European Weekend Rewind: Birmingham wins Carling Cup, Udinese rolls, & more

BirminghamWins (Getty Images)

By IAN HOLLIDAY

Birmingham City won its first trophy since 1963 this weekend when it defeated Arsenal in the final of the English Carling Cup. The Blues defeated Arsenal 2-1 on Obafemi Martins' 89th minute goal, which was gifted to him by a miscommunication between Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and defender Laurent Koscielny. For the Gunners, the loss means their six-year trophy drought will continue for at least a few more months.

The Gunners' defeat was made worse by title rivals Manchester United's 4-0 victory over Wigan Athletic. The Red Devils are now four points ahead of Aresnal in the Premier League.

FC Barcelona also extended its league lead this weekend, winning 3-0 over Mallorca while Real Madrid managed only a scoreless draw at Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday.

In Italy, Udinese stole headines from the country's biggest clubs by dropping a seven-spot on Palermo. Chilean striker Alexis Sanchez scored four goals in just 53 minutes on the pitch and Antonio Di Natale added a hat-trick in the 7-0 win that raised the club to 5th place in Serie A, just one point behind Lazio for a Champions League spot.

First met third in Germany this weekend, with leaders Borussia Dortmund coming out victorious, defeating Bayern Munich 3-1. Munich's loss was Hannover's game, as Steve Cherundolo's squad moving back into third place with its 1-0 win over St. Pauli.

Here is a rundown of all the weekend scores from Europe's top leagues:

ENGLAND

While Arsenal lost ground to Man United by being inactive in the Premier League this week, third-placed Manchester City fell further behind by failing to hold onto its lead against Fulham. Mario Balotelli put the home side ahead in the 26th minute, but Damien Duff equalized for the visitors just after halftime, and the match ended 1-1. Man City is now all but eliminated from contention for the Premier League title, trailing their crosstown rivals by 10 points with 10 matches left in the season.

CARLING CUP

Arsenal 1, Birmingham City 2

PREMIER LEAGUE

West Ham United 3, Liverpool 1

Manchester City 1, Fulham 1

Aston Villa 4, Blackburn 1

Everton 2, Sunderland 0

Newcastle United 1, Bolton 1

Wigan Athletic 0, Manchester United 4

Wolverhampton Wanderers 4, Blackpool 0

Monday: Stoke City v. West Bromwich Albion

SPAIN

This week promises to be a busy one for La Liga, with all 20 clubs in action between Tuesday and Thursday. But the most interesting match-up promises to be third-placed Valencia hosting leaders Barcelona. The Catalan club got two goals from Lionel Messi this weekend to defeat Mallorca 3-0, but it will face a stiffer test on Wednesday at Valencia. Meanwhile, Real Madrid will host last-placed Malaga on Thursday. If Barca stumbles at all, Madrid will have a chance to make up the points it lost this weekend. With seven points to make up and only 13 matches left in the season, Jose Mourinho's side is running out of chances to reclaim the La Liga title.

Hercules 0, Getafe 0

Levante 2, Osasuna 1

Racing Santander 2, Villarreal 2

Athletic Bilbao 1, Valencia 2

Atletico Madrid 2, Sevilla 2

Espanyol 4, Real Sociedad 1

Sporting Gijon 0, Real Zaragoza 0

Mallorca 0, Barcelona 3

Deportivo La Coruna 0, Real Madrid 0

Monday: Malaga v. Almeria

ITALY

Serie A also features a first vs. third match this mid-week, with AC Milan hosting Napoli Monday night. After the weekend's results, the Milan club is only 2 points ahead of arch-rivals Inter, and will need a win to keep its multi-game lead at the top of the Italian table. A win for the visitors would pull Napoli level on points with the Rossoneri and set up a fascinating three-tream race heading into the season's home stretch.

Catania 2, Genoa 1

AS Roma 2, Parma 2

Bari 1, Fiorentina 1

Brescia 2, Lecce 2

Cagliari 1, Lazio 0

Cesena 1, Chievo 0

Palermo 0, Udinese 7

Sampdoria 0, Inter Milan 2

Juventus 0, Bologna 2

Monday: AC Milan v. Napoli

GERMANY

The marquee Bundesliga match-up this week was Bayern Munich's home clash with Borussia Dortmund. The leaders have been far from perfect since the German leagues returned from their winter break, while Bayern has been steadily climbing the table since the restart. Saturday's match looked a chance for Bayern to insert itself into the title chase by asserting its momentum and pulling within 10 points of the leaders with 10 matches remaining. Instead, the Bavarian club fell to fourth, and Dortmund extended its lead to 12 points, thanks to second-placed Bayer Leverkusen's 2-2 draw at Werder Bremen.

Eintracht Frankfurt 0, VfB Stuttgart 2

Werder Bremen 2, Bayer Leverkusen 2

FC Cologne 1, SC Freiburg 0

Kaiserslautern 1, Hamburg 1

Schalke 04 1, Nurnberg 1

St. Pauli 0, Hannover 96 1

Hoffenheim 1, Mainz 05 2

Bayern Munich 1, Borussia Dortmund 3

VfL Wolfsburg 2, Borussia Moenchengladbach 1

FRANCE

With 13 matches remaining in the Ligue 1 season and at least five teams still within reasonable shouting distance of the title, matches like next week's showdown between leaders Lille and third-place Marseille will take on extra importance. Second-placed Stade Rennes will visit mid-table Montpellier, while PSG will travel to struggling AJ Auxerre. Perhaps the club with the best prospects next week is Lyon, which drew with Lille 1-1 on Sunday and could potentially pull within a point of the title if results go right for it next week when it hosts last-placed Arles.

AS Nancy Lorraine 1, Marseille 2

Paris St. Germain 2, Toulouse 1

Lille 1, Lyon 1

Arles 1, Brest 1

AS Monaco 2, Caen 2

Sochaux 0, Montpellier 0

St. Etienne 0, Nice 2

Stade Rennes 2, Lens 0

Valenciennes 0, Lorient 0

Bordeaux 3, AJ Auxerre 0

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What did you think of this weekend's results? Looking forward to the title races in Italy or France? Surprised by Arsenal's ineptitude in the Carling Cup final?

Share your thoughts below.

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4 Responses to European Weekend Rewind: Birmingham wins Carling Cup, Udinese rolls, & more

  1. RK says:

    Messi scored once.

  2. DC Josh says:

    Arsenal is soft. Wenger needs to get some guys back in his squad who are enforcers. Otherwise, they will never win the league.

  3. bryan says:

    the madrid game was hard to watch…not because madrid played bad, but because they were so unlucky. they hit the cross bar three times in the last 20 minutes. and the depor keeper had some incredible saves.

  4. Phil says:

    two thoughts:

    1. Ligue 1 should become more of a regular stop for young american players. It’s very high quality play and coaching and many french and foreign players who start there make their way to EPL in short order. The fact that players like Feilhaber, Onyewu and Altidore did not spend time there is to my mind an opportunity missed for them.

    2. Aresenal either need to splash for an established veteran centerback and veteran goalkeeper with tested leadership qualities, or they need a new manager. It’s that simple. As much as they aspire to be England’s Barcalona, until they get some steel in their spine (a la Pique or Puyol) they will not make it.