Arsenal, Chelsea struggle, Real, Barca cruise
Arsenal's misery continued when their midweek Champions League rout was followed by an FA Cup exit while Chelsea were forced into replay.
Elsewhere, AC Milan went top in Italy while, in Spain, Real Madrid stayed 10 points clear of Barcelona.
- Arsenal's season of woe took another miserable turn as the Premier League giants crashed out of the FA Cup in a 2-0 defeat at Sunderland.
Arsenal -- all but eliminated from the Champions League in midweek following a 4-0 rout by AC Milan -- saw their last realistic chance of ending a seven-year trophy drought snuffed out at the Stadium of Light.
Kieran Richardson took advantage of a poor clearance to lash in Sunderland's opener in the 40th minute before more shoddy Arsenal play culminated in a 77th-minute own goal from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas' problems mounted after his side laboured to a 1-1 draw with lower league Birmingham.
- Lionel Messi hit four goals to inspire Barcelona to a 5-1 victory over Valencia, but the champions still remain 10 points behind leaders Real Madrid.
Messi took his league goals tally to 27 for the season and 42 in all competitions although third-placed Valencia had stunned the Spanish and European champions by taking a shock early lead.
Barca are still struggling to retain their title after Real Madrid had swept past Racing Santander 4-0 on Saturday.
Karim Benzema grabbed a double for Jose Mourinho's team while Cristiano Ronaldo was also on target for his 28th league goal of the season.
Real have now won 18 of the last 19 games since they drew 0-0 at Santander at the end of September.
- AC Milan stormed back to the top of Serie A with a 3-0 win at lowly Cesena. Ghana midfielder Sulley Muntari, on his debut, and Dutchman Urby Emanuelson both scored their first goals for the club with Robinho adding the third as Milan went a point clear of Juventus, although having played a game more.
The two Italian giants meet next week in a top of the table clash at the San Siro.
Juventus had taken over at the summit on Saturday with a 3-1 win over 10-man Catania.
Udinese are third despite being held to a 0-0 draw at home by Cagliari. That was because Lazio crashed to a humiliating 5-1 thrashing at Palermo to continue their poor run in 2012, losing six of their 11 games in all competitions.
Roma moved up to fifth and sent Inter Milan, who lost 3-0 at home to Bologna on Friday, down to seventh with a 1-0 win over Parma.
- Borussia Dortmund earned a 1-0 win at struggling Hertha Berlin to open a three-point lead at the top of the German league as Bayern Munich were held to a goalless draw at bottom-side Freiburg.
Bayern, who drop to third in the table, are four points off the pace.
Borussia Moenchengladbach beat Kaiserslautern 2-1 to stay second, three points behind Dortmund.
- Montpellier proved their title credentials by holding league leaders Paris Saint-Germain to a 2-2 draw in the top-of-the-table clash at Parc des Princes.
John Utaka's header gave Montpellier a 2-1 lead with eight minutes to play but a tap-in from substitute Guillaume Hoarau two minutes from time preserved PSG's one-point lead over Rene Girard's side.
- PSV Eindhoven and AZ Alkmaar both lost 3-0 at FC Groningen and FC Utrecht respectively as Heerenveen moved to within two points of the joint leaders by beating Breda 1-0.
- FC Porto beat Vitoria Setubal 3-1 to cut the gap on leaders Benfica to two points, but the Lisbon giants can restore their five-point advantage with victory at Vitoria Guimaraes on Monday.