Mid-week matches can be rather taxing on the schedules of the regular football fan, but sometimes the action is just worth it. This was one of those times.
In England, Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle United stunned Manchester City (2-1) at St. James’ Park but Liverpool couldn’t extend their lead at the top to seven as Leicester City held them 1-1 at Anfield. The gap at the top of the PL is at five now. Burnley ended Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s perfect start at Manchester United but a 2-2 draw means he is still undefeated. Bournemouth hammered Chelsea 4-0, meanwhile, and Maurizio Sarri’s inner Mourinho made yet another appearance. Arsenal beat Cardiff City 2-1 and the race for a top-four spot continues to provide for riveting entertainment.
Over in Italy, Atalanta stripped Juventus of their aura of invincibility, beating them 3-0 in their Coppa Italia quarterfinal clash. And in Spain, Barcelona overcame a 2-0 first leg deficit to trounce Sevilla 6-1 at home in the second and make yet another Copa del Rey semi-final.
Here, then, are the best numbers from the mid-week action:
This is the first time Juventus have been eliminated from the Coppa Italia under Massimiliano Allegri. He’d won four domestic doubles in his four seasons in Turin before this. This is also their first loss in domestic competitions this season (W 21, D 2 before this).
Also, 1 – Who needs Higuain? Krzysztof Piatek scored his first goal for AC Milan with his first shot on target. The Pole would score again to help Milan ease past Napoli 2-0 and into the Coppa semi-finals.
Fiorentina absolutely hammered Roma 7-1 in their Coppa quarterfinal. This is only the sixth time in their history that the Giallorossi have conceded seven goals in the same match — it is, though, the first time in the Coppa Italia (the last was vs Bayern Munich in 2014).
Coppa Italia semi-finals – Milan vs Fiorentina, Atalanta vs Inter/Lazio
Lionel Messi’s eight-game scoring streak in all competitions is tied for the third-longest streak of his Barcelona career, and his longest with Barcelona since 2012-13.
Barcelona have qualified to the Copa del Rey semi-finals for the ninth consecutive season, a tournament record.
Copa del Rey semi-finalists – Valencia, Real Betis, Barcelona, Real Madrid/Girona (Madrid lead 4-2 on aggregate)
Chelsea’s four-goal loss is tied for the club’s biggest defeat in Premier League history and biggest since their loss to Liverpool (5-1) in September 1996.
Sean Dyche has never lost a Premier League game on Tuesday; winning three and draw two.
Since Solskjaer took over at Manchester United, Paul Pogba’s 10 goal involvements (six goals, four assists) is the most of any player in the top five leagues. Virus, eh?
Sergio Aguero loves Newcastle, doesn’t he? The Argentine has scored 14 goals in his 12 Premier League appearances for City against the Magpies — more than any player has against an opponent for a single club in Premier League history.
Pep Guardiola missed out on equalling Jose Mourinho’s record of most points picked up in their first 100 PL games with that loss at Newcastle. Back when he was still very much the ‘Special One’, Mourinho had won 237 points in his first 100.
Mesut Ozil has created 501 goalscoring chances in the Premier League. Since his debut in September 2013, only Christian Eriksen has more (510). He may be infuriating on occasion, but the German can play, can’t he?
(Statistics courtesy ESPN Stats & Information)