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Messi shines in Barcelona’s five-star show vs Levante

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By EMN Updated: Feb 17, 2015 11:12 pm
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Agencies
BARCELONA, FEBRUARY 17

ESPN FC’s Janusz Michallik discusses Lionel Messi’s heroic hat trick, Pedro’s offensive contributions and the stunning goal by Luis Suarez in Barcelona’s 5-0 rout of Levante. Barcelona made it 11 straight wins in all competitions to stay a point behind Real Madrid at the top of La Liga with a 5-0 win over Levante on Sunday, courtesy of Lionel Messi’s hat trick and goals from Neymar and Luis Suarez.
Barca are currently playing at a very high standard and the fact that Luis Enrique was able to make so many changes and use a number of fringe players will make the victory more satisfying.
Magical Messi’s hat trick was his 23rd in La Liga and he now has 37 goals for the season. But it was substitute Luis Suarez who hit the goal of the match with an overhead kick just after coming on.
For Enrique, the surest sign yet that things are going in the right direction will be the Camp Nou fans singing his name a little over a month after his position was being questioned. More progress will come with another home win next week over Malaga before it is time to think about Manchester City and the Champions League. For now, though, all is well at Barcelona.

Arsenal handed Manchester United showdown in FA Cup

Agencies
LONDON, FEBRUARY 17

FA Cup holders Arsenal were handed a fascinating showdown with Manchester United in Monday`s draw for the quarter-finals.
The draw took place shortly before kick-off in United`s fifth round tie at Preston, with the Gunners selected to travel to either Old Trafford or Deepdale for their last eight clash.
United went on to win 3-1, with a second half fightback ensuring they face Arsene Wenger`s side in the FA Cup for the first time since 2011 when United won 2-0 in another quarter-final tie.
Arsenal defeated Hull in last season`s FA Cup final to end their nine-year trophy drought — a barren run which had dated back to their victory over United in the 2005 FA Cup final.
Elsewhere in a draw conducted by England manager Roy Hodgson and Brian Finney, son of the late legendary Preston winger Tom Finney, giant-killers Bradford were handed a home tie against second tier team Reading as they look to make the semi-finals to cap a remarkable Cup run that has included a stunning 4-2 win at Premier League leaders Chelsea in the fourth round and a 2-0 success against top-flight side Sunderland in the fifth round on Sunday.
That pairing ensures at least one Football League side will make it to the final four of the competition.
Liverpool`s hopes of giving Steven Gerrard an emotional Wembley send-off on his 35th birthday were boosted as they were drawn to face Championship side Blackburn at Anfield.
Reds captain Gerrard has agreed a deal to leave Liverpool for Los Angeles Galaxy at the end of the season, making the FA Cup final potentially his final match for the club he has served with great distinction since 1998.
The remaining quarter-final pitted Aston Villa, who appointed Tim Sherwood as their new manager this week against local rivals West Bromwich Albion at Villa Park.

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By EMN Updated: Feb 17, 2015 11:12:55 pm