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This week’s football review: Atlético, FA Cup and Barcelona
Atlético Madrid had a very good weekend as they not only re-signed former star Fernando Torres but they also defeated Elche 3-1 to move within a point of La Liga leaders Real Madrid after both Real and Barcelona lost. Barca fell to David Moyes’ Real Sociedad 0-1 while Madrid were beaten by fourth-place Valencia 2-1 – a defeat that ended a remarkable 22 victories in a row.
It was not a such a good weekend for the minnows in the English FA Cup 3rd round with no real major shocks taking place – unlike in France where fourth-tier side Grenoble defeated Marseille on penalties in the Coupe de France. Non-league side Wrexham did go close but were eventually defeated by Premier League team Stoke City while Dover and Gateshead were both thrashed by top-tier sides Crystal Palace and West Brom respectively. Perhaps we will have to wait until the fourth round to see some shocks?
Barcelona have not had a good 2015 so far. They were defeated 0-1 away at Real Sociedad in their first game back after the winter break, while UEFA upheld their transfer ban (they are unable to buy new players until 2016) which lead to the sacking of their Director of Football and former goalkeeping star Andoni Zubizarretta. With pressure mounting on coach Luis Enrique and a tricky fixture against Atlético Madrid to come this could be a testing few weeks for the Catalan club.
re-signed: They bought back their former star Fernando Torres (pronunciation is different from resign)
to move within a point of: To close the gap. Before this set of fixtures they were 4 points behind but now they are only one point behind the leaders.
fell to: To lose against (Arsenal fell to Spurs = Spurs beat Arsenal)
the minnows: The lower-ranked sides, weaker teams
top-tier sides: Teams from the top division (e.g. The Premier League)
thrashed: Heavily defeated
upheld: To maintain a decision (UEFA did not offer Barcelona a reprieve)
a tricky fixture: A difficult game
the Catalan club: Here this refers to Barcelona