With club football back in full swing, there was barely a break after midweek action. The Premier League made way for the FA Cup, which saw Manchester City eliminated Chelsea, setting up a potential encounter with Arsenal. Manchester United and Tottenham progressed, but Liverpool’s draw against Wolves set up a replay.
Over in France, PSG kicked off their Coupe de France campaign with a nervous win, while Montpellier, AS Monaco and Nice suffered shock exits. Barcelona reclaimed the top spot in LaLiga following a hard-fought win over Atletico Madridaided by Real Madrid’s loss away to Villarreal.
Serie A leaders Napoli returned to their winning ways with an easy victory over Sampdoria. Inter Milan and AC Milan stumbled in their chase, the latter conceding twice in the last six minutes against Roma to drop points, allowing Juventus to climb to second.
By The Numbers has the best stats from the weekend’s action:
The good times are back for Marcus Rashford, who has a goal contribution in five straight games for Manchester United for the first time in his career. He also became the first Manchester United player to score in seven consecutive home appearances in all competitions since Wayne Rooney (February – April 2012).
– Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) January 8, 2023
Manchester United are on a seven-game winning streak in all competitions, their longest such streak since winning eight on the trot between December 2018 to January 2019 (which happened to be how Ole Gunnar Solskjaer started at the club). They finished sixth that season.
Harry Kane scored his 265th goal for Tottenham Hotspur in their win over Portsmouth, just one short of the all-time record held by Jimmy Greaves. Incredibly, the duo scored their 265th goal for the club on the same day – January 7th, albeit 53 years apart.
Chelsea has failed to reach the FA Cup 4th Round for the first time in 25 seasons, a streak that had been tied for the longest streak in FA Cup history (Man United from 1985-09). It’s their first 3rd round elimination since 1997-98. pic.twitter.com/BKeuxEckBa
– ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 8, 2023
Chelsea’s xG total of 0.10 in their 0-4 loss to Manchester City was their worst in the last five seasons.
Manchester City have won five straight games against Chelsea in all competitions for the first time in their history.
Phil Foden is the only player to score in each of the last five FA Cup campaigns.
Alisson Becker made his 10th error leading to a goal in his career with Liverpool, his first since December 2021. Jurgen Klopp’s side have only won thrice in the 10 games in which Alisson made an error.
Liverpool forward Darwin Nunez ended his run of 444 minutes without a goal – his last coming on November 12 before the World Cup. He had 20 shots in the interim (five of which had an xG value of 0.20 or higher) with a total of 3.05 xG.
Mo Salah scored his 173rd goal for Liverpool, but only his fifth in the FA Cup. He’s now 10 goals behind sixth-placed Robbie Fowler in the club’s all-time scoring charts. This was also Salah’s 17th goal in all competitions this season, only Erling Haaland (27), Kylian Mbappé (20) and Robert Lewandowski (18) have more among players from teams in Europe’s Top 5 leagues.
Ah, the magic of the FA Cup… This third round saw eight Premier League clubs get knocked out, the most since 2007-08 (9), which was the last season that had a non-Prem team in the final (Cardiff ).
WELCOME TO @Wrexham_AFC!
Wrexham stuns Coventry 4-3 in the 3rd Round of the FA Cup!
The club owned by @VancityReynolds & @RMcElhenney becomes the 3rd non-league club to defeat a Championship club in the last 2 FA Cups. pic.twitter.com/wdpC2szYfV
– ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 7, 2023
Barcelona’s total of 0.63 xG was their lowest in a LaLiga win since Xavi took over as manager, and even over the last two seasons. In contrast, Atletico Madrid had 20 shots on goal, their most in a LaLiga loss over the last two seasons and their most in a LaLiga game vs Barcelona since 2010-11. Not the narrative most would have expected.
In keeping with the whole Barca-are-defensive-savants narrative, they are the club with the best defensive record in all of Europe’s Top 5 leagues. They’ve only conceded six goals so far, with Juventus second (seven goals conceded).
Moment of the weekend: Dembele’s ice-cool winner for Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid
Ousmane Dembele joined Antoine Griezmann as the only two players in LaLiga with 5+ goals and 5+ assists this season. This was also the first time Dembele had scored in consecutive games for the club since April 2021.
That was Barcelona’s first goal at the Metropolitano Stadium since Messi scored in 2019 �� pic.twitter.com/a3lStspeNv
– ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) January 8, 2023
Villarreal earned their first win over Real Madrid in LaLiga since 2018, snapping a streak of nine LaLiga games without a win. Up next? Ending their eight-game run without a win over Athletic Bilbao.
Karim Benzema scored his 227th LaLiga goal against Villarreal, tying Alfredo Di Stefano (227) for sixth and one goal shy of Raul Gonzalez (228) for fifth on the all-time LaLiga top scorers list.
Yeremy Pino ended a 19-game run of not scoring for Villarreal in all competitions. He became the sixth player since at least 1998-99 to score multiple LaLiga goals against Real Madrid before turning 21 years old. Pino won’t turn 21 until October, which means he’ll have at least one more chance to tie Lionel Messi and Ezequiel Garay for the most such goals vs Real Madrid (3).
Real Madrid have lost their first game in two consecutive calendar years (2022 vs Getafe, 2023 vs Villarreal) for the first time in 74 years (1948 vs Alcoyano, 1949 vs Barcelona)
For the first time in Real Madrid’s 121-year history, they fielded an entire starting XI without a Spanish player.
They lost 2-1 to Villarreal �� pic.twitter.com/F3GNGKZd3L
– ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) January 8, 2023
Elche became the 29th different opponent against which Iago Aspas has scored in LaLiga. The only teams he failed to score against are Almería and Celta Vigo.
David Silva became the oldest player on record (1998-99 onwards) to score on his birthday in LaLiga, turning 37 and scoring in Real Sociedad’s 2-0 win over Almeria.
Sevilla ended their run of seven games without a win at home, going back to the start of the season, with a 2-1 win over Getafe.
AC Milan saw their 49-game win streak when leading by multiple goals in a Serie A match come to an end against Roma, who managed a 2-goal comeback to earn a 2-2 draw. It was the first time Milan failed to win a game when leading by multiple goals since their Derby della Madonnina match against Inter on February 9, 2020 (a 4-2 loss). It was also the first time since October 2009 (vs Napoli) that Milan saw a two-goal lead going into the 85th minute evaporate.
It was a day for surrendering leads, as Lazio failed to win a match in which they had a 2+ goal margin in the last 10 minutes of play only for the second time in their Serie A history (vs Fiorentina on March 14th, 1943 and vs Empoli on January 8th, 2023)
The Massimiliano Allegri effect is in full flow at Juventus, who’ve kept 12 clean sheets in 17 games this season – the best defensive record since Cagliari in 1966/67 (13). Juve’s total of five 1-0 wins is the most in Europe’s top 5 leagues, while their streak of eight consecutive wins without conceding a goal is their most since January – March 2018.
COUPE DE FRANCE
PSG made it to the Round of 32 in the Coupe de France for the 32nd straight time, last failing to do so in 1990, when they lost to Valenciennes.
Chateauroux became the first club playing in the third tier or below to score against PSG in the Coupe de France since Arras FA, 10 years ago.
RONALDO MESSI WATCH
It was a watching brief for both superstars, as Lionel Messi was rested by Christophe Galtier in PSG’s win over Chateauroux, while Cristiano Ronaldo served 50% of his two-game suspension and watched from the sidelines as Al Nassr won.
Incredibly, the pair could face off against one another on January 19th, a friendly between PSG and a Saudi Riyadh Season select team.