Football Article

Weekend Developments From Europe's Top Comps

Barcelona moved seven points clear in Spain after Real Madrid’s shock loss, Inter Milan kept alive their Scudetto challenge and the big guns stayed alive in England’s FA Cup despite a few scares.Mourinho knows it'll be tough now>

Spanish La Liga

Pos Team Pts
1 FC Barcelona 58
2 Real Madrid 51
3 Villarreal 45
4 Valencia 40
5 Espanyol 37

The big story of the weekend is without doubt Real Madrid losing further ground on leaders Barcelona. Real slumped to a shock 1-0 loss at Osasuna on Sunday, opening up a seven-point buffer after Barca cruised to a 3-0 win over Hercules on Saturday. Barca’s win equals the La Liga record of 15 games won in a row.

But Real’s loss was the big story, as they had their chances but Osasuna defended resolutely. Javier Camunas got the winner just past the hour mark and Jose Mourinho’s men couldn’t find a response despite Cristiano Ronaldo’s best efforts while new signing Emmanuel Adebayor couldn’t provide the breakthrough on his debut either.

Pos Team Pts
18 Levante 18
19 Almeria 17
20 Malaga 17

Levante were the big winners of the weekend after a 2-0 victory over Getafe moved them out of last place and up to 18th. Osasuna’s shock win over Real moved them up to 16th, while resurgent Zaragoza made it three victories in a row with their 2-1 win over Manuel Pellegrini’s big-spending Malaga who are now dead last.

Italian Serie A

Pazzini debuts at Inter in style> |Pos|Team|Pts| |—|—-|—| |1|AC Milan|47| |2|Napoli|43| |3|Lazio|40| |4|Internazionale|38| |5|AS Roma|38|

Second-half goals from Robinho and Zlatan Ibrahimovic kept AC Milan on track for the Scudetto with a 2-0 away win against Catania on Saturday. Napoli kept up the pressure at the top with a 4-0 rout of Sampdoria, with Edinson Cavani continuing his superb form with a hat-trick.

Leonardo’s Inter Milan remain in the title race as they moved into fourth with a stunning come-from-behind 3-2 win over Palermo on Sunday. New signing Giampaolo Pazzini scored two second-half goals as Inter fought back from a two-goal half-time deficit to claim a big win. Roma had their game at Bologna abandoned meaning they drop to fifth for now.

Pos Team Pts
18 Cesena 20
19 Brescia 18
20 Bari 14

Erjon Bogdani scored a dramatic late leveller to earn Cesena a 1-1 draw at fellow strugglers Lecce on Sunday. The result denies 17th-placed Lecce what would’ve been a big three points, while it keeps Cesena close. Genoa moved well clear of relegation trouble and up to 12th after their 3-1 victory over Parma.

German Bundesliga

No stopping BVB> |Pos|Team|Pts| |—|—-|—| |1|Borussia Dortmund|50| |2|Bayer Leverkusen|39| |3|Bayern Munich|36| |4|FSV Mainz|36| |5|Hannover 96|34|

Borussia Dortmund restored their 11-point advantage at the top of the table after a comprehensive 3-0 win at VfL Wolfsburg. The goals came from Lucas Barrios>, Nuri Sahin and Mats Hummels.

Leverkusen remain in second after their 2-0 victory over fifth-placed Hannover 96 on Friday night. Bayern Munich are the big movers, up to third, after a come-from-behind 3-1 win at struggling Werder Bremen. Returning star Arjen Robben was among the goals for Bayern.

Pos Team Pts
16 FC Koln 19
17 VfB Stuttgart 16
18 Moenchengladbach 16
Germany St Pauli jumped out of the bottom three and up to 14th after an important 3-0 win over fellow battlers FC Koln with Charles Takyi scored a double. Werder Bremen are now down to 15th, while Stuttgart’s 1-0 home loss to Freiburg has them looking over their shoulders after Moenchengladbach> won 1-0 against Eintracht Frankfurt.

English FA Cup

Cesc rescues Arsenal> Key 4th round results

Southampton 1 Manchester United 2 Arsenal 2 Huddersfield 1 Everton Chelsea 1 Fulham 4 Tottenham 0 Notts County 1 Manchester City 1 Aston Villa 3 Blackburn 1 West Ham 3 Nottingham Forest 2 Wolverhampton 0 Stoke City 1 Torquay 0 Crawley Town> 1

Manchester United had to come from a half-time deficit to overcome third tier Southampton on Saturday, with Michael Owen and Javier Hernandez getting the goals. Arsenal also worked hard to overcome third-tier opposition in Huddersfield, with a 2-1 win thanks to Cesc Fabregas’s late penalty.

Manchester City were almost high-profile casualties but Edin Dzeko’s late goal rescued a 1-1 draw at third-tier Notts County, while Tottenham crashed out after a first-half mauling from Fulham.

Last 16 draw highlights

Manchester United v Crawley Town> Leyton Orient v Arsenal Notts County or Manchester City v Aston Villa Everton or Chelsea v Reading Fulham v Bolton or Wigan

Random League: Dutch Eredivisie

Perfect Ruiz return> |Pos|Team|Pts| |—|—-|—| |1|PSV Eindhoven|47| |2|FC Twente|46| |3|Ajax Amsterdam|41| |4|FC Groningen|40| |5|AZ Alkmaar|37|

It was a dramatic weekend of late winners in the Netherlands, with leaders PSV Eindhoven sparing their blushes when Genero Zeefuik scored in injury-time to defeat nine-man cellar dwellers Willem II 2-1.

But there was also drama in Enschede, when Bryan Ruiz returned from injury to hit a stoppage-time winner to give FC Twente> a 2-1 win over Feyenoord, keeping the champions one point behind PSV.

Ajax stay third after a 3-0 away win against NAC Breda, while AZ Alkmaar destroyed relegation-threatened VVV Venlo 6-1 with Kolbeinn Sigthorsson scoring five goals.

Ben somerford
Ben Somerford Sports Pundit staff writer

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