Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 19th 2016 Contents MADRID---Barcelona has won its last
seven games in the Spanish league.
Now it s Las Palmas s turn to try to
stop Luis Enrique s side and its thriv-
ing trio of forwards.
It will be a difficult task for Las Pal-
mas tomorrow considering how well
Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar
have been playing. Even more so with
the modest Canary Islands club strug-
gling and fighting against relegation.
A win will give the Catalan club a
nine-point lead before rivals Atletico
Madrid and Real Madrid play on Sun-
Messi, Suarez and Neymar have
scored 34 goals in the last 13 Barcelona
games, and the team has won 12 in a
row when at least one of them played.
Only once was the trio scoreless---a
2-0 win over Espanyol in which Munir
El Haddadi netted both goals. "They
are from a different galaxy," Sporting
Gijon coach Abelardo Fernandez, a
former Barcelona player, said after his
team s 3-1 home loss to the club
Together, the Barcelona forwards
have scored more goals than all other
Spanish league teams with the excep-
tion of Real Madrid, which has the
league s best attack with 70 goals.
Barcelona has scored 65.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and
Karim Benzema have scored 53 league
goals among them, three less than the
Suarez is the league s leading scorer
with 24 goals while Neymar has 17
and Messi 15. "The three beasts we
have up front are at a different level,"
Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta
said after the 6-1 thrashing of Celta
Vigo in the previous round. Celta coach
Eduardo Berizzo called the Barcelona
trio "voracious attackers."
Messi, Suarez and Neymar have
scored 89 goals in all competitions this
season and are on their way to breaking
the record of 122 they set last year.
Suarez alone has scored 40 goals in
Other things to watch this weekend
in the Spanish league:
With a win at Las Palmas, Barcelona
will open a nine-point lead atop the
Spanish league and put pressure on
rivals Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid,
which play Sunday. Barcelona holds a
six-point lead over Atletico and a
seven-point advantage over third-place
Real Madrid after 24 rounds. It s the
biggest lead of the tournament this
season. Atletico hosts fourth-place
Villarreal while Real Madrid plays at
Las Palmas remained fairly opti-
mistic for the match against defending
champion Barcelona despite recent
struggles. "Barcelona s budget is 20
times bigger than ours but we will give
everything we have," Las Palmas pres-
ident Miguel Angel Ramirez said. "We
want the game to be a party to the
entire Canary Islands."
Promoted to the top tier this season,
Las Palmas has lost four of its last five
games and dropped to relegation zone
after a 2-0 defeat at Sevilla on Sunday.
It has 21 points and is 18th in the 20-
BACK TO WORK
Real Madrid quickly switched its
focus back to the league after a 2-0
win at AS Roma in the Champions
League on Wednesday.
Madrid plays at Malaga on Sunday
to try to win its fourth league game
in a row and keep pace with Barcelona
and Atletico Madrid atop the standings.
"We are seven points behind and it
will be difficult but we are giving it
everything," coach Zinedine Zidane
said following his head-coaching debut
in the Champions League. "We are
going to rest well and think about the
Malaga game. On Sunday we will try
to do everything to get what we need
STOPPING THE STREAK
Atletico Madrid will likely have its
hands full trying to win its second
game in a row on Sunday when it hosts
Villarreal at the Vicente Calderon Sta-
Villarreal is only six points behind
Atletico in the standings and hasn t
lost in 11 rounds, winning eight games
and drawing three.
"They beat us last year, we know
it s going to be difficult," said Atletico
forward Antoine Griezmann.
Atletico wants to keep alive its win-
ning streak after a run of four games
without a victory, which included an
elimination in the quarterfinals of the
Copa del Rey. (AP)
FC Barcelona's Neymar, right, celebrates a goal with his teammates Luis
Suarez, centre, and Lionel Messi against Celta Vigo during a Spanish La Liga
soccer match at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday. AP PHOTO
• Twitter: @GuardianTT • Web: guardian.co.tt
Midfielder Carli Lloyd is among four
Americans chosen for the first
Women's World XI.
Lloyd's hat trick led the US past
Japan in last year's World Cup final. She
is joined on the team by American
goalkeeper Hope Solo and defenders
Meghan Klingenberg and Julie
Johnston. The international All-Star
squad was announced Thursday by
FIFPro, soccer's world players' union.
Players from 33 nationalities in 20
Other selections include defenders
Kadeisha Buchanan (Canada) and
Wendie Renard (France); midfielders
Amandine Henry (France) and Aya
Miyama (Japan); and forwards Eugenie
Le Sommer (France), Anja Mittag
(Germany) and Celia Sasic (Germany).
Lloyd was voted FIFA Women's
Player of the Year last month and
earned the Golden Boot as top player at
the World Cup.
Buchanan, who attends the
University of West Virginia, was voted
Best Young Player at the World Cup.
Lloyd in four American women for world team
Chelsea waiting for Eden
Hazard to emerge from slump
dink s arrival as Chelsea man-
ager has sparked a drastic
improvement in a number of the
team s attacking stars.
Diego Costa, Oscar, Cesc Fab-
regas, even Pedro Rodriguez. All
look different players now Jose
Mourinho is no longer in charge
at Stamford Bridge.
So when is Eden Hazard going
to come good? Because the slump
in form of the Belgium winger is
one of the mysteries of the season.
Hazard was voted English soccer s
Player of the Year for the 2014-
15 season by both his peers and
writers, after scoring 19 goals and
being arguably Chelsea s standout
player in its run to the Premier
League and League Cup titles.
Many felt he would make the step
up to challenge Lionel Messi and
Cristiano Ronaldo as the game s
Fast forward to this season and
Hazard is no longer assured of
even being in the team heading
into Sunday s FA Cup match
against Manchester City, which
is the headline fixture of the fifth
round. He has completed 90 min-
utes just once in 2016 and has
scored only one club goal all sea-
son---a sympathy penalty in a big
win over MK Dons in the FA Cup
Already testing the patience of
Chelsea fans with his perform-
ances, Hazard didn t do himself
any favors this week by telling
French newspaper Le Parisien,
ahead of a Champions League
game against Paris Saint-German,
that it would be "difficult to say
no to" PSG or any other team
capable of winning the Champi-
ons League. Is he eyeing a big
move for next season already?
Hazard was substituted against
PSG after another sub-standard
display and may even lose his
place to Oscar against City for
the first high-profile match in the
FA Cup this season.
Chelsea is looking to win the
world s oldest club knockout
competition for the fifth time in
the last 10 years and is in better
form than City, having lost only
once---2-1 against PSG---in 12
games since Hiddink took over.
City, meanwhile, has lost its
last two games, at home against
title rivals in the Premier League,
and has injury problems in mid-
field. Manager Manuel Pellegrini
may also have one eye on next
week, when City resumes its
Champions League campaign
with a trip to Dynamo Kiev in
the last 16, and could play a weak-
ened team at Stamford Bridge.
There has been a shortage of
shocks in this season s FA Cup,
meaning most of the country s
big teams are still involved.
Here s some more things to
know about the fifth round:
TAMED BY THE SHREWS?
The biggest so-called "giant-
killing" could come when Man-
chester United heads to third-tier
Shrewsbury on Monday. And it s
the last thing Louis van Gaal
needs right now.
The United manager has
enough on his mind, with his
team struggling to qualify for the
Champions League through the
Premier League and seeing cap-
tain and star striker Wayne
Rooney joining an injury list that
now contains 13 players. Rooney
has a knee injury and British
media are reporting he could be
out for 6-8 weeks.
Shrewsbury, a market town
from central England whose soc-
cer team plays at a 9,875-capacity
stadium, has already beaten two
teams higher up the English pyra-
mid---second-tier Cardiff and
Sheffield Wednesday---and is in
the fifth round for the first time
since 1991. And it caused a big
shock in 2003, winning 2-1 in the
third round against an Everton
side containing Rooney.
In 19th place in the third tier,
Shrewsbury is the lowest-ranked
team left in the competition.
Arsenal is four victories away
from winning the FA Cup for a
third straight time. Next up for
Arsene Wenger s side is second-
tier Hull, in a rematch of the 2014
final that Arsenal won 3-2 after
There are two more all-Premier
League matchups: Bournemouth
vs Everton; and Tottenham vs
In other matches, Reading hosts
West Bromwich Albion, West
Ham visits Blackburn and Wat-
ford is at home to Leeds. (AP)
...to keep Barca ahead in Spanish league
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