Football Article

Weekend Developments From Europe's Top Comps

Real Madrid cut Barcelona’s lead in Spain, AC Milan and Inter both missed big opportunities, Dortmund stumbled while Arsenal’s woes worsened in another eventful weekend in Europe.Benzema is in fine form>

Spanish La Liga

Pos Team Pts
1 FC Barcelona 75
2 Real Madrid 70
3 Valencia 54
4 Villarreal 51
5 Espanyol 43

FC Barcelona’s lead at the summit was cut back to five points this weekend after the champions were held to a 1-1 draw at FC Sevilla. Bojan Krkic had given Barca the lead but Jesus Navas levelled for midtable Sevilla. Real Madrid closed the gap with the in-form Karim Benzema hitting a brace in their 2-0 win over Hercules.

Meanwhile, third-placed Valencia were stunned 4-0 by improving Real Zaragoza to cap a poor week for Los Che who bowed out of the UEFA Champions League in midweek. Villarreal failed to capitalise, though, after conceding late to draw 1-1 with nine-man Gijon.

Pos Team Pts
16 Racing Santander 30
17 Sporting Gijon 29
18 Almeria 26
19 Hercules 26
20 Malaga 26

Manuel Pellegrini’s bottom-placed Malaga claimed an important 2-0 win at Real Sociedad, the result moving them level on points with Almeria and Hercules. Zaragoza’s win over Valencia moves them up to 15th, while Osasuna move well clear up to 12th with their 3-1 win over Santander.

Italian Serie A

Udinese are into the top four>

Pos Team Pts
1 AC Milan 62
2 Internazionale 57
3 Napoli 56
4 Udinese 53
5 Lazio 51

It was a weekend of draws for Italy’s top two, as AC Milan missed the chance to put a significant buffer between them and second-placed Inter Milan. AC Milan needed a late Antonio Cassano goal to rescue a 1-1 home draw with bottom-club Bari on Sunday. This came after Inter had drawn 1-1 with 19th-placed Brescia on Friday.

Third-placed Napoli kept up the pressure on the top two with a 3-1 away win against Parma. Udinese moved into the Champions League spots with a barnstorming 4-0 win at Cagliari, with Alexis Sanchez and Antonio Di Natale among the goals. AS Roma beat Lazio 2-0 in the derby in the capital.

Pos Team Pts
16 Parma 29
17 Cesena 29
18 Lecce 28
19 Brescia 26
20 Bari 17

Struggling trio Cesena, Brescia and Bari all claimed handy draws this weekend against stronger opponents over the course of the weekend. Cesena came from 2-0 down to draw with Juventus. Sampdoria slipped down to 15th after their third straight defeat as Catania eased their relegation fears with a 1-0 win.

English FA Cup

The Red Devils knock out Arsenal>

Quarter final results

Manchester United 2 Arsenal 0 Manchester City 1 Reading 0 Stoke City 2 West Ham 1 Birmingham City 2 Bolton 3

Manchester United ended a poor run of results with a 2-0 win over Arsenal which extends their poor recent run as they’ve bowed out of the Carling Cup, UEFA Champions League and FA Cup in the past two weeks.

Semi final draw

Manchester City v Manchester United Bolton v Stoke City

The two biggest clubs remaining have drawn each other for the semi-finals at Wembley. It will be a Manchester derby in London, while midtable Premiership duo Bolton and Stoke City have the opportunity of a rare final appearance.

German Bundesliga

Leverkusen stay close>

Pos Team Pts
1 Borussia Dortmund 61
2 Bayer Leverkusen 52
3 Hannover 96 47
4 Bayern Munich 45
5 FSV Mainz 43

Leaders Dortmund slipped to only their third defeat of the campaign on Saturday when they went down 1-0 to TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. Second-placed Leverkusen closed the gap to nine points with their 1-0 win over FSV Mainz thanks to Renato Augusto’s late goal.

Bayern Munich’s Champions League aspirations received a boost after Hannover 96 slumped to a stunning 4-0 loss at FC Koln on Friday. Bayern proceeded to thrash Hamburg SV 6-0 on Saturday with Arjen Robben scoring a hat-trick.

Pos Team Pts
14 Kaiserslautern 28
15 Eintracht Frankfurt 28
16 St Pauli 28
17 VfL Wolfsburg 26
18 Moenchengladbach 23

2007 German champions VfB Stuttgart were the big movers this weekend up to 13th after their 2-1 win over out-of-sorts St Pauli condemned the Hamburg side to their fourth consecutive defeat. Eintracht Frankfurt’s winless run extended to nine games following a 2-1 loss to Schalke 04 which saw them slip into the bottom three.

Random League: Greek Super League

Olympiacos delay the celebrations>

Pos Team Pts
1 Olympiacos 64
2 Panathinaikos 54
3 AEK Athens 43
4 PAOK Saloniki 40
5 Kavala 38

Olympiacos’ title celebrations were delayed this weekend after, firstly, Panathinaikos defeated Iraklis 3-1 on Saturday. Olympiacos could’ve clinched the title on Sunday, but lost 2-1 at PAOK meaning they’ll have to wait.

There are four rounds of games left in the Greek season, meaning Olympiacos can officially lay claim to the title next weekend when they host rivals AEK Athens.

Ben somerford
Ben Somerford Sports Pundit staff writer

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