Welcome back to The Corner, our weekly round-up from the world of football. Chelsea failed to fully bounce back from their Champions League exit but still managed to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League table as nearest rivals Manchester City stuttered at Turf Moor. In La Liga, Gareth Bale gave Madrid fans something to cheer about but Barca are still top thanks to a brace of goals from Lionel Messi against newly-promoted Eibar.
Chelsea extend lead
Diego Costa ended a seven-game goal drought for Chelsea as the Blues were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw by Southampton at Stamford Bridge. The Spanish international’s early header was cancelled out by Dusan Tadic’s penalty less than 10 minutes later with Jose Mourinho’s men failing to fully capitalise on Manchester City’s recent struggles. Vincent Kompany’s team-mates are now six points off the pace after suffering a disappointing 1-0 loss to Burnley.
El Clasico in sight
Elsewhere, Argentina’s Lionel Messi netted twice to take his season’s goal total to 43 as Barcelona downed Eibar 2-0 at Ipurua on Sunday.
The former Ballon d’Or inspired the Blaugranas to victory and this result puts Luis Enrique’s side one point clear of Real Madrid ahead of next week’s El Clasico.
Los Merengues, who were without a win in three matches beat Levante 2-0 with Gareth Bale responding to criticism over his recent form with a brace of goals at the Santiago Bernabéu.
Up and down
Let’s now check out who made our ‘Up and Down’ list from all of last week’s action. Vahid Halilhodzic is on the up side as the 62-year-old made his first public appearance as the new Japan coach.
Speaking at a press conference in Tokyo on Friday, Halilhodzic, who had been out of work since leaving Turkish side Trabzonspor in November, laid out his plans to help his new side move up in the FIFA rankings.
Also making the up list are German giants Bayern Munich who are looking unstoppable at the moment. Pep Guardiola’s men recorded their sixth consecutive Bundesliga triumph with an emphatic 4-0 win at Werder Bremen and are now 14points clear at the top of the table.
On the down, Atlético Madrid surrendered third place in La Liga to Valencia when they were held to a goalless draw at mid-table Espanyol on Saturday.
Diego Simeone’s men will need to get back to winning ways soon if they want to stay in touch with the top two.
On this day
On this day in 1872, the Royal Engineers locked horns with the Wanderers in the first final of the FA Cup, the world’s oldest football tournament. The historic showpiece match took place at Kennington Oval in London before a crowd of 2,000.
We might be wrong
Here you have our predictions, for some selected matches next weekend. How will they end? As you know we might be wrong so please help us by sending your predictions, on the social networks, using #TheCornerScores.
Atletico Madrid 2-0 Bayer Leverkusen
Monaco 1-1 Arsenal
Barcelona 2-1 Manchester City
Dortmund 0-1 Juventus
Well that’s it for this edition of The Corner but join us next Monday for another round up of European club football. We leave you with a selection of superb indirect free kicks. Join in on the action and send us your videos using #TheCornerBloopers.