[[DES_1]]Three days before their trip to the Camp Nou, Valencia have fallen to 1-0 defeat at home to Sporting Gijón, a result that leaves them in the bottom half of the table. Gary Neville’s side was not lacking in the way of chances at Mestalla, but failed to take any of them and the game was eventually decided by a 50th minute penalty converted by Sanabria.
Atlético Madrid, who Barça of course beat 2-1 on Saturday to go three points clear at the top of La Liga, are now just one point ahead of Real Madrid. Zinedine Zidane’s side made light work of a poor Espanyol to win 6-0 at the Bernabéu. Cristiano Ronaldo netted a hat-trick and Benzema, James and an own goal from Duarte were the other goalscorers.
Next up in La Liga for Barça is a Sunday lunchtime game away to Levante, who are still rooted to the bottom of the table after a 3-1 defeat at Sevilla. Gameiro put the home side a goal up within the first minute, and when Iborra added a second after the break, it looked like game over.
Some sloppy goalkeeping allowed Rossi to pinch one back for Levante, but any glimmer of hope of a comeback was extinguished when Ukrainian international Konoplyanka struck Sevilla’s third.
Barça’s Champions League opponents Arsenal were on FA Cup duty this weekend, and their bid to become the first team to win the title three times in a row since the 19th century was kept alive by a 2-1 defeat of Championship side Burnley.
It was former Barça striker Alexis Sánchez who scored the 53rd minute winner at the Emirates after Calum Chamber’s earlier goal had been cancelled out by a Sam Vokes header in the first half.