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2 hours ago

Three Points: Real Madrid vs. Barcelona

ESPN FC's Martin Ainstein reports from Madrid on Real's 3-1 victory over Barcelona in this season's first El Clasico.

Three quick thoughts as Real Madrid shrugged off an early goal from Neymar to defeat Barcelona 3-1 and move within one point of the La Liga leaders.

El Clasico: Real Madrid 3-1 Barcelona

- Clasico: How the world reacted
- Three Points: Unlikely heroes
- Player Ratings: Barcelona
- Player Ratings: Real Madrid
- Ancelotti: We wanted it more
- Enrique: I don't regret starting Luis

1. Pepe and Benzema the heroes

The Clasico kicked off with about 1.3 billion euros of talent on show, and both teams chock-full of global superstars. But it was two less-sung -- and often much-criticised -- figures who proved most pivotal in Madrid's come-from-behind victory.

Karim Benzema's goal, his side's third, really killed the game. The Frenchman...

2 hours ago

Man City suffer attitude problem as West Ham show them the way

ESPN FC's Craig Burley breaks down West Ham's 2-1 victory over Manchester City, the Hammers' first win against City since 2009.

After what is a big 2-1 defeat for Manchester City against West Ham, Manuel Pellegrini pointed to the "little things" -- the fine margins, the individual moments. That may have been right, but it would only reveal yet another City problem for the manager to try to downplay that it was one of those little things summed up the Hammers' supreme win.

It probably had more of an effect than so many desperate last-second James Collins tackles or divine David Silva touches, and revealed attitudes that led...

6 hours ago

Three Points: West Ham vs. Manchester City

LONDON -- Three thoughts on West Ham United's impressive 2-1 win over Premier League champions Manchester City at Upton Park.

1. Hammers impress again, as City stutter

Whit it was one of those days for Manchester City, it was another hugely impressive and imposing performance from West Ham. Sam Allardyce's side may have been somewhat lucky that City hit the frame of the goal twice, but there is nothing fortunate about their position of fourth in the table after this 2-1 win.

After goals from Morgan...

2 days ago

Outclassed Liverpool no longer on same level as Real Madrid

Former Liverpool defender Steve Nicol calls out his club for playing with a lack of heart and determination against Real Madrid.

LIVERPOOL -- The pre-match entertainment was seductively good. They were playing the tape of one of Anfield's greatest European nights as an appetiser. Liverpool's television channel broadcast a favourite programme, replaying the 2009 night they beat the mighty Real Madrid 4-0.

And that, frankly, represented the highlight of Liverpool's evening. After the nostalgia, the here and now. After one historic humiliation, a record-breaking reverse. Only Alvaro Arbeloa, a winner on both occasions, could...

John Brewin profile picture  By John Brewin
2 days ago

Three Points: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Real Madrid were dominant in Anfield as they march on and keep their perfect record on their quest to a Champions League title defence.

LIVERPOOL, England -- A trio of observations on Real Madrid's 3-0 win vs. Liverpool in the Champions League.

1. Holders outclass Liverpool

There was to be no famous European night at Anfield. Not, at least, for Liverpool. This time, they had to accept a sound beating from Real Madrid. Their 100 percent winning record against the 10-time European champions was dissolved by an opponent who oozed superiority in each area of the field.

Brendan Rodgers' team still have a chance of escaping Group...

John Brewin profile picture  By John Brewin
4 days ago

Three points: Chelsea run riot over NK Maribor in Champions League

Didier Drogba scores a penalty against NK Maribor that will make some fans reminisce of his Champions League-winning finish in Munich.

LONDON -- Three observations on Chelsea's 6-0 win over NK Maribor at Stamford Bridge.

1. Blues cruising through

As Champions League goals flew in across Europe, Chelsea did their bit for London. Maribor were not expected to be much of a challenge, but were brushed aside by a consummately professional performance that takes Chelsea into a command of Group G that they cannot now be expected to relinquish.

This was their biggest win in their 15 years of Champions League football. Win in Slovenia in...