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Monday, March 24, 2014

European Leagues Review: Chelsea Humiliate Arsenal, Barcelona Edge Madrid in El Classico as PSG Extend Ligue 1 Lead

Chelsea became the latest club to give Arsenal a thorough hiding after the Blues ruined Arsene Wenger’s 1,000th game in charge of the Gunners with a 6-0 win at Stamford Bridge. Samuel Etoo opened the floodgates for the hosts in the 5th minute before Andre Schurrle, Eden Hazard and Oscar all found the back of the net before half time in a game that was marred by controversy after referee Andre Mariner wrongfully sent off Kieran Gibbs for a handball instead of the real culprit, Alex Oxlade Chamberlin. Two more goals after the interval from Oscar and Mohammed Salah completed the rout as Jose Mourinho extended his unbeaten head-to-head record against Wenger to 11 matches, win 6, draw 5. Both Manchester City and Liverpool pounced on Arsenal’s loss with high scoring victories against Fulham and Cardiff respectively. Luis Suarez netted his third hat-trick of the season as Liverpool cruised 6-3 at Cardiff City, Martin Skytel adding a brace and Daniel Sturridge also netting for the rampant Reds. Yaya Toure also scored a hat-trick in Man City’s 5-0 demolition of bottom club Fulham at the Eitihad. Wayne Rooney scored twice, the first a stunning goal from halfway line as Manchester United bounced back at West Ham with a 2-0 win while there were also wins for Champions League chasing Everton and Tottenham who both won 3-2 against Swansea City and Southampton respectively.

Lionel Messi’s was once again the star of the El Classico clash between Barcelona and Real Madrid after the Argentine netted a hat-trick to help the Catalans edge out Madrid 4-3 at the Santiago Bernabeu. Barcelona pulled ahead in the 7th minute through Andre Iniesta but Real Madrid drew one back in the 20th minute through Karim Benzema who was again on target four minutes later as the hosts took a 2-1 lead. Messi scrambled the equalizer for Gerardo Martino’s men before the interval. Cristiano Ronaldo put his name to the scorers list converting a 55th minute penalty only for Messi to draw Barca level 10 minutes later also from the spot kick as Sergio Ramos was sent off. The Argentine would have the last say in the game as he scored from the spot kick again in the 85th minute to give Barca a win that blew the La Liga title race open again as only one point separate the top three. Atletico Madrid won 2-0 at Real Betis to see them leapfrog Real into top position with both teams locked on 70 points but Diego Simeone’s men have a better head-to-head record.

Bayern Munich will have to wait for one more matchday before they could lay claim to the Bundesliga title. The Bavarians’ 2-0 win at Mainz 05 could have seen them claim the German title had Schalke 04 and Borussia Dortmund fail to win their matches. Late goals from Bastian Schweinstegier and Mario Gotze gave Bayern the win but their title celebrations were put on ice by Dortmund who won 3-0 away to Hannover 96, while Jens Keller’s Schalke dismissed bottomside Eintracht Braunschweig 3-1. Pep Guardiola’s men could still secure the title on matchday 27 at Hertha as Dortmund will host Schalke. Bayer Leverkusen’s recent poor form continued as they were beaten 2-3 by Hoffenheim. It is now nine straight games without victory for Sami Hyypia’s men. Borussia Monchengladbach moved to within two points of fourth-placed Leverkusen with a 3-0 home win over Hertha while Stuttgart moved out of the relegation zone with a solitary goal win over Hamburger SV.

Juventus took yet another giant step to retaining the Serie A title after scrapping to their third straight 1-0 win away at Catania. Carlos Tevez netted the only goal at the hour mark for Antonio Conte’s side who remain 14 points ahead of second placed AS Roma who won 2-0 at Chievo. A goal in the 87th minute from Joaquin settled the third versus fourth clash between Fiorentina and Napoli but the latter still remain 7 points ahead of their weekend conquerors. Milan sides, Inter and AC Milan continued their slump this season with the former losing 1-2 to Atlanta while Clarence Seedorf’s side were held to a 1-1 stalemate at Lazio. Sampdoria crushed Hellas Verona 5-0.


Leaders Paris Saint Germain’s title ambitions received a major boost on the weekend after seeing Monaco held to a 1-1 draw by Lille. The draw allowed PSG to open a 10-point gap at the top having won their match against Lorient 1-0 on Friday, Thiago Motta with the lone strike. Herve Renard’s Saint Ettiene moved to within touching distance of Champions League football with a 3-1 win over visiting Sochaux, a result that put them within a win of Lille. Olympique Marseille failed to win for the fourth consecutive game after going down 0-1 to Rennes while bottom club Ajjacio edged out Vallencienes 3-2.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!