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Madrid pegged back, Paris and Chelsea prevail

Ten-man Real Madrid drew 2-2 at Valencia on a day that went better for Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain, while Atlético Madrid and Arsenal were the big winners on Saturday.

Best of the weekend action: 2-3 January ©AFP/Getty Images


Crystal Palace 0-3 Chelsea
Chelsea secured an impressive away success, their first victory in Guus Hiddink's second spell as interim manager, and climbed to 14th in the process. Oscar broke the deadlock on 29 minutes, tapping in after Diego Costa broke clear. Willian doubled the advantage after the interval with a stunning effort from distance before Costa sealed the win from close range moments later as the Blues extended their unbeaten run to four.

Wasquehal 0-1 Paris Saint-Germain
Holders Paris began their French Cup defence in the last 64 with a much-changed side, and despite a dominant performance against fourth-tier Wasquehal their only reward was a solitary goal after the break. Captain Zlatan Ibrahimović nodded the clincher after meeting Marco Verratti's lofted pass on 60 minutes.

Valencia 2-2 Real Madrid
Madrid lie four points off the Liga summit after twice squandering the lead in a game they finished with ten men. Karim Benzema rounded off a fine team move on 16 minutes, but Daniel Parejo levelled from the spot before the visitors lost Mateo Kovačić for his challenge on João Cancelo. Gareth Bale headed Madrid back in front late on, yet Paco Alcácer struck almost immediately to make it a frustrating start to 2016 for the Merengues.


Atlético Madrid 1-0 Levante
Midfielder Thomas Partey struck with nine minutes to go to propel Atlético to the top of the Liga, bottom-of-the-table Levante having frustrated Diego Simeone's men in Madrid. Atlético had the better of the first half, and both Koke and Juanfran struck the crossbar in the second period, but they were able to take full advantage of Barcelona's earlier slip as the Ghanaian battled through to finish.

Lionel Messi's men were frustrated
Lionel Messi's men were frustrated©Getty Images

Espanyol 0-0 Barcelona
Barcelona were denied a goal for the first time in the Liga this season as their city derby against Espanyol ended goalless – Barcelona's first 0-0 in all competitions since December 2014. Lionel Messi found the post with a free-kick in the first half, Andrés Iniesta had an effort ruled out for offside, and Luis Suárez hit the woodwork, but Espanyol got due reward for a resolute defensive performance.

Arsenal 1-0 Newcastle United
Arsenal did not impress at home against a struggling Newcastle side, but an opportunistic finish from Laurent Koscielny on 72 minutes was enough to secure all three points for Arsène Wenger's men. Arsenal have won six of their last seven games in all competitions and have taken sole command at the top of the Premier League, with Leicester unable to find a way past Bournemouth.

Watford 1-2 Manchester City
City ended a five-game wait for an away success, coming from behind to win 2-1 at promoted Watford in Saturday's late English game. Aleksandar Kolarov headed into his own net from a Ben Watson corner on 55 minutes to put the hosts in front, but made amends on 82 minutes, setting up Yaya Touré for the equaliser. Sergio Agüero then headed the 84th-minute winner – his first goal since 21 November.

Guimarães 0-1 Benfica
Midfielder Renato Sanches scored his second Benfica goal to earn his side a 1-0 win at Vitória Guimarães, and put the pressure on Portugal's top two – Porto and Sporting CP. The 18-year-old's angled finish means Benfica are unbeaten in seven Liga games, but remain third in the table. Nicolás Gaitán wore the captain's armband as he made his first appearance since 8 December.

UEFA.com's weekly wonderkid: 18-year-old Renato Sanches