Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Old Futbol Buffet--All You Can Eat

Editor’s Note: after weekends I gorge myself on footy, I plan to post on what I saw, heard, thought. This is a little late because I lost my flash drive (momentarily) and then was on the road for work.


The rest of the family was away, so I was given free reign over the weekend to watch footy and basketball. I missed the Manchester United game (BERBA BABY!!) but got some work down around the house and headed out for the afternoon matches.

Ran into a couple of Arsenal fans who were drowning their sorrows after the Gunners dropped more points in a 2-2 draw with West Brom. They mentioned that Alumnia had a poor game, which is usual. I watched the hilites later and his contribution to a calamitous second goal. Looks like his fine performance against FCB in the second leg really is the anomaly.

The couple conceded the league to United, but there is still a ways to go. However, the loss in the Carling Cup Final has really put the pressure on them. No trophy from a match which they were heavily favored, and now the club out of Champions League and FA Cup. Everything is tied up in the league or it’s another season of “Wait til next year”.

I watched the end of Lazio and Cesena. Not too much happened. Lazio had a point blank header saved but picked up all three points in 1-0 win.

FCB v Getafe

FCB got off to a nervy start due several factors: Real Madrid playing after so the Blaugrana had to put three points on the board; Puyol out still; and the drama around Abidal. A goal by Alves on 16’ seemed to settle the team. Messi was dangerous but not sharp enough; Villa was looking for PK’s instead of finishing his chances. Bojan was lively but still not up to Pedro’s high standards. The midfield was solid, with Masch winning several challenges. Milito was shaky, but with his injuries and lack of playing time, what do you expect? Felt Adriano could have played better.

Getafe had a great chance to equalize, but Valdes came up huge. FCB continued to create chances but the HT whistle blew with only one goal being scored. Last week Sevilla came out of the blocks in the second half and surely that was part of Pep’s comments during the interval.

Bojan, who has been marginalized over the last two seasons, scored a vital goal early in the second half. It took a slight deflection but will probably do wonders for his confidence. The third goal never came and Getafe set up an interesting finish with a fine finish by Manu. FCB saw out the match and put pressure on Los Merengues heading into the Madrid Derby (which of course they against the choking dogs know as Atletico Madrid).


Athletic Bilbao v Villarreal

Watched the last half an hour of this match while watching the Duke/Michigan game. Looked like a tense, hard fought game but I didn’t see much action. The Yellow Submarine picked up three vital points with the 1-0 victory to solidify their spot in the top four and keep the pressure on Valencia. This followed an impressive victory in the Europa League. They continue to fight on both fronts, with very little chance of losing their Champions League position, because, skimming results, Espanyol have lost 7 of their last 9 to fall away from the Champions League places. They are now 1st for the rest of the table, holding a one point edge over Bilbao.

At the bottom, Malaga have finally caught fire and now have the momentum in the relegation fight. Hercules have hit rock bottom and look to go down despite being the only team to beat FCB this season. The relegation battles in Spain and England should be nail-biting right to the last minute of the season.

Marseille v PSG

I usually have not been impressed by French games, but the first half was very open and entertaining. OM really took it to PSG, which looked very average. Lots of turnovers and too much hesitation when they finally got into the final third.

Heinze opened the scoring 15’ with a fantastic free kick. Coupet didn’t even move. Who knew he could take free kicks? However PSG took advantage of poor clearance, and scored when a shot off the post from Nene was fired home by Chantome. OM responded quickly and Ayew scored with a relatively free header from Gignac to put the Champions in front on 35’.

The exciting first half caused two thoughts: Where was this against United? And I had made the right choice as Valencia v Sevilla was 0-0 at HT.

The second half was a little more disciplined. PSG really didn’t create enough chances, even though Marseille looked to have settled for the lead and invited PSG on to them.

Ayew had a great chance after a fine individual run turned away by Coupet, then Mandanda kept PSG out with a nice save 10’ into the half. Lucho and Abriel came on with half an hour to try to maintain OM’s grip on the game.

Guily best chance came with 10’ to go with interplay creating a real chance on goal as opposed to the half chances for most of the half. PSG threw bodies forward in an effort to equalize and OM squandered two gilt edged chances to kill off the game, with Lucho and Remy at fault.

After that result, this what the top of Ligue 1 looks like. With OM out of the Champions League, they could still make a final push to retain their title.




































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