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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Lisandro Lopez. Clearly not in receipt of our memo regarding manhose. Image: REUTERS/Robert Pratta.
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.
Africa Cup Of Nations
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?
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.