The Arsenal-Free Weekend Review

Chelsea Fight Back, Inter Bounce Back & Barca rely on Messi Magic

With Arsenal Football Club out of action for the weekend, the FA Cup and big derbies in both Italy and Spain dominated headlines across Europe this weekend.

Chelsea FC 3-3 Tottenham Hotspur

Chelsea looked certain to succumb to defeat to Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge before fighting back from 3-1 down to salvage a replay at White Hart Lane. Tottenham had taken an early lead through a smart finish from Bulgarian striker Dmitar Berbatov before Frank Lampard slid home to level after 22 minutes.

Chelsea defender Michael Essien then put through his own net before Hossam Ghaly made it 3-1 after some calamitous Chelsea defending. Chelsea then survived some strong Tottenham attacks before Tottenham manager Martin Jol controversially substituted their three most attacking players; Berbatov, Ghaly and Lennon.

The decisions paved the way for Chelsea to take control of the game and the score was soon 3-2 after Lampard pounced on a lose ball to fire home from inside six yards. But it was Salamon Kalou who saved the current Premier League Champions with a stunning volleyed finish on 86 minutes.

Inter Milan 2-1 AC Milan

In the other two big games played over the weekend in Europe, Inter Milan fought back from a goal down to defeat rivals AC Milan 2-1 in the San Siro, extending their winning run in the Serie A to 18 games. Ex-Inter Milan hero Ronaldo scored a fine first-half strike to take AC Milan to the break with a surprise lead.

But Inter Milan fought back and substitute Julio Cruz remarkably scored within a minute of coming of the bench to draw the game level at 1-1. Cruz then teed up fellow striker Zlatan Imbrahimovic to fire home the winner in the in the 75th minute.

FC Barcelona 3-3 Real Madrid CF

It was also derby day in Spain as the countries as FC Barcelona and Real Madric CF fought out a thrilling 3-3 draw at the Camp Nou. Lionel Messi was Barcelona’s hero as he scored a stoppage time equaliser to complete a sensational hat-trick and steal a point against a Real Madrid team that had taken the lead on three separate occasions.

Ruud van Nistelrooy scored as early as 5th minute before Messi equalised on ’11. Van Nistlerooy then scored his second on ’14 before the early flourish of goals was completed by Messi in the 28th. Barcelona defender Oleguer was then sent off before the end of the first half, completing a thrilling opening term and giving Real Madrid a psychological boost before the break.

When Sergio Ramos scored with a fantastic header in the 73rd minute it seemed that the win would be going to Real but Messi amazingly completed his hat-trick with another fine goal in the 91st. A brilliant game with a brilliant finish courtesy of a brilliant young player; what more could you want?

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