By JUSTIN FERGUSON
Back-to-back defending Serie A champions Juventus entered their home stadium Sunday with a five-point lead on an AS Roma side that had not yet tasted defeat in the 2013-14 campaign.
That all changed at the end of the match in Turin.
In what was the biggest match of the Serie A season so far, Juventus rolled over nine-man AS Roma 3-0, ending the capital club’s unbeaten run and giving the defending champions an even more commanding lead in their quest for a three-peat. Arturo Vidal struck first for Juventus in the 17th minute, putting the finishing touch on a nice sequence with Carlos Tevez. Leonardo Bonucci doubled the lead three minutes into the second half, and two Roma red cards within the span of 90 seconds led to a Mirko Vucinic penalty conversion to put a bow on Juve’s 10th consecutive victory.
While the defending Italian champions cruised in Turin, defending English champions Manchester United fell in yet another devastating home loss in the young David Moyes Era. Wilfried Bony’s 90th-minute header gave Swansea City a 2-1 road victory over Manchester United in the Third Round of the FA Cup, marking only the second immediate cup exit for the Red Devils in 30 years. Moyes’ squad, which only put two shots on Swansea’s goal and went down a man in the 80th minute after substitute Fabio’s bad tackle, has now lost five matches at Old Trafford this season.
Here is a closer look at all the weekend’s action from the top leagues in Europe:
Arsenal extended their unbeaten run across all competitions to five matches and eliminated North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur with a 2-0 victory Sunday at Emirates Stadium. Santi Cazorla put the host Gunners out in front with a fine strike in the 31st minute, and teammate Tomas Rosicky doubled the lead in the 62nd minute with a fantastic individual effort that ended with a chipped goal over Hugo Lloris. An apparent knee injury for forward Theo Walcott put a small damper on the day for Arsenal, whose health concerns continue to grow during their tough winter schedule.
The upset of the FA Cup weekend belonged to League One’s Sheffield United, who upset Premier League side Aston Villa 2-1 at Villa Park on Saturday. Jamie Murphy opened the scoring in the 20th minute for Sheffield, who currently sit in 18th place in England’s third division. Nicklas Helenius came off the bench to net an equalizer for Aston Villa in the second half, but Ryan Flynn gave Sheffield the victory in the 81st minute with a fantastic strike past Villa goalkeeper Jed Steer.
Here are the results from this weekend’s FA Cup action:
Blackburn Rovers 1, Manchester City 1
Sheffield United 2, Aston Villa 1
Coventry City 2, Barnsley 1
Bolton Wanderers 2, Blackpool 1
Brighton and Hove Albion 1, Reading 0
Bristol City 1, Watford 1
Stevenage 3, Doncaster Rovers 2
Everton 4, Queens Park Rangers 0
Huddersfield Town 3, Grimsby Town 2
Ipswich Town 1, Preston North End 1
Kidderminster 0, Peterborough United 0
Macclesfield Town 1, Sheffield United 1
Hull City 2, Middlesbrough 0
Cardiff City 2, Newcastle United 1
Norwich City 1, Fulham 1
Rochdale 2, Leeds United 0
Southampton 4, Burnley 3
Southend United 4, Millwall 1
Stoke City 2, Leicester City 1
Crystal Palace 2, West Bromwich Albion 0
Wigan Athletic 3, MK Dons 3
Yeovil Town 4, Leyton Orient 0
Arsenal 2, Tottenham Hotspur 0
Nottingham Forest 5, West Ham United 0
Sunderland 3, Carlisle United 1
Chelsea 2, Derby County 0
Liverpool 2, Oldham Athletic 0
Port Vale 2, Plymouth Argyle 2
Swansea City 2, Manchester United 1
Crawley Town vs. Bristol Rovers
AFC Bournemouth vs. Burton Albion
Charlton Athletic vs. Oxford United
Second-place Atletico Madrid opened the La Liga weekend Saturday with a 1-0 road victory against Malaga, extending their league winning streak to five matches. Atletico have struggled to score away from the Vicente Calderon this season, but Koke’s 70th-minute rebound past Willy Caballero was enough for the visitors to take the lead at La Rosaleda. Diego Simeone’s side then put most of its efforts into defending its hard-fought advantage, and Malaga were unable to find a way past Thibaut Courtois.
First-place Barcelona kept a hold of the top spot in La Liga and extended their goal differential advantage over Atletico Madrid with a 4-0 home win against Elche. Winger Alexis Sanchez led the way for the defending champions, who were still without star forward Lionel Messi, with a hat trick against Elche. After Alexis’ first goal in the seventh minute, Pedro doubled the lead with a 16th-minute strike, which paved the way for a second-half brace from Alexis that sealed the hat trick and an easy victory for Barcelona.
Here are the results from this weekend’s La Liga action:
Atletico Madrid 1, Malaga 0
Real Valladolid 0, Real Betis 0
Valencia 2, Levante 0
Almeria 3, Granada 0
Sevilla 3, Getafe 0
Barcelona 4, Elche 0
Osasuna 1, Espanyol 0
Real Sociedad 2, Athletic Bilbao 0
Fiorentina put additional pressure on Napoli, who play Monday, with their 1-0 home victory against Livorno on Sunday. Gonzalo Rodriguez’s 66th-minute header was enough to earn the Viola their third consecutive shutout victory and draw level with Napoli on points in the race for Serie A’s third and final Champions League place. Rodriguez added to his heroics 11 minutes later by pulling an on-target from Livorno off his goalkeeper’s line, and Fiorentina ended the match on the front foot with a couple of close chances.
Here are the results from this weekend’s Serie A action:
Chievo Verona 0, Cagliari 0
Fiorentina 1, Livorno 0
Juventus 3, AS Roma 0
What did you think of this weekend’s European action? Surprised at Juventus’ easy victory over AS Roma? Think David Moyes will survive this season at Manchester United? Which other results caught your eye?
Share your thoughts below.