European football Round-up: Real win, Arsenal draw with City

It was a busy day of action across Europe.

Real Madrid moved five points clear of Barcelona at the top of La Liga despite a lacklustre performance as goals from Karim Benzema, Isco and Nacho secured a 3-0 win over Alaves on Sunday.

Benzema volleyed home Dani Carvajal’s cutback for the opening goal just after the half hour mark.

However, the European champions were grateful to Alaves’ wastefulness in front of goal after the break as Deyverson and Edgar Mendez passed up huge chances to equalise.

Isco eventually made the game safe five minutes from time before Nacho rounded off the scoring moments later.

Barcelona can close back to within two points with victory at Granada later on Sunday.

PREMIER LEAGUE

Arsene Wenger endured more frustration as Arsenal were held to a 2-2 draw by top four rivals Manchester City, while Swansea and Middlesbrough remain in relegation danger after a 0-0 draw on Sunday.

With Arsenal fans once again calling for Wenger to resign during a pre-match protest march outside the Emirates Stadium, the Gunners boss desperately needed a dominant display from his team.

Instead, Arsenal twice had to come from behind to avoid a third successive Premier League defeat.

The north Londoners remain in sixth place, seven points behind fourth-placed City in the fight to qualify for the Champions League via a top four finish.

Arsenal fell behind after only five minutes when Leroy Sane held off Hector Bellerin as he accelerated onto Kevin De Bruyne’s pass before rounding David Ospina and slotting home.

Theo Walcott equalised for Arsenal in the 40th minute when he stabbed in after City defender Gael Clichy played him onside following a half-cleared corner.

Just two minutes later, Sergio Aguero restored City’s advantage with a predatory finish after more sloppy Arsenal defending.

Arsenal lost French defender Laurent Koscielny to an Achilles tendon injury at the interval.

But Wenger’s side were back on level terms again eight minutes after half-time as Shkodran Mustafi headed in from Mesut Ozil’s corner.

Meanwhile, at the Liberty Stadium, Middlesbrough wasted a chance to boost their survival bid in a stalemate with relegation rivals Swansea.

BUNDESLIGA

Mario Gomez netted a hat-trick inside seven minutes as Wolfsburg fought back from two goals down to take the lead before Bayer Leverkusen salvaged a point in Sunday’s 3-3 draw.

SERIE A

AC Milan’s hopes of a return to European football next season suffered a setback Sunday when they were held to a 1-1 draw at Serie A’s bottom side Pescara.

The dropped points left Vincenzo Montella’s squad in seventh place in the table, two places and four points adrift of the final Europa League qualifying spot.

MOST DOMINATING WIN

Zinedine Zidane would have been delighted with the Whites’ showing at home to Alaves.

Madrid showed no signs of rustiness after the international break and secured important breathing space at the top of the La Liga table.

BIGGEST UPSET

Sevilla’s stuttering home draw with Sporting was without doubt a big disappointment for boss Jorge Sampaoli.

It meant Atletico Madrid stay in third place, ahead of his charges in the table, and Sevilla seem to be struggling for form when it matters – at the business end of the season.

BEST CONTEST

Arsenal’s draw with Manchester City had a bit of everything and reminded us all why we missed Premier League football so much over the international break.

A point was fair for both sides in North London, however it hasn’t helped either in the table.

BEST GOAL

Sane’s composure to latch onto De Bruyne’s wonderful pass and dispatch the ball with aplomb is a worthy winner in this category.

PLAYER OF THE DAY

Isco ran the show for Madrid at the Bernabeu and it’s about time Los Blancos signed him up to a new deal.

BLUNDER OF THE DAY

Arsenal’s defence was all at sea for Sane’s opener and the Gunners struggled to deal with City’s attacking threat throughout at the Emirates.

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IN PICS: PSG thrash Monaco 4-1 in League Cup Final

More domestic glory for the Parisian club.

Paris Saint-Germain thrashed AS Monaco 4-1 in the Final to win the Coupe de la Ligue trophy on Saturday.

After Julian Draxler opened the scoring early on, Thomas Lemar equalised for Monaco in the 27th minute.

But, just before half-time, Angel Di Maria struck to make it 2-1 for PSG.

It was then the Edinson Cavani show from thereon.

He scored a volley soon after half-time and then added another in the 90th minute.

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European Football wrap: Best player, biggest upset & more

Wilfried Zaha rocked Chelsea as Crystal Palace breathed new life into the Premier League title race with a stunning 2-1 win over the leaders at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Second-place Tottenham Hotspur took advantage by winning 2-0 at Burnley to trim Chelsea’s lead to seven points.

Liverpool closed to within 10 points of Chelsea, albeit having played a game more, after sinking Everton 3-1 in the Merseyside derby.

But Manchester United lost ground in the race for top-four places following a frustrating 0-0 draw at home to West Bromwich Albion.

Robert Lewandowski scored a hat-trick in Bayern Munich’s 6-0 thrashing of Augsburg on Saturday while Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored to secure a 1-1 draw away to Schalke.

Dimitri Payet scored a sublime free-kick to salvage a point for Marseille in a 1-1 home draw against Dijon in Ligue 1.

Angel Di Maria scored one goal and set up two more as Paris Saint-Germain thrashed Monaco 4-1 to lift the French League Cup for the fourth successive season.

Edin Dzeko fired Roma to a 2-0 win over lowly Empoli that maintains the tension in the Serie A title race.

MOST DOMINATING WIN – BAYERN MUNICH

They needed just one goal to reach the 100 mark for the season. They ended up smashing six past Augsburg. With 66% possession and 21 attempts at goal, the Bundesliga giants could not have been more imposing.

BIGGEST UPSET – CRYSTAL PALACE

Chelsea have been an unstoppable force in the Premier League this season. Imagine their surprise when Sam Allardyce and his relegation battling side scored two goals in as many minutes to come back and win from 1-0 down. The fact that they did so at Stamford Bridge only makes the feat all the more impressive.

BEST CONTEST – LIVERPOOL VS EVERTON

The Merseyside derby lived up to its hype this time around. Although Romelu Lukaku didn’t turn up, the likes of Sadio Mane and Philippe Coutinho ensured that we were treated to some decent goals. It was a feisty encounter as well and even featured a goal on debut for Matty Pennington.

BEST GOAL – PHILIPPE COUTINHO

There were a few to choose from. Christian Benteke’s audacious finish against Chelsea, Dimitri Payet’s free-kick from range and Wilfred Ndidi’s thunderbolt for Leicester come to mind.

However, Coutinho’s sumptuous effort comes out on top. The Brazilian picked up the ball in midfield before driving into the Everton box, cutting onto his right foot and curling a beauty past Joel Robles.

PLAYER OF THE DAY – ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI

Never any doubt. The Polish striker was at his lethal best. His hat-trick takes him to the top of the goal scoring charts in the Bundesliga.

BIGGEST BLUNDER – HARRY ARTER

There wasn’t much to report about the snooze-fest that was Southampton vs Bournemouth. So after 79 minutes, Harry Arter decided to change that. The midfielder slipped during his run-up and skied his effort from the spot which could have given the visitors all three points.

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