juve’s grip on the scudetto and neither Real Madrid nor Barcelona currently setting the pace in La Liga; and that pattern of play is currently unfolding in Ligue 1, with Lille the table-toppers at present.
Christophe Galtier has truly capitalised on the tumultuous circumstances that have developed at the Parc des Princes this season, with Thomas Tuchel axed and Mauricio Pochettino drafted in, with the Argentine taking his time to acclimatise and adapt to the harrowing domestic demands of the Parisian hotseat.
Ligue 1 title race: matchday 36 odds (via Sky Bet)
(Odds in this article are correct at the time of writing. 18+ only, BeGambleAware.org)
With uncertainty in the capital midway through the campaign, Lille have stormed the Ligue 1 castle and come to the fore, consolidating their standing at the summit this weekend with a routine 2-0 win over Nice, and 35-year-old Burak Yilmaz notching his 13th goal of the season, the highest tally by a Turkish player in the competition since Mevlut Erding in 2009/10 with PSG.
With just three game remaining Les Dogues have a nerve-shredding one-point cushion ahead of the reigning champions, but Galtier’s men have come this far, and will have their sights firmly set on replicating the achievements of Rudi Garcia’s iteration in 2010/11.
5. Atleti maintain their lead… just
They’re not going to make this easy, are they? Atletico Madrid have seemingly been trying their best to squander their position atop La Liga since 2021 came into existence, but despite the many hiccups and banana skins since the turn of the year, it’s still advantage Diego Simeone.
Atleti recently lost to 2-1 Athletic Bilbao, which presented Barcelona an opportunity to leapfrog them in midweek and tilt the title race in their favour, but Ronald Koeman decided that now was a good time for the Catalans to lose their first ever home game to Granada in La Liga. In fact, up until Thursday’s 2-1 loss, Barca had a 100% win ratio against Granada at the Camp Nou in 24 games.
So, the onus fell back to Atleti this weekend, and while they scraped a nerve-jangling 1-0 win over Elche, they nearly snatched a draw from the jaws of victory, presenting the Valencian outfit a chance to restore parity in the closing seconds after gifting them a penalty, which they subsequently missed.
La Liga title race: matchday 35 odds (via Sky Bet)
- Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid: Home win 17/20
- Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid: Away win 3/1
- Real Madrid vs Sevilla: Home win 5/4
- Real Madrid vs Sevilla: Away win 21/10
(Odds in this article are correct at the time of writing. 18+ only, BeGambleAware.org)
6. Rodrigo Palacio: Serie A’s true veteran forward
Serie A has been fecund soil for the flourishing forward in their 30s. The division is awash with seasoned strikers still producing the goods and thumbing their noses at those who would dare utter the phrase ‘has-been’ in their presence, with the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Fabio Quagliarella and Francesco Caputo testament to that.
However, it is 39-year-old Rodrigo Palacio who most recently flew the flag for the veteran forward, with the former Argentina international netting thrice in Bologna’s 3-3 draw with Fiorentina to become the oldest player ever to score a hat-trick in Serie A.
7. BVB through to DFB-Pokal final in trailblazing fashion
Borussia Dortmund secured their place in the DFB-Pokal final against RB Leipzig, which will take place on May 13 in Berlin, after thrashing second-tier outfit Holstein Kiel 5-0, with all five goals coming in the opening 45 minutes, a first in competition history for the penultimate round.
Smile, we’re in the final 🙂 pic.twitter.com/uoSVFX8R4S
— Borussia Dortmund (@BlackYellow) May 2, 2021
Giovanni Reyna netted a six-minute brace to open the floodgates, before Marco Reus and Thorgan Hazard got in on the action to make it 4-0 with half an hour gone, and then just to bloody the nose one final time, Jude Bellingham twisted the knife before the interval, putting the gloss on a historic humbling.
Both managers in the final will be off in the summer, with Leipzig’s Julian Nagelsmann joining Bayern Munich and interim incumbent Edin Terzic stepping aside for Marco Rose, so there is the chance to bow out in style, securing silverware as a parting gift for their respective clubs.
8. Southampton drop more points
Southampton were once again made to rue their inability to see games out. Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side have dropped a league-high 23 points from winning positions this season, which would have been music to Brendan Rodgers’ ears once Leicester went a goal down through a James Ward-Prowse penalty.
Despite having a numerical advantage, Leicester were made to sweat for a point at St Mary’s, but they managed to get a result and boost their top-four aspirations after unlikely hero Jonny Evans got on the end of in-form Kelechi Iheanacho’s delightful cross to level the scoring.
For Leicester it was a frustrating evening on Friday as they failed to seal maximum reward against 10-man Saints, while for the hosts it was another ominous sense of déjà vu as they struggled to hold on for the win, though it’s certainly an improvement on last season’s result.