February 13th, 2012

Weekend Results: Avoidance Tactics

Holger Badstuber. Seen here reinforcing today’s remit of focussing only on football results. No, we really are that easily distracted. Image: GUENTER SCHIFFMANN/AFP/Getty Images.

With everyone stomping all over what we consider to be our remit this weekend – namely waffling about matters only loosely related to the playing of football – we’ve decided to do the reverse.

Concentrating on some of the amazing games we watched, perhaps with the odd side order of manflesh and tenting where applicable, we’d love if our comments section could follow suit.

EPL

Image: Scott Heavey/Getty Images Europe.

For many years now, we’ve tried to tell our editors at Kickette that overseeing our every move does not improve our output. And while we’re pretty sure that Andre Villas Boas doesn’t ever nip from a hip flask, fall asleep at his desk or try to get a glimpse of Fernando Torres in the buff during his work day as we might, the presence of Roman Abramovich at Chelsea’s training ground last week clearly did the club no favours.

Having picked up twelve points out of an available thirty in recent weeks, the Blues were beaten 2-0 by a resurgent Everton side on Saturday, leaving them a ridiculous seventeen points off leaders Manchester City, who beat Aston Villa 1-0. Even we can see that probably means they’re out of the title race.

A game of football broke out at Old Trafford long enough yesterday for Manchester United to beat Liverpool 2-1, while Wolves dropped into the relegation zone and Mick McCarthy got the heave-ho after being trounced 5-1 at home by local rivals West Brom. Thierry Henry signed off his comeback with what could turn out to be a crucial goal in Arsenal’s quest for Europe, while Newcastle’s aspirations in the same direction took a blow after a 5-0 defeat to Spurs.

That’s going to make the fans even more willing to let Harry dump them in favour of England, isn’t it?

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La Liga

If Espanyol’s Vladimir Weiss (l) cannot gaze upon the beauty of team-mate Rui Fonte without getting a headache, what chance to we stand? Image: JOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images.

Newly-buzzed Jose Mourinho and his Real Madrid men moved ten points clear at the top of the table after Barcelona’s dodgy away form continued at Osasuna; Guardiola’s squad fell to a shock 3-2 defeat while Cristiano Ronaldo scored his sixth hat-trick of the season in Madrid’s 4-2 win over Levante.

As far as the rest of the top six was concerned: Valencia remain in third after dishing out a thorough 4-0 beating to Sporting Gijon, Levante are fourth, Espanyol are fifth despite an embarrassing 2-0 home defeat to bottom placed Zaragoza and Atletico Madrid hung on to sixth (albeit on goal difference) after a 0-0 draw vs. Racing Santander.

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Serie A

Image: GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images.

Turns out Inter Milan’s punishing 4-0 defeat at the hands of Roma last week wasn’t a blip. Novara, who have spent most of the season getting their backsides kicked, earned themselves a totally unexpected three points at the San Siro via an Andrea Caracciolo strike on 56′.  At present, Inter boss Claudio Ranieri insists that the club are behind him, but we’re not sure whether he means literally or figuratively. We hope, for his sake, it’s the latter.

AC Milan came from 1-0 down to beat Udinese 2-1 and retain the top spot, but the weather played a part in the fixture schedule once again this weekend – the most high profile victim being second place Juventus’ game vs. Bologna. Juve now have two games in hand over Milan, and since there are only two points between them, it’s relatively safe to assume they will continue to pose a threat to the Champions once the snow melts.

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Bundesliga

Raul on the slide? Not from this angle, he’s not. Image: PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images.

Borussia Dortmund’s campaign to retain bragging rights in the Bundesliga continues unabated, this week a no-frills 1-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen was enough to keep them safely ahead of closest rivals Bayern. We find it’s always best not to write off a team whose strike force comprises the likes of Thomas Muller and Mario Gomez though – both scored in their side’s 2-0 victory over Kaiserslautern and kept the pressure on.

We must offer an honorable mention to mid-table moochers Vfb Stuttgart, who battered the hell out of hapless Hertha Berlin in a game that finished 5-0 to the home side. And while we’re talking unexpected, SC Freiburg nearly picked up their eighteenth point of the season at Wolfsburg, coming from behind twice, only to be sunk by a second Petr Jiracek strike on the hour mark.

So near and yet soooooo far, boys.

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Ligue 1

Lisandro Lopez. Clearly not in receipt of our memo regarding manhose. Image: REUTERS/Robert Pratta.

Despite beating AC Ajaccio 3-0 and rivals Paris St German only drawing vs. Nice, Montpellier lost the initiative at the top of Ligue 1 to championship favourites, PSG.

No one cared a jot about that, though, with all the excitement occurring in third place. Bordeaux visited Lille on Sunday and stunned their hosts by taking a 4-1 lead by the time an hour had been played. Having figured they’d done enough to claim the three points, they wandered off into la-la land and before they could regain their senses, Lille had scored three. Ludovic Obraniak’s stoppage time strike saved his team-mates a verbal lashing from the gaffer, with the game finally finishing 5-4 to Bordeaux.

For their troubles, they remain in ninth place.

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Africa Cup Of Nations

Zambia 0 Ivory Coast 0 (8-7 on pens)

Image: REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya.

And finally, a massive congrats to Zambia, who beat hot favourites Ivory Coast on penalties to secure the Africa Cup of Nations last night. Manager Herve Renard (yes, we ‘ve noticed but haven’t got round to posting on his hotness yet) dedicated the victory to the victims of the plane crash that killed 18 members of the team in 1993.

Let’s hope their fans show a little more ‘restraint’ in their celebrations this time, shall we?

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As we hinted at in the intro, while we avoided mentioning the unmentionable, we realise not everyone can or will. Our usual comment policy applies, and we’d ve super grateful if everyone would abide by it.

Cheers!

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44 Responses to “Weekend Results: Avoidance Tactics”

  1. Sexy4SoccerPlayers says:

    Holger Badstuber is sexxxy!! You go and run around shirtless, you sexy German soccer player!!

  2. RealFan7 says:

    Fantastic game for Real Madrid. CR's third goal was incredible. Cristiano drove away with LaLiga in his new Lamborghini!! Loved his clebration with proud Papa Mou. It was great to see Cristiano so happy after hearing crowd singing his name, he had the cutest smile in his interview when they asked him about it. Keep up the good work. Hala CR, Hala Madrid!!!

  3. nayet21 says:

    Raul will always be the reason of my love for this sport and the number one on my top list, he's great :) I'm so happy that my boys won and are at the top of La Liga…

  4. littlegreenpea says:

    Grr. Barcelona lost. AGAIN. How can they catch up now??? Well, at least Manchester United beat LIVERPOOL, and Dortmund and Tottenham won… It was a pretty great weekend, except for the barca loss.

  5. IrishBlue says:

    Chelsea's loss made me sad, but the naked man doing a handstand (?) made me happy.

    Suarez was wrong not to shake Evra's hand, even just to draw a line under the whole thing but Evra shouldn't have celebrated in front of him the way he did either. Just wanna get on with the football now!

    Sad to see Mick Mc Carthy leave Wolves, I really like him but I suppose he didn't give the owners much choice, pity.

    • April says:

      Oh wow… news I hadn't caught onto about Mick. This is why I hate when I live in a hole… mostly of shame after that Blues game. Woe is me… but sounds like Mick is woe too.

      • IrishBlue says:

        I might just have to dig myself an underground bunker and go into hiding until the season is over.

        • April says:

          Save room in there for the team… I feel like they ought to be feeling that the most! They're allowed some poor results, but they looked like giving up before they even took the field. Let's hope they shape up and put their big boy pants on before the cup tie.

  6. Kristina says:

    Zambia!! That's a light in the dark!

    I'm not so shocked that Barca had that terrible first half. Xavi, Iniesta, Cesc on the bench. Busi, Pedro, Villa injured and Keita away. If these guys had played and we had lost, then I would have worried.

    And then a suspiciously disallowed goal in the second half. But shit happens, nothing to whine about. We'll take the CL instead. ;)

    I heard Suarez apologized. Good. I was beginning to really hate the guy. Congrats to Man U!

    • Sergz says:

      To be honest, these kind of apologies are never sincere. The club pressured him and Dalglish because the hatred from everyone else was simply too big.

      • Kristina says:

        Sometimes a false gesture is better than nothing. If nothing else it sends a message that there are principles that goes before your personal feelings. If he didn't want to apologize but is pressured to do it then at least he's being forced into submission. He can't do as he please without repercussions. That's a lesson learned.

        • April says:

          Well said. It's more of PR damage control than anything, whether the player/manager are sincere or not. It's a business, as personally as some of us may take it, and as such, they need to respond like professionals. Shocked that the incident even occurred in the first place (I'll save my comments on that, for now), but glad that Liverpool FC responded much more quickly this time, and recognized the additional fallout that could have happened should they not have. Liverpool fans should be pleased with the club's response.

    • Gladys says:

      You mean two blatantly onside disallowed Barca goals and one incorrectly allowed Osasuna goal (doubters need only look at the replays). There's no sense in complaining and wrong calls happen to all teams, but it's amazing how many people are saying FCB are going downhill when they managed to, in truth, score four goals on an icy pitch with only half of their regular starters. (This is not to say that Osasuna doesn't deserve respect– they fought hard and played well.)

      And as for Zambia, congratulations doesn't even seem a strong enough word! So happy for them!

      • Kristina says:

        Problem is that I saw the game on a shaky stream on a small laptop, so I felt I couldn't really say more than I did. But believe me, I take your word for it. I always agree with you :) . Visca Barca!!

        • Gladys says:

          :) Sorry, I didn't mean to sound like I was arguing with your comment (I had a slightly better feed than normal, for once). Thank goodness that when one's team doesn't do well there's always another game, right? I'm looking forward to tomorrow's match and to the weekend one with Valencia (which is sure to be tough but will be a terrific game to watch, no matter what the outcome). Here's hoping the fellas are rested and healthy!

          • Kristina says:

            No no, I didn't think that at all! It's difficult to express oneself only in writing :) . I knew something more had happened during the game, but I didn't see it for myself. I was at a family thing and couldn't watch the whole time even.

            I have a feeling that the boys will put up a different kind of performance tonight. I don't know why Pep rested so many of them on Saturday, but I trust him to have a plan in that beautiful head. The two games ahead will be so tough, but awesome to see!

            Good luck tonight, Gladys!

  7. Nono says:

    Wow, it must be some kind of record, the amount of penalties awarded to RM. They're pretty good at set pieces aren't they? No wonder Mou is so quiet nowadays. Finally the refs meets his standards. Good for him. That waiting along in the garages has paid off.

    • Maran says:

      10 for CR at least. I read somewhere that the rest of the La liga teams have an average of 1,72 penalties. Sevilla could use some right now. Sorry, I'm low. Sevilla is down 2-0 against Real Sociedad.

    • anon says:

      RM have been awarded the most penalties out of any European club and have conceded none…

    • Sarah, Madrid says:

      the nerve of Pipita pushing the hands of Iborra to touch the ball..
      thinking that RM didn't earn their penalty kicks is just delliusional, in matter of fact there ALOT of pks not counted for us this season and some referees decision didn't favor us, but since we are winning everyone is crying over how referees are with RM Benzema's goal anyone?……..I don't care because RM earned their victories by their players and that's it.

      to answer your question, in matter of fact yes we are the top one club that get awarded penalties in top 5 European league, bribe, I will go wiith Mourinho's threats?

    • xoWinnie says:

      lol of course! when anything benefits Madrid it MUST be suspicious!
      however, even the slightest complaint or grumble from our camp must be
      dismissed and classified as "bitterness" and poor sportsmanship!
      pfft. typical.

      • Nono says:

        Sorry I forgot, RM is the "moral" winners. lol.

        • xoWinnie says:

          that's more like it! *bows down to your graciousness*

          • Nono says:

            No need to do that. I wasn't sincere. But you knew that. Little Mou has finally got the team where he wanted it. But it took some stomping, some whining, some tantrums and some bullying. And the crowd cheers the little brat. Sad. But I understand that it has been difficult to be second in Spain. In a way though they still are.

            • KL7 says:

              Not according to the table they aren't. They are the strongest and most consistent side in Spain. As for whining and tantrums?…that's what your posts sound like to me. The little brat,by the way, deserves all the cheers he gets. He's the leading scorer in all of Europe. He had a great game and scored a fantastic goal. A goal that probably just sealed the championship for his team.

            • Sarah, Madrid says:

              Sorry,but Real Madrid is still number one club in history of Spain winning liga or not, just for your information, this comment ooze bitterness….
              Anyway, this day for love so happy Valentine day to you, enjoy being bitter

              • Nono says:

                In the history of Spain… Are we talking in color or in black and white? I'm having a great time. I don't really know what I have to be bitter about. You girls sound very much on your guard. I guess that's what happens with Mou as a coach. The joy of winning must be smudged by the way you won. I know it would for me.

                • Sarah, Madrid says:

                  What kind of response is this, in black nd white or colored ha?….you attacked my team for no reason just for the fact they are winning now and he yes Mohrinho is the coach doing it, the way we won, what the fudge are you talking about..
                  Anyway, it is my problem to be engaging in such "argument", wish you luck with whoever team you are supporting, I hope you enjoy being a "moral" loser/ winner as well Lol

            • xoWinnie says:

              i don't understand where all your anger's coming from, but it won't change the fact that we are 10 points ahead of Barcelona and have worked our asses off this season, so that's fine with me! i bid thee good day!

    • Meeeee says:

      at least Ronaldo can actually score them lol
      every call in the game was pretty fair, besides that offsides call of Benzema's goal that was not offside.
      And after watching that match i can confidently say Ronaldo is a much more well rounded player than Messi…

  8. Ariana says:

    It's still so strange to see Raúl in Schalke's uniform.
    He will forever and always be part of Los Blancos for me.
    And what a season Los Blancos are having!
    Ronaldo's sixth hat trick of the season (that third goal – que golazo!) and 10 points ahead of second place in La Liga.

    Hala Madrid & congratulations to Zambia! The dedication to Kalusha and the victims of the crash was absolutely beautiful.
    How powerful that the plane crashed in Gabon, and they won this great victory in Gabon.

    • Sarah, Madrid says:

      Raul blanco he will always bleed white! I love how Schalke's club and fans are treating him!!

  9. xoWinnie says:

    *does a lil two step*

    haters a la izquierda!

    HALA MADRID!

    • Sarah, Madrid says:

      Bernabeu were chanting Cristano's name! Jose Mourinho name too, when you think the "crisis" we had couple of weeks again, it is all roosey now.
      Oh, ROBERTO CARLOS DID AN HONORARY kick, CARLOS, did you see Iker and Sergio face when they saw him! CARLOS was in Madrid

  10. Sarah, Madrid says:

    Wow, did he break dance nakad?
    That was one crazy weekend!!! One word for me this week: Cristano Goloazo! I am so proud of him!! Really proud of this player. His celebration with Mourinho was adorable whose haircut having mix feeling about, anyway all I have to say Hala Madrid!!!

    And Zambia their spirit, their story their coach!! What football is about

  11. hihihihihi says:

    #a10

  12. Annika says:

    That picture of Holger… Kickette you have made my day! Germans! :)

  13. Agnes Wonka says:

    I like LaLiga! RM is doing great!

    That naked man in the picture is really brave, I mean, to get naked with the freezing cold in Europe! Lol

  14. Sergz says:

    Zambia made me cry. What an amazing team spirit and respect for those who died! When they sang during the penalties… When the coach carried the injured player to their circle for the singing celebration. Tears.

    (C. Ron also scored an amazing goal and the United vs. Liverpool game was great. We won, and i'll leave it at that. Don't want to start an argument)