BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Lionel Messi scored a hat trick and ensured Barcelona equaled a Spanish league record of 38 matches without a loss after beating Leganes 3-1 on Saturday.
Barcelona matched Real Sociedad’s milestone set in 1979-80 by remaining undefeated through 31 rounds this season after finishing the last campaign without a loss over the final seven games. The runaway leader hasn’t lost in La Liga in a year.
Ernesto Valverde’s side can establish a new unbeaten record if it doesn’t lose to Valencia next weekend. It will then have another six rounds left in its quest to finish the entire campaign without a defeat.
“This is one of those records that goes down in history,” Valverde said. “I am excited to have matched it because of what it means, and what it meant at that time for Real (Sociedad). Over time you realize its importance.”
Reaching the mark set by Sociedad underscores the exceptional job Valverde is doing in his first year with the team. Despite having Messi and other top players, Barcelona entered the season reeling from the unwanted departure of star striker Neymar and back-to-back losses to Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup.
Eight months later and Barcelona is marching toward the recovery of the Liga title from Madrid. It opened a 12-point lead over second-place Atletico Madrid before it faces third-place Madrid in a derby on Sunday.
Messi scored from a free kick for the seventh time this season before completing his third league hat trick in 2017-18.
The Argentina forward earned a foul from Leganes defender Dimitrios Siovas a few meters outside the top of the area, to the right. It was a perfect spot for him to curl a left-footed strike high beyond the reach of diving goalkeeper Ivan Cuellar.
Messi followed up on his 27th-minute opener with a second goal five minutes later, slotting a low strike in after Coutinho met his run into the box.
The treble took Messi’s league-leading tally to 29.
Roberto, who has already shown his versatility playing as a midfielder, right back, or forward, added to his repertoire by playing his first match at left back for Barcelona. That let Jordi Alba rest until he went on as a late substitute along with Andres Iniesta.
Sergio Busquets and Samuel Umtiti also rested ahead of Barcelona’s return-leg Champions League quarterfinal at Roma on Tuesday. Barcelona won the first leg 4-1.
Kane’s history-maker delivers another Tottenham win vs Man City
Arsenal (50 points) were handed just their second defeat of the season on Saturday, beaten 1-0 away to Everton as Sean Dyche made his debut as Toffees manager, and it was North London rival Tottenham that acted on it.
City remains five points behind Arsenal, who holds a match-in-hand, while Spurs climb onto 39 points. That’s one behind Newcastle and three back of third-place Man United, though Spurs have played more games than anyone else in the Premier League other than Fulham.
Tottenham vs Manchester City live updates, as they happened
Tottenham vs Man City final score: 1-0 (Kane, 15′)
12:57pm ET: Nearly for both sides! Julian Alvarez tears into a shot that just misses the frame at one end, and Kane should’ve had a corner for a denied chance at the other end but it was ruled he just missed the frame.
12:51pm ET: A short City corner nearly makes it 1-1, but Eric Dier’s thigh gets a piece of the ball that looked marked for upper 90. It’s another corner, and there’s a handball shout against Cristian Romero that goes unheeded. Now Spurs race back the other way and Ivan Perisic comes close to finding Kane with a dragged shot-cross through the six. It’s getting fun!
12:43pm ET: So nearly 2-0, but Ben Davies’ header off a corner kick is just off the mark.
Wait, what’s that? Kevin De Bruyne’s music? A game plan crying out for him is now getting its pleas heard as cameras catch the Belgian getting dolled up for his introduction.
12:37pm ET: Back in play, albeit slowly, and the second half’s first real moment comes when Grealish wins a foul on the left off of Emerson Royal. The lofted in free kick is a bit wayward and seems to carry too much, and the passage ends with a City goal kick. Still 1-0 Spurs.
12:20pm ET: HALFTIME STATS! It’s still 1-0 to Spurs on Kane’s record-making goal. Here’s how the match looks, via FotMob:
12:17pm ET: Crossbar smashed! Riyad Mahrez nearly has it 1-1 at the break. We’re almost done with two minutes stoppage time.
12:13pm ET: Close! Grealish has been a live wire and whips in a shot that cannot find the frame. City cannot find Erling Haaland and the xG battle is even at 0.37 even if City has 68 percent of the ball and a 6-2 edge in shots. Still 1-0 Spurs, who have a corner and cannot get through City because Kane and Eric Dier have a few chances to snap a loose ball home.
12:05pm ET: It’s slowed down a bit, so let’s take a moment to shout out reaction from the other two Premier League players who can say they’ve scored 200 goals in the competition.
11:52am ET: YELLOW CARD, TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR. Man City right back at it, but Spurs take the ball back and Kane wins a free kick just inside the circle. City takes the ball back and Jack Grealish and Rico Lewis are bringing electricity to the center of the park. Lewis is chopped down by Rodrigo Betancur, who sees a yellow card for his petulance.
11:47am ET: GOOOOOAAAAALLLL!TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR! And it’s history for Harry Kane! It had still been a lot of City, but a bad giveaway deep in its own end allows Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg to lay the ball off for Kane inside the 18. From this angle and range, the new all-time Tottenham Hotspur goal scorer is not going to miss and Spurs lead at home with his 267th goal in the shirt. It’s also his 200th Premier League goal. What a moment! Tottenham 1-0 Man City, 15′.
11:36am ET: It’s been a good start for Man City, with a couple of corner kicks. City, however, looks like it will be dealing with an 18 that resembles cartons of milk on the shelf at the grocery store. City currently opening the door to find a compact Spurs unit all over the pitch, with several shots blocked inside the 18.
11:15am ET: Good morning! Nick Mendola here with you ahead of a game Antonio Conte would love to get and Pep Guardiola will be planning to capture. Some odd comments from Guardiola before the game about Kevin De Bruyne being out of the Starting XI for tactical reasons, while Phil Foden misses out through injury/illness. Exciting under-the-radar Maximo Perrone has a spot in the 18, too, and some are suspecting him as a long-term Rodri clone. As for Spurs, Conte does get Richarlison on the bench, which also holds room for new signings Pedro Porro and Arnaut Danjuma. Depth options and two tactical wizards on the touch line should make this a complete game… unless Erling Haaland makes it a fait accompli before it has a chance to become a chess match. (NM)
When these sides met just two weeks ago, Tottenham found themselves 2-0 up at halftime and threatening to cause the Man City upset yet again, effectively handing rivals Arsenal a three-point boost in the title race. Then the second half kicked off, and the two-time defending champions poured in four games, including three in the first 18 minutes. Another fantastic half wasted by Tottenham, though it was typically a poor start followed by a frantic finish of their own. Harry Kane will pass Jimmy Greaves as Spurs’ all-time top scorer when he scores his next goal, taking his total in all competitions to 267. If Kane scores that goal in a Premier League fixture, the record goal will also be his 200th in the league.
Erling Haaland (25 goals) is the only player with more PL goals than Kane (16) this season, and though his numbers are certainly eye-popping, his arrival has clearly unsettled Pep Guardiola’s tactical system to some degree. A season ago, Manchester City conceded just 26 goals in 38 games (0.68 per game). This season, 20 goals in 20 games, up nearly a half-goal per game.
Steve Cooper’s side have won three of their last five Premier League games and are unbeaten in that stretch. Brennan Johnson continue his fine form too as the youngster sent home a beautiful volley in the first half and Forest defended well to keep Leeds at bay with new signing Keylor Navas in fine form in goal.
As for Jesse Marsch and Leeds, they huffed and puffed and wasted big chances in the first half as they’ve now won just two of their last 17 Premier League games and are only out of the relegation zone on goal difference as they haven’t won any of their last seven Premier League games.
Nottingham Forest are now on 24 points, six points above the relegation zone, while Leeds remain on 18 points.
Nottingham Forest did not play well but they did what they had to do as defensively they are so solid, they have a clear plan and they are doing the basics so well. With Brennan Johnson in this kind of form, plus other threats on the break, Forest are looking set to stay in the Premier League quite comfortably. Jesse Marsch and Leeds look very disjointed as they continue to integrate new signings and get players back to full fitness. They looked like a team struggling for confidence and with no win in their last seven the pressure is mounting on Marsch. It seems like they just need one lucky break to get going again and regain their early season form. However, the Leeds fans aren’t happy and a bad week with their two games against in-form Man United could see the owners forced into a change.
Jesse Marsch admits he has to ‘get more’ from his side
Weston McKennie is on for his Leeds United and Premier League debut. This feels like a game where he can have a big impact and dare I say grab a debut goal from a set piece situation? He’s very good at timing his runs into the box. Summerville is on too as Roca and Sinisterra depart.
What a start for Forest! Brennan Johnson with a lovely strike and the City Ground is bouncing. Bit of controversy on the Forest goal as Johnson was offside when the ball was initially played towards him when he won the free kick he ended up scoring from. Leeds will feel more than a little aggrieved with that.
GOALLL! Brennan Johnson puts Nottingham Forest 1-0 up against Leeds United. Great strike from the edge of the box after Leeds failed to properly clear a free kick. The Welsh international does it again! #NFFC 1-0 #LUFC
KICK OFF: We are underway at the City Ground and Leeds have started brightly with Gnonto looking sharp down the wing.
Key storylines & star players
Though some fans have started to turn on Jesse Marsch, the American manager has seemingly been fully backed by the club’s hierarchy, not through their words but through their actions. Chris Armas was hired as Marsch’s assistant head coach, and then Weston McKennie was signed ahead of deadline day, affording Marsch the opportunity (and money) to further shape the club into his own. When Leeds kick off on Sunday, the only thing separating them from the relegation zone will be five goals in the goal difference column.
After winning just one of their first 12 games back in the Premier League for the first time since 1999, Steve Cooper’s side has gelled and picked up wins over Liverpool, Crystal Palace, Southampton and Leicester since late October. The key to their success? Just five goals conceded in their last six games, with three of the five coming in a single game against Manchester United. Winning with clean sheets, picking up score-draws, after conceding 33 goals in 15 games to start the season.
Nottingham Forest team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Morgan Gibbs-White (ankle), Taiwo Awoniyi (groin), Dean Henderson (thigh), Cheikhou Kouyate (thigh), Giulian Biancone (knee), Omar Richards (calf), Moussa Niakhate (thigh), Ryan Yates (illness)
Harry Kane and Tottenham Hotspur are names that go hand-in-hand for a generation of Premier League viewers, so how fitting that the English center forward has now scored more goals in a Spurs shirt than anyone in history?
Kane, 29, fired Tottenham in front of Manchester City on Sunday at home, giving Spurs a 1-0 lead against the run of play and earning him his 267th goal in the club’s shirt.
The goal, also his 200th in the Premier League. Only two other players have done that: Alan Shearer (260) and Wayne Rooney (208).
Kane doesn’t turn 30 until the summer. If his ankle cooperates and he stays in Enland, well, sorry Alan.
England star Kane has now passed the legendary, late Jimmy Greaves for most Tottenham goals but needs another 21 to break Greaves’ record for league goals in a Tottenham shirt. Greaves scored 357 goals for Spurs, Chelsea, and West Ham in the pre-Premier League era.
Who’s looking like title contenders and/or favorites?
Almost at the halfway mark of the 2022-23 season, Arsenal and Manchester City are looking head and shoulders above the rest though Newcastle is not going away and Manchester United has surged into contention.
Uneven Tottenham are hanging in the top four battle, while Liverpool is struggling to stay in the Champions League scrap. Chelsea has some work to do while surprising Fulham, Brentford and Brighton are hanging around on the periphery with fine campaigns.
Who are the candidates for relegation?
Everton, Bournemouth, and Southampton currently occupy the relegation places.
But Leicester, West Ham, Nottingham Forest, Wolves, and Leeds all find themselves within a few points of the bottom three after a topsy-turvy season so far.
Below you will find the latest Premier League table.