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Barca stumble again, Chelsea marches on in England

AP - Sports
Barca stumble again, Chelsea marches on in England
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LONDON (AP) -- Bayern Munich has virtually wrapped up the German title, the French championship is Paris Saint-Germain's to lose, and there's seemingly no stopping Chelsea's march to the English Premier League trophy.

As for Spain, however, who knows where the title will end up after Barcelona lost on Saturday for the third time in six games.

Here is a look at the action from the leading leagues in Europe on Saturday:

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SPAIN

Barcelona's title defense took a blow when it stumbled to a 1-0 defeat at Valladolid, missing the chance to move to the top of the Spanish standings.

Lionel Messi was the only Barcelona player who looked sharp, while his teammates were plagued by uncharacteristic passing errors and again proved brittle at the back.

Valladolid outplayed the defending champions early and midfielder Fausto Rossi netted the winner in the 17th minute.

Once the league pacesetter, Barcelona has won just two of its last seven away league games, and leader Real Madrid can increase its one-point advantage over the Catalan club when it hosts Levante on Sunday. Atletico Madrid can draw level on points with Barcelona if it wins at Celta Vigo later Saturday.

After its strong start this season under first-year coach Gerardo Martino, Barcelona has dropped points in five of the last nine rounds.

ENGLAND

Chelsea kept up its remorseless march to the English Premier League title with a 4-0 thrashing of Tottenham, while Arsenal secured a place in the FA Cup semifinals for the first time since 2009.

With none of its title rivals - Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City - in league action this weekend, Chelsea provisionally extended its lead to seven points after capitalizing on a woeful second half from Spurs to score all its goals in the final 34 minutes.

Liverpool and Arsenal are seven points behind the leaders with a game in hand but Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho still thinks Manchester City, which is nine points adrift in fourth place having played three matches less, is the title favorite.

''We don't have control of our destiny,'' Mourinho said, ''if we win all our matches then maybe we are not champions. If Man City win all their games, they are champions.''

Elsewhere in a truncated league program, Manchester United eased past West Bromwich Albion 3-0 to climb to sixth and keep alive its faint hopes of finishing in the top-four Champions League positions.

Arsenal beat Everton 4-1 at Emirates Stadium to become the first team through to the last four of the FA Cup, with substitute Olivier Giroud scoring two of the hosts' three goals in the final 22 minutes. The other three quarterfinal matches are on Sunday.

GERMANY

Bayern Munich crushed Wolfsburg with five goals in 17 minutes to come from a goal down and win 6-1 for a new Bundesliga record of 16 consecutive victories.

Bayern, which provisionally extended its lead in the table to 23 points, also stretched its Bundesliga record unbeaten run to 49 games and remains on course to complete the season without defeat.

Second-place Borussia Dortmund, which plays at Freiburg on Sunday, visits Munich on April 12 in what is likely to be the defending champion's toughest remaining challenge.

FRANCE

Paris Saint-Germain opened up an 11-point lead over Monaco at the top of the French league by defeating Bastia 3-0.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic notched his 23rd league goal this season by opening the scoring with a header in the sixth minute. Ezequiel Lavezzi made it 2-0 with a side-footed finish in the 19th before sealing the win in the 88th.

The defending champion is unbeaten in its last 12 league games.

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