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By the numbers: Messi's 51st hat-trick, Salah's long scoreless streak

Lionel Messi celebrates after putting Barcelona ahead 1-0 in their Champions League tie with Lyon.
Lionel Messi scored his 33rd La Liga hat-trick in the course of Barcelona's 4-1 win away to Real Betis.

There's Lionel Messi, and then there's the rest. The weekend's football in Europe seemed to suggest so, although one must put this helpful caveat: Juventus gave Cristiano Ronaldo the weekend off.

Here are the best numbers from the weekend:


Lionel Messi scored his 33rd La Liga hat-trick in the course of Barcelona's 4-1 win away to Real Betis, also his 45th hat-trick for Barcelona across all competitions. He also has six hat-tricks for the Argentina national team, taking his overall tally in competitive...

Arsenal ready to embrace pressure of either Champions League path

Paul Mariner and the FC panel agree that Arsenal kept their momentum going from their weekend win over Man United against a lacklustre Rennes side.

All of a sudden, Arsenal's season feels alive with possibility. They are used to flirting with disaster and that is why there was little surprise when, a week ago, they threw away a promising position in Rennes to land on the brink of elimination from the Europa League. It is also why their consummate 3-0 dismissal of the French side on Thursday felt unfamiliar: like a confident and battle-hardened team mastering an unenviable situation in the manner of potential competition winners. 


Man United's defeat at Arsenal exposes (a little) the size of Solskjaer's challenge

Winning has two ancillary effects. On the one hand, it gives you sporting capital. Folks point to your record and are more likely to overlook a stumble or a bad decision. That, in turn, means you can be that little bit more daring and experimental, which is a good thing.

On the other hand it raises expectations, sometimes unrealistically so, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer experienced the former on Sunday in Manchester United's 2-0 loss away to Arsenal.

- Ogden: Emery gamble pays off

Deploying Paul...

Numbers: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer tastes first league defeat, Lionel Messi scores in 800th game

Steve Nicol breaks down Manchester United's first Premier League loss under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, a 2-0 defeat at Arsenal.
Craig Burley and Alejandro Moreno were in full agreement that Raheem Sterling's first goal against Watford should never have been allowed to stand.
Steve Nicol examines what is behind Mohamed Salah's recent struggles and what he and Jurgen Klopp can do to sort the issues out.
Despite another routine win for Barcelona in La Liga, questions remain over Philippe Coutinho who underwhelmed again for the Spanish giants.
Luuk De Jong scored his 21st league goal of the season as PSV Eindhoven remain in control of top spot in the Dutch Eredivisie.

While Liverpool kept pace with Manchester City, Arsenal beat Manchester United to keep the top four race alive. In La Liga, Barcelona continued their dominance, while Kareem Benzema helped Real Madrid get back to winning ways after their humiliating Champions League defeat. Elsewhere, Juventus remained unbeaten in the league, while Bayern Munich scored six against Wolfsburg to leapfrog Dortmund to the top of the Bundesliga. Here are the best numbers from the weekend's action.


Juventus are still...

Unai Emery's gamble sees Arsenal beat Man United, take control of top-four hopes

Arsenal overtake Manchester United for the 4th spot in the Premier League table after beating them 2-0 at the Emirates.
Steve Nicol breaks down Manchester United's first Premier League loss under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, a 2-0 defeat at Arsenal.

LONDON -- Unai Emery has largely slipped under the radar during his first season as Arsenal manager. The pressure has been on simply because he replaced the legendary figure of Arsene Wenger, but in comparison to his direct rivals, the former Sevilla and Paris Saint-Germain coach has had to fight to be noticed.

He has not been showered with the praise so often lavished on Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham and has escaped the scrutiny that has weighed down heavily on Chelsea's Maurizio Sarri. As for...

Premier League W2W4: Arsenal, Man United battle European hangovers; Liverpool need Shaqiri

W2W4 previews the weekend's Premier League action by highlighting its most compelling storylines ...

Man United and Arsenal nursing different hangovers

Arsenal and Manchester United are both dealing with European hangovers of a different nature. Arsenal will have a day fewer to prepare after a 3-1 loss to Rennes in the Europa League, but it's the Manchester United players who will probably be more exhausted ahead of their game on Sunday. After Wednesday night's miracle/VAR-assisted win in Paris,...