Soccer Insights Vincent Kompany

Soccer Insights – Jan Vol. 4

The FA Cup saw one of its greatest weekends in recent history, Ronaldo got sent off for Real Madrid, and things keep getting worse for Milan’s two historic clubs. It was another fantastic week of action across Europe!

FA Cup 4th round

Selected Results
Brighton 2-3 Arsenal
Cambridge 0-0 Manchester United
Chelsea 2-4 Bradford
Liverpool 0-0 Bolton
Manchester City 0-2 Middlesbrough
Southampton 2-3 Crystal Palace
Tottenham 1-2 Leicester

Selected 5th round ties
Arsenal v Middlesbrough
Bradford v Sunderland OR Fulham
Crystal Palace v Liverpool OR Bolton
Preston OR Sheffield United v Cambridge OR Manchester United

Talking points
• On a weekend full of shocks, perhaps the biggest was at Stamford Bridge where Chelsea surrendered a two goal lead in defeat against League 1 Bradford. Before the game Jose Mourinho said it would be a disgrace to lose, but his players let him down.
• Another big upset was at the Etihad, where Championship Middlesbrough beat Man City. The Citizens were very lacklustre, with many citing the fact that they took a midweek trip to the Middle East to play a friendly as the reason.
• Two other Premier League giants also suffered against lower league opposition, as Man United drew away to League 2 Cambridge and Liverpool were held by Championship Bolton.

La Liga

Athletic Bilbao 1-1 Malaga
Atletico Madrid 3-1 Rayo Vallecano
Cordoba 1-2 Real Madrid
Deportivo 2-2 Granada
Elche 0-6 Barcelona
Espanyol 3-0 Almeria
Getafe 2-1 Celta Vigo
Real Sociedad 1-0 Eibar
Valencia 3-1 Sevilla
Villarreal 1-0 Levante

1. Real Madrid 48pts
2. Barcelona 47pts
3. Atletico Madrid 44pts
4. Valencia 41pts
5. Sevilla 39pts

Talking points
• With less than ten minutes to play and being held to a draw, a frustrated Ronaldo was sent off for violent conduct. However, in the final minute a Gareth Bale freekick was blocked by a hand, and the Welshman converted the resulting penalty to get Madrid out of jail.
• Barcelona had no such problems as they hit Elche for six, Messi and Neymar both helping themselves to a brace.
• Atletico Madrid are keeping pace with the top two, and Antoine Griezmann continued his fine form with two goals.

Serie A

Cagliari 2-1 Sassuolo
Empoli 1-2 Udinese
Fiorentina 1-1 Roma
Inter 0-1 Torino
Juventus 2-0 Chievo
Lazio 3-1 Milan
Napoli 2-1 Genoa
Parma 1-2 Cesena
Sampdoria 1-1 Palermo
Verona 1-0 Atalanta

1. Juventus 49pts
2. Roma 42pts
3. Napoli 36pts
4. Lazio 34pts
5. Sampdoria 34pts

Talking points
• Pippo Inzaghi could be on the verge of the sack after defeat at Lazio. Philippe Mexes was sent off at the end, before continuing to confront the Lazio players, including grabbing one by the throat. He has escaped with just a four game ban.
• Inter fared no better this weekend as a 94th minute goal condemned them to defeat at Torino. The Nerazzurri are now ten points off a Champions League qualifying spot.
• Paul Pogba was instrumental as Juve claimed another win. The midfielder has been linked away from Turin, and seems destined to become one of the game’s biggest stars in the near future.

Ligue 1

Bastia 0-0 Bordeaux
Evian 1-0 Toulouse
Guingamp 3-2 Lorient
Lille 0-1 Monaco
Lyon 2-0 Metz
Montpellier 4-0 Nantes
Nice 2-1 Marseille
Reims 0-0 Lens
Rennes 1-4 Caen
St Etienne 0-1 PSG

1. Lyon 48pts
2. Marseille 44pts
3. PSG 44pts
4. St Etienne 40pts
5. Monaco 39pts

Talking points
• Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored the only goal from the spot as PSG claimed a big three points at high-flying St Etienne.
• Lyon moved four points clear but it came at a cost – top scorer Alexandre Lacazette went off injured and may miss upcoming games against Monaco and PSG.
• Monaco continued their climb up the table, as a goal from Dimitar Berbatov handed them a sixth win in their last seven games.

What to look out for next week

• Premier League – in a game that could define this season’s title race, Chelsea host Manchester City on Saturday.
• La Liga – David Moyes faces possibly his toughest task yet as Real Sociedad travel to play Real Madrid.
• Serie A – league leaders Juventus are away to Udinese on Sunday.
• Ligue 1 – Lyon make a trip to play the form team in the league, Monaco.
• Bundesliga – the German league makes its long awaited return from the winter break, and its back with a bang as second place Wolfsburg play Bayern Munich.

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Greg Bortkiewicz