By IAN HOLLIDAY
Top-flight clubs from England, Italy and Spain were in action Wednesday, with league matches being played in the Premier League and Serie A, while La Liga clubs played fourth round matches in the Copa Del Rey.
Wednesday's most intriguing match was the Manchester derby, with the Citizens hosting United knowing a win would draw them level on points with the Red Devils. Ultimately, the match was underwhelming, with neither side creating many chances in a scoreless draw.
The week's most exciting match may have been Aston Villa's 3-2 win over Blackpool on at Villa Park Wednesday. Blackpool came back from a goal down twice, and the match looked to be destined to end in a 2-2 draw when DJ Campbell drew the visitors level in the 87th minute. But just two minutes later, James Collins headed home a Stewart Downing corner to put Villa ahead for good.
In Italy, Lazio lost its second straight match, falling to last-placed Cesena 1-0 on the road. Lazio's loss gave the Serie A lead to AC Milan, which defeated Palermo 3-1.
Lazio wasn't the only club to fall to lesser opposition this week. There were also a pair of minor upsets in the Copa Del Rey, as second-division clubs Cordoba and Real Betis defeated Racing Santander and Real Zaragoza, respectively, on aggregate.
Here is a rundown of the midweek scores from England, Italy, and Spain:
Aston Villa wasn't the only Birmingham club to play an exciting match this week. Birmingham City were in action on Tuesday at Stoke City, getting two goals in two minutes to even the score in the 76th minute. Birmingham couldn't hold on, however, as an 85th minute Dean Whitehead goal gave the home side the win. Elsewhere, Chelsea weathered a late storm from London rivals Fulham to hold on for a 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge, Arsenal rode a Marouane Chamakh brace to a 2-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers, and Liverpool got another goal from Fernando Torres, but it wasn't enough to beat Wigan Athletic, with the two sides drawing 1-1.
Stoke City 3, Birmingham City 2
Tottenham 1, Sunderland 1
Aston Villa 3, Blackpool 2
Chelsea 1, Fulham 0
Newcastle United 1, Blackburn 2
West Ham United 2, West Bromwich Albion 2
Wigan Athletic 1, Liverpool 1
Wolverhampton Wanderers 0, Arsenal 2
Everton 1, Bolton 1
Manchester City 0, Manchester United 0
Goals were hard to come by in Italy on Wednesday, with 15 of the 18 clubs in action scoring a goal or fewer. One exception was AC Milan, which dispatched of Palermo easily 3-1. The other two were AS Roma and Fiorentina, who met Wednesday at the Stadio Olimpico. The match was never really in doubt for the hosts, who controlled possession and outshot the visitors 22-9.
AC Milan 3, Palermo 1
AS Roma 3, Fiorentina 2
Brescia 1, Juventus 1
Cagliari 0, Napoli 1
Catania 1, Udinese 0
Cesena 1, Lazio 0
Chievo 0, Bari 0
Genoa 1, Bologna 0
Lecce 1, Inter Milan 1
Thursday: Parma v. Sampdoria
COPA DEL REY
Anyone looking for an indication of how seriously Jose Morinho's Real Madrid are taking the King's Cup after last season's disasterous loss to Alcorcon need look no further than the club's roster for Wednesday's match. Regular starters Gonzalo Higuain, Iker Casillas, and Sergio Ramos all started, and Cristiano Ronaldo and Xabi Alonso came on at halftime in the club's 5-1 victory over Murcia. Not to be outdone, Barcelona dropped an identical scoreline on Ceuta in its second-leg match.
Racing Santander 3, Cordoba 1 (3-3 agg., Cordoba advances on away goals)
Espanyol 1, Valladolid 1 (3-1 agg.)
Real Madrid 5, Murcia 1 (5-1 agg.)
Real Zaragoza 1, Real Betis 2 (2-2 agg. Real Betis advances on away goals)
Almeria 2, Real Sociedad 1 (5-3 agg.)
Atletico Madrid 1, Universidad Las Palmas 1 (6-1 agg.)
Deportivo La Coruna 2, Osasuna 1 (3-2 agg.)
Levante 1, Xerez 2 (4-4 agg. Levante advances on away goals)
Sevilla 6, Real Union 1 (10-1 agg.)
Villarreal 2, Polideportivo Ejido 0 (3-1 agg.)
Athletic Bilbao 2, Alcorcon 0 (3-0 agg.)
Barcelona 5, Ceuta 1 (7-1 agg.)
Thursday: Getafe v. Portugalete (1-1 agg.)
Thursday: Sporting Gijon v. Mallorca (1-3 agg.)
Thursday: Valencia v. Logrones CF (3-0 agg.)
Thursday: Malaga v. Hercules (0-0 agg.)
Were you disappointed by the lackluster Manchester derby? Surprised to see Lazio lose two in a row? Which results stood out for you?
Share your thoughts below.