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La Liga roundup: Real Madrid, Barcelona hold serve, still 2 points apart

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A roundup of the weekend’s action in Spain’s top flight…

[ MORE: Arsenal come back twice for draw with Man City | Three things ]

Real Madrid 3-0 Alaves

The math is extraordinarily simple — more so than the reality, granted — for Real Madrid: win each and every one of their remaining 11 games, and they’ll be La Liga champions once again. With a two-point lead on Barcelona, and a game in hand, coming into the weekend, Zinedine Zidane’s is squarely in the driver’s seat.

On Sunday, Los Blancos made life a tad more difficult for themselves than they would have liked, but in the end came away with all three points against 10th-place Alaves. Karim Benzema made it 1-0 just after the half-hour mark, which is where it would stay for 54 slightly nerve-wracking minutes.

Isco would eventually make it 2-0 in the 85th minute, and Nacho provided security beyond reasonable necessity two minutes after that, sending Madrid five points clear of Barca for a few hours’ time.

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Real Madrid 28 21 5 2 74 28 46 12-3-0 9-2-2 68
 Barcelona 29 20 6 3 85 26 59 10-3-1 10-3-2 66
 Atlético Madrid 29 17 7 5 54 23 31 10-2-2 7-5-3 58
 Sevilla 29 17 7 5 52 34 18 10-3-1 7-4-4 58
 Real Sociedad 29 15 4 10 43 40 3 7-4-4 8-0-6 49
 Villarreal 29 13 9 7 41 23 18 8-3-4 5-6-3 48
 Athletic 29 14 5 10 37 33 4 10-3-2 4-2-8 47

Granada 1-4 Barcelona

“No Lionel Messi” (suspension) was a bit of a problem for Barca on Sunday, but only for a short time. Luis Suarez put Barca ahead a minute before halftime, but the lead was short-lived as Jeremie Boga finished a lightning-quick counter-attack for Granada to being the home side back to 1-1 in the 50th minute.

Nearly 15 minutes went by, and the title looked a million miles away, until Paco Alcacer slotted home a counter-attack chance of his own in the 64th minute. An own goal and a tap-in by Neymar would complete the scoring, and keep the Blaugrana within striking distance ahead of a decisive period for their title rivals — the Madrid derby is next Saturday, followed by El Clasico two weeks after that.

Elsewhere in La Liga


Malaga 0-2 Atletico Madrid
Real Sociedad 1-1 Leganes
Villarreal 2-3 Eibar
Osasuna 1-2 Athletic Bilbao


Sevilla 0-0 Sporting Gijon
Valencia 3-0 Deportivo La Coruña

Six Premier Leaguers named to Argentina, but no Icardi

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Argentina’s World Cup roster features a number of the usual suspects, particularly up front, but Serie A’s top goalscorer has been surprisingly left off the list of 23.

[ MORE: Belgium goes to World Cup without Nainggolan ]

Manager Jorge Sampaoli’s squad was made official on Monday, which includes the likes of Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain.

The Albiceleste won’t be taking Inter Milan striker Mauro Icardi though, which has raised some questions about the decision.

Icardi led all scorers in Italy’s top flight this season, scoring 29 goals in 34 Serie A matches, while Paulo Dybala edged out the final striker spot in the Argentina squad.

Dybala is teammates with Higuain at Italian giants Juventus.

Meanwhile, six Premier League players were named into the South American nation’s squad, including goalkeepers Sergio Romero (Man United) and Willy Caballero (Chelsea), as well as Nicolas Otamendi (Man City), Marcos Rojo (Man United) and Manuel Lanzini (West Ham).

Men in Blazers POD: FA Cup recap, UCL final preview and more

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Rog and Davo recap a spite-fueled, snear-filled, peak Phil Jones FA Cup Final, preview this weekend’s Champions League tilt between Liverpool and Real Madrid and eulogize Big Sam… gone the opposite of too soon. Plus, World Cup rosters and MLS.

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

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Long-term absentee Santi Cazorla will leave Arsenal

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Santi Cazorla hasn’t played a match for the Gunners since suffering a gruesome Achilles injury back in October 2016.

[ MORE: No World Cup for Spanish Chelsea trio ]

And unfortunately for the Spaniard, Cazorla won’t feature for Arsenal again after six years at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal released a statement on Monday revealing the veteran midfielder won’t return to the club in 2018/19, which isn’t unexpected given the extent of his injury.

In his time with the Gunners, Cazorla made 180 appearances in all competitions for the club, and helped Arsenal win two FA Cups.

Cazorla was also a member of the Spanish national team squads that won back-to-back UEFA EURO competitions in 2008 and 2012.

Wolfsburg keeps Bundesliga spot with playoff win

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Wolfsburg managed a 1-0 win (4-1 on aggregate) over Holstein Kiel on Monday in the second leg of its German promotion playoff as the Bundesliga side kept its place in the top flight.

Robin Knoche scored the game-winner in the second leg, which ensured Wolfsburg’s stay in the Bundesliga ahead of the 2017/18 season.

The hosts boasted a number of quality chances in the first half, including David Kinsombi’s close-range shot that tested Wolfsburg keeper Koen Casteels with a save, however, Holstein couldn’t break through.

U.S. Men’s National Team defender John Brooks went the full 90 minutes for Wolfsburg, after the 25-year-old made nine starts this season for the German side in league play.