Photo by Javier Garcia / ISIPhotos.com
By JUSTIN FERGUSON
The weekend’s top two fixtures in the Fifth Round of the FA Cup were rematches of recent clashes between English Premier League title contenders.
This time, the losers in the league matches got revenge and moved on to the quarterfinals of the sport’s oldest tournament.
On Sunday, Arsenal moved past their blowout league loss at Anfield to Liverpool and handed the visiting Reds a 2-1 FA Cup defeat at Emirates Stadium. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was the hero for the host Gunners, scoring in the 16th minute on a rebound and assisting Lukas Podolski in the 47th minute to double the lead. The English winger almost gave Liverpool an equalizer following Steven Gerrard’s penalty conversion at the hour mark, but referee Howard Webb refused to give the Reds another spot kick following Oxlade-Chamberlain’s foul on Luis Suarez.
Before Arsenal got their revenge on Liverpool, Manchester City made sure Chelsea did not grab their second road win at the Ethiad Stadium in two weeks with a 2-0 victory Saturday against the Blues. Stevan Jovetic and Samir Nasri both scored for Manchester City against a Chelsea defense that was missing club captain John Terry. On the offensive end, Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea offense were not able to get a single shot on Costel Pantilimon’s goal, ending the Blues’ hopes of a FA Cup title while keeping Manchester City in the race for four different competitions.
Here is a closer look at all the weekend’s action from the top leagues in Europe:
Everton booked a visit to Emirates Stadium to face Arsenal in the FA Cup quarterfinals with a 3-1 victory against Swansea City on Sunday at Goodison Park. New loan signing Lacina Traore, a 6-foot-8 forward currently under contract at AS Monaco, scored four minutes into his Everton debut, but Jonathan De Guzman equalized for the visiting Swans in the 15th minute. Steven Naismith restored Everton’s lead in the 65th minute and then won a penalty seven minutes later, giving Leighton Baines the chance to secure progression to the next round from the penalty spot.
On Saturday, Sunderland kept their recent success against Southampton with a narrow 1-0 victory over the Saints at the Stadium of Light. Sunderland manager Gus Poyet elected to start several reserves during the midst of his team’s loaded schedule, keeping USMNT Jozy Altidore out of the 18 for the match. Craig Gardner scored the only goal in a match with little drama in the 49th minute, firing a distance shot off the underside of Kelvin Davis’ crossbar and in for the win.
Here are the results from this weekend’s FA Cup Fifth Round action:
Sunderland 1, Southampton 0
Wigan Athletic 2, Cardiff City 1
Sheffield Wednesday vs. Charlton Athletic (POSTPONED)
Manchester City 2, Chelsea 0
Everton 3, Swansea City 1
Sheffield United 3, Nottingham Forest 1
Arsenal 2, Liverpool 1
The three-way tie in points at the top of La Liga remained intact after this weekend’s action as Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid all recorded shutout victories. First-place Barcelona’s win was the most lopsided, and the defending champions extended their goal differential lead with a 6-0 rout of Rayo Vallecano at Camp Nou. Forward Lionel Messi was the only Barcelona player to score multiple goals in the dominant victory, which started with an Adriano goal two minutes in and ended with a fantastic strike from Neymar in the 89th minute.
City rivals Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid each posted 3-0 victories this weekend against bottom-half sides. Real won in style at Getafe, getting early goals from Jese and Karim Benzema and a low strike from an in-form Luka Modric midway through the second half. Atletico ended their three-match losing streak at home against Real Valladolid on a pair of lightning-fast goals from Raul Garcia and Diego Costa and a second-half header from Diego Godin.
Here are the results from this weekend’s La Liga action:
Elche 0, Osasuna 0
Atletico Madrid 3, Real Valladolid 0
Levante 1, Almeria 0
Barcelona 6, Rayo Vallecano 0
Celta Vigo 2, Villarreal 0
Granada 1, Real Betis 0
Real Madrid 3, Getafe 0
Espanyol 2, Athletic Bilbao 1
Sevilla 0, Valencia 0
First-place Bayern Munich easily swept aside Freiburg 4-0 Saturday in their final match before the start of the knockout stage of the Champions League, which they are trying to defend in what has already been a dominant season. Defender Dante put Bayern ahead in the 19th minute, and Xherdan Shaqiri scored twice before halftime to put the hosts on their way to another big victory in Bundesliga play. Claudio Pizarro put the finishing touches on the rout with a goal with two minutes left on the clock at Allianz Arena.
Schalke 04 moved six points ahead of former fifth-place side Borussia Monchengladbach for the Bundesliga’s final Champions League spot with a 2-1 road win at second-place Bayer Leverkusen. Leon Goretzka put Schalke ahead just before the half-hour mark with a chip goal over Leverkusen keeper Bernd Leno, but teammate Santana gave the hosts an equalizer with an own goal in the 68th minute. Klaas-Jan Huntleaar gave Schalke the lead for good six minutes later, heading in a free kick from Jefferson Farfan.
Here are the results from this weekend’s Bundesliga action:
Mainz 2, Hannover 0
Bayern Munich 4, Freiburg 0
Borussia Dortmund 4, Eintracht Frankfurt 0
Hoffenheim 4, Stuttgart 1
Eintracht Braunschweig 4, Hamburg 2
Werder Bremen 1, Borussia Mönchengladbach 1
Schalke 2, Bayer Leverkusen 1
Nurnberg 1, Augsburg 0
Wolfsburg 2, Hertha Berlin 1
League-leading Juventus kept their momentum in Serie A play going with a 3-1 home victory against Chievo Verona on Sunday, making the defending champions a perfect 12-for-12 in home wins this season. Juve scored all three of their goals in the first hour — from Kwadwo Asamoah, Claudio Marchisio and Fernando Llorente — and also handed Chievo Verona their only goal by way of a Martin Caceres deflection. Even with the loss, Chievo sit just two points away from safety in a crowded relegation battle at the bottom of the league table.
Inter Milan earned a crucial win in their hunt for European qualification Saturday, defeating Fiorentina 2-1 for their first road win since November. Rodrigo Palacio scored in the 34th minute to give the visitors a lead, but Fiorentina equalized seconds into the second half on a low shot from Juan Guillermo Cuadrado. Mauro Icardi put Inter Milan back ahead in the 65th minute with a well-struck volley, and his defense held off the Fiorentina attack to earn the three points at the Artemio Franchi.
Here are the results from this weekend’s Serie A action:
AC Milan 1, Bologna 0
Inter Milan 2, Fiorentina 1
Catania 3, Lazio 1
Parma 4, Atalanta 0
Livorno 2, Cagliari 1
Genoa 3, Udinese 3
Juventus 3, Chievo Verona 1
Napoli 2, Sassuolo 0
AS Roma 3, Sampdoria 0
First-place Paris Saint-Germain kicked off the Ligue 1 weekend with another comfortable home victory at the Parc des Princes, this time a 3-0 win against relegation-zoned Valenciennes. Ezequiel Lavezzi opened the scoring in the 18th minute off an easy finish from a free kick by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who scored minutes into the second half off a pass from new signing Yohan Cabaye. Gary Kagelmacher made Valenciennes’ day in the capital even worse two minutes later when he deflected Lavezzi’s cross past goalkeeper Nicolas Penneteau for PSG’s final goal of the match.
AS Monaco stayed five points behind PSG at the end of the weekend’s action thanks to a 2-0 road win at Bastia. James Rodriguez scored both goals for Monaco, who are now unbeaten in their last nine matches in all competitions. Rodriguez scored just before the halftime whistle against a tough Bastia defense, and the former FC Porto winger capped off a perfect steal-and-score sequence in the 76th minute to put the match out of reach for the eighth-place hosts.
Here are the results from this weekend’s Ligue 1 action:
Paris Saint-Germain 3, Valenciennes 0
AS Monaco 2, Bastia 0
Toulouse 3, Lorient 1
Nice 0, Nantes 0
Sochaux 1, Guingamp 0
Stade de Reims 1, Bordeaux 0
Stade Rennes 2, Montpellier 2
Lyon 3, Ajaccio 1
Evian Thonon Gaillard 2, Lille 2
Saint Etienne 1, Marseille 1
What did you think of this weekend’s European league action? Surprised at Arsenal’s victory against Liverpool after their blowout loss last weekend? Think Manchester City can make it back to the FA Cup final? Which other results caught your eye?
Share your thoughts below.