By JUSTIN FERGUSON
For the second straight season, Manchester City’s dreams of a FA Cup title died at the hands of some unlikely underdogs.
Wigan Athletic defeated Manchester City 2-1 Sunday in a rematch of the 2013 FA Cup final, when the now-Championship club netted a late goal to pull off a stunning upset at Wembley Stadium. This time, inside the usually impenetrable Ethiad Stadium, Wigan scored a pair of early goals and held on for another shock win against the title-chasing Citizens.
Man City defender Martin Demchelis was once again the culprit for his team falling behind in an important cup match, as he fouled Marc-Antoine Fortune in the box to setup Jordi Gomez’s 27th-minute penalty conversion. Before the hosts could get another second-half comeback started, Wigan struck again as James Perch doubled the lead with a 47th-minute tap-in. Samir Nasri pulled one back for Man City in the 68th minute, but substitute Edin Dzeko and starting striker Sergio Aguero were unable to find an equalizer despite several attempts on goal.
Like Manchester City, Barcelona felt déjà vu of their own this weekend when they lost 1-0 at relegation-fighting Real Valladolid. Fausto Rossi’s 17th-minute strike was the only goal in the defending champions’ trip to the Nuevo Jose Zorilla, where Barcelona were unable to capitalize on their dominance of possession and multiple chances on goal. Barcelona, who now trail Real Madrid by four points in the race for the league title, have now lost three of their last six matches in La Liga after going losing once in their first 21 fixtures.
Here is a closer look at all the weekend’s action from the top leagues in Europe:
First-place Chelsea moved seven points ahead of the pack in the English Premier League race this weekend with a commanding 4-0 victory against Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge. After another scoreless first half, Chelsea went out in front on a 56th-minute goal from Samuel Eto’o, who took advantage of a slip by Spurs defender Jan Vertonghen. Eto’o drew a red card foul on Younes Kaboul at the hour march, which led to an Eden Hazard penalty conversion, and Demba Ba scored a lightning-fast brace off the bench just before the final whistle blew on another shutout home victory for Chelsea.
Arsenal’s quest to end their lengthy trophy drought continued Saturday with a 4-1 home win against Everton in the FA Cup quarterfinals. Although Everton’s Romelu Lukaku canceled out Mesut Ozil’s early goal with a first-half strike of his own, Mikel Arteta converted a penalty midway through the second half to put the Gunners out in front. Olivier Giroud then came on from the bench to net a quick double in the closing minutes, turning the tense match into a big cup victory for Arsenal, who will face upset-minded Wigan Athletic in the semifinals.
Here are the results from this weekend’s English Premier League action:
Manchester United 3, West Bromwich Albion 0
Cardiff City 3, Fulham 1
Southampton 1, Crystal Palace 0
Norwich City 1, Stoke City 1
Chelsea 4, Tottenham Hotspur 0
Here are the results from this weekend’s FA Cup quarterfinals action:
Arsenal 4, Everton 1
Sheffield United 2, Charlton Athletic 0
Hull City 3, Sunderland 0
Wigan Athletic 2, Manchester City 1
Real Madrid took a three-point La Liga lead Sunday by cruising to a 3-0 home victory against eighth-place Levante. Los Blancos dominated proceedings from the opening whistle, grabbing an early goal from Cristiano Ronaldo in the 11th minute and holding 71 percent of the possession in the match against their upstart visitors. Marcelo doubled the lead for Real Madrid early in the second half, and a late own goal from defender Nikos put the match completely out of reach for 10-man Levante at the Bernabeu.
Atletico Madrid moved into second place after the weekend’s action thanks to a 2-0 road victory at 11th-place Celta Vigo. David Villa notched a quick brace in the middle of the second half, scoring in the 62nd and 64th minutes to give the former Barcelona man his 12th and 13th goals of the La Liga season. Although Celta Vigo had more of the ball in the match, they were limited to just two shots on Thibaut Courtois’ goal as Atletico Madrid grabbed a much-needed win away from the Vicente Calderon.
Here are the results from this weekend’s La Liga action:
Real Valladolid 1, Barcelona 0
Real Betis 2, Getafe 0
Atletico Madrid 2, Celta Vigo 0
Granada 2, Villarreal 0
Espanyol 3, Elche 1
Sevilla 3, Almeria 1
Real Madrid 3, Levante 0
Valencia 1, Athletic Bilbao 1
Another weekend, another blowout Bundesliga victory for runaway leaders Bayern Munich. After falling behind on an early Naldo goal at Wolfsburg, Bayern scored six unanswered goals to post a 6-1 road win at the Volkswagen Arena. Thomas Muller and Mario Mandzukic each notched second-half braces for the defending champions, while Xherdan Shaqiri and Franck Ribery scored goals of their own to extend their Bundesliga winning streak to 16 matches and maintain their 20 point league lead.
Second-place Borussia Dortmund grabbed a 1-0 away win at 17th-place Freiburg thanks to Sebastian Kehl, who scored the match’s lone goal against his former club. Kehl scored just before the hour mark for a Dortmund side that was starting to turn things around after a lackluster start at the Mage Solar Stadion. Dortmund were closer to adding to their lead in the final 30 minutes than Freiburg were to getting an equalizer, and the former Europa League qualifiers will continue to sit in the middle of a tough Bundesliga relegation battle.
Here are the results from this weekend’s Bundesliga action:
Augsburg 2, Borussia Monchengladbach 1
Hamburg 1, Eintracht Frankfurt 1
Hannover 1, Bayer Leverkusen 1
Schalke 4, Hoffenheim 0
Stuttgart 2, Eintracht Braunschweig 2
Bayern Munich 6, Wolfsburg 1
Werder Bremen 2, Nurnberg 0
Borussia Dortmund 1, Freiburg 0
Mainz 1, Hertha Berlin 1
First-place Juventus got their revenge and opened a three-game slate with Fiorentina in a 1-0 home victory against the Viola in Turin. Juventus improved to 14-0-0 at their home stadium this season with the victory, which was earned by a Kwadwo Asamoah 42nd-minute goal that featured some trickery from the winger. Although Juve scored only one goal against Fiorentina, who were the only team to have beaten the defending champions in Serie A play this season, they dominated most of the match and kept their visitors from registering a single shot on goal.
Third-place also registered a 1-0 home victory on a fellow Top-4 opponent, second-place Napoli. Unlike Juventus, Napoli left it late against the capital club on Sunday, getting an 81st-minute winner from Jose Maria Callejon that soared into the top corner of Morgan De Sanctis’ net. Napoli opened a 10-point cushion over fourth-place Fiorentina with the victory, as the Viola will have a tough task ahead of them if they are to challenge for Serie A’s final Champions League spot.
Here are the results from this weekend’s Serie A action:
Udinese 1, AC Milan 0
Catania 1, Cagliari 1
Juventus 1, Fiorentina 0
Bologna 0, Sassuolo 0
Chievo Verona 2, Genoa 1
Inter Milan 1, Torino 0
Atalanta 1, Lazio 0
Parma 2, Hellas Verona 0
Sampdoria 4, Livorno 2
Napoli 1, AS Roma 0
First-place Paris Saint-Germain took another step closer to a repeat Ligue 1 title this weekend with a 3-0 road victory at Bastia. Zlatan Ibrahimovic got PSG off to a flying start with a 6th-minute header for his 23rd goal of the Ligue 1 season. Ezequiel Lavezzi scored 13 minutes later off an assist from Ibrahimovic, and he received another key pass from the star Swedish striker for his second goal just minutes before the final whistle at the Armand-Cesari-Furiani.
Second-place AS Monaco maintained their pace behind the defending champions in their 2-1 victory against Sochaux at the Stade Louis II. Dimitar Berbatov netted his first Ligue 1 goal for Monaco in the sixth minute of the match, and new teammate James Rodriguez doubled the lead from the penalty spot in the 66th minute. Edouard Butin pulled one back for the visitors in the 83rd minute, but his strike was the only one of Sochaux’s seven on goal that was able to get past Danijel Subasic.
Here are the results from this weekend’s Ligue 1 action:
Marseille 1, Nice 0
Paris Saint-Germain 3, Bastia 0
AS Monaco 2, Sochaux 1
Guingamp 1, Evian Thonon Gaillard 0
Nantes 2, Ajaccio 2
Toulouse 3, Stade de Reims 2
Valenciennes 2, Stade Rennes 1
Lille 2, Montpellier 0
Lorient 1, Saint Etienne 0
Lyon 2, Bordeaux 1
What did you think of this weekend’s European league action? Shocked at Manchester City falling to Wigan Athletic once again in the FA Cup? Think the trophy is Arsenal’s to lose at this point? What do you see is the problem for Barcelona right now in La Liga?
Share your thoughts below.