May 16th, 2011

Weekend Results: Cannon & Ballers

A confusing weekend for the Manchester newspapers, who, for the first time in some thirty-five years, had a bit of a conflict as to which club’s achievements they should be featuring on their front page. We particularly enjoyed the Manchester Evening News, which evaded the problem completely by sticking the Great Manchester Run on the front of their esteemed organ, and dealing with other relevant matters elsewhere.

In lieu of the fact that we don’t have an esteemed organ, we simply avoided dealing with it by leading with this picture of Mario Gomez, who is seen here receiving an award on behalf of team-mate Thomas Muller, presumably for his esteemed organ.

Sorry. Crude but totally necessary.

The FA Cup

When we said ‘celebratory strip‘, this isn’t quite what we had in mind, Joey Hart. Sigh. Image: Getty Images/Daylife

A huge congratulations to Manchester City, who lifted their first trophy for thirty-five years at Wembley on Saturday, just a few days after securing Champions League football next season. The Blues beat Stoke City 1-0 in what turned out to be a relatively one-sided affair; Stoke showing none of the cunning and guile that got them to the final in the first place and appeared overwhelmed by the occasion.

Regardless, City didn’t take the initiative until the second half, when Yaya Toure struck and shoved his team into an exciting new era of football. The only question now is, how will they cope with it?

EPL

Note how Michael Carrick has a secure hold on Wayne? That’s no accident, Fergie knew there’d be cameras and took appropriate precautions. Clever, no? Images: Getty Images/Zimbio

Never ones to allow their rivals a long awaited moment in the sun, Manchester United came from a goal down at Blackburn Rovers to take a record breaking nineteenth title and effectively deify manager Alex Ferguson into the bargain. Blackburn took an early lead after Brett Emerton capitalised on United’s stand-in goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak shaky start, and kept up the pressure for some time afterwards. Were United going to fluff it at the final hurdle?

Would you have bet against them, having seen what they’re capable of this season? Nah, we didn’t bother either, and sure enough, Javi Hernandez was (just about) tripped in the penalty area by Paul Robinson and Wayne Rooney converted the penalty. Apparently realising that a point was good news for both sides, the game then descended into a training ground passing exercise for the remaining fifteen minutes and the title was United’s once again.

Elsewhere, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool all fluffed their lines in the jostle for the limelight; Arsenal once again putting on a shoddy display to lose 2-1 to Aston Villa and concede second place to Chelsea, who drew 2-2 against Newcastle. A quick congrats to Darren Bent, who did his selection prospects no harm whatsoever with two brilliant goals in front of England manager, Fabio Capello.

Spurs beat Liverpool 2-0, took fifth and maybe the mixed blessing of a Europa League spot. We wonder whether consolidation in the league next season might be the focus of both these teams, rather than an utterly confusing cup competition that Kickette doesn’t even bother to cover. We shall see.

Finally, West Ham’s utterly crap season came to a shuddering (yet somehow fitting) end. Two goals to the good with half an hour to go, the Hammers were cruising until Wigan staged a sensational come back and ended up winning the game 3-2. West Ham are out of the EPL and Avram Grant is out of a job. Again.

La Liga

Carles Puyol can barely contain his hysteria as he lifts the league trophy. Images: Getty Images/Daylife

This was Barcelona’s first home game since they won the title, so the game itself was rendered utterly unimportant, everyone focussing on the opportunity to parade about in front of their fans with the trophy instead. Pep Guardiola played what was essentially a second string side and Deportivo La Coruna would have been pleased to pick up an unexpected point from the 0-0 draw, mired as they are in the relegation battle. 

Cristiano Ronaldo’s season is far from over though; having watched his side capitulate to the Catalans on several occasions, he has set about proving the only point he has left. Cris scored another two goals in Madrid’s 3-1 win against Villarreal, securing three points for his club but perhaps more importantly (for him), equalling the La Liga top-flight single season scoring record with thirty-eight.  He says he’s ‘not obsessed with goals’. Hmm. Like we’re not obsessed with nail varnish. 

At the bottom, Real Zaragoza held on to top flight football for another week with a 1-0 over Espanyol. They will need to beat Levante next weekend and hope that Deportivo fluff their lines against Valencia. Nail biting stuff indeed.

Serie A

Napoli’s Juan Camilo Zuniga, whose careful avoidance of celebratory manpiles, surreptitious shirt removal and brooding in the corner has earned him the reward of a mention on Kickette. Wooh!  Images: AP Photo/Daylife, Getty Images/Daylife

Congratulations to Napoli, whose point against Inter Milan secured third place and automatic qualification for the Champions League. Cue scenes of mass, pale blue hysteria, baby brandishing and skin exposure which we will bring you in full later on (if we remember). Udinese beat Chievo 2-0 in their race for a fourth place finish, but are keeping their powder dry as results need to go their way next week. Are we the only ones wondering whether the European Leagues are becoming a kind of qualifying competition for the Champions League and not an honour in their own right?

We’re just saying.

Bad news for Sampdoria fans, whose side lost 2-1 to Palermo and in doing so confirmed their relegation to Serie B along with Brescia and Bari. Congratulations to Lecce, whose 2-0 win over Bari confirmed Serie A football for them next year.

Bundesliga

Champions Borussia Dortmund were in no mood to do Eintract Frankfurt a favour this weekend; their 3-1 victory over the side confirmed their relegation and threw coach Christoph Daum’s future into doubt. Bayern Munich claimed third place with a 2-1 win over Stuttgart, Schalke lost again (they will be grateful that the season is almost over, their form of late easily lending itself to the term ‘in freefall’), while Borussia Monchengladbach finally dropped points at Hamburg. This means they go into some sort of play-off for a top flight spot, the details of which we can’t be bothered to list here. Please enjoy them here, instead.

Ligue 1

Er, are we the only one’s who object to this hideous Marseille strip? Take it off, Loic Remy. Go on. Image: Reuters/Daylife

With two weeks left to go in Ligue 1, there is still plenty left to fight for. Unless you’re a fan of Arles-Avignon, of course, in which case you waved goodbye to Ligue 1 football some considerable time ago and therefore yesterday’s 1-0 win over Toulouse was nothing but a very late consolation. Nevermind, it did break a twenty-three match winless run, which must have prompted some good cheer. Ahem.

Top of the table Lille have a game in hand against Sochaux on Wednesday, with victory all the more important since second place Marseille only drew against Lorient. Lille are currently three points clear. Lyon’s 4-0 drubbing against Auxerre last Wednesday has made a win in tonight’s game against Brest even more important, but Brest’s perilous position just above the relegation spots should ensure they come out fighting. One to watch, we think.

Celebrating? Commiserating? Totally confused? Whatever your Facebook status is this morning, share it with us, too.

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31 Responses to “Weekend Results: Cannon & Ballers”

  1. JA7 says:

    What a crazy weekend it was! I was really pleased that man city won the FA Cup!! Roberto Mancini and the boys totally deserve it! Though Arsenal losing agaisnt aston villa totally broke my heart, the only two things that made me smile yesterday was the sight of Leo & Nora Torres ANDD when my love marouane chamakh was coming onto the pitch for the second half..lemme tell u he was bending over for a good few minutes tying his shoe laces and the camera just zoomed in on his (toned) butt, wooooohoooooo! That beautiful image shall be forever ingrained in my mind. The person behind the camera was prolly my twin :P

  2. Summer says:

    I don't know is Chelsea yesterday was joking or not, 'cause I think that the statues of my garden are more alive than them. John Terry was awful, the worst game since january. I'm speachless. They have to work hard if they want to win something next season, but really hard. Fortunately yesterday me love Georgie John put a smile on my face and also the sweet surprise of baby Leo.

    • FloraJane says:

      No it wasn't a very good performance, and they will certainly have to do better next season, but this is 'this' season and the boys are undoubtedly gutted at losing our title and it showed. They mostly seemed mentally exhausted. I'm not down on them when I know the less than stellar performance was likely born out of heartache. Enormous credit is due for coming through that horrid slump and making up 15 points since March and even being in a position to even challenge for the title. It was a tough season, but I am very proud of my team and am looking forward to next season. As for JT being 'awful', I certainly didn't see what you saw. He led the team as he always does and might have scored a goal himself. He had to give away that free kick because of someone else's mistake, not his own. And even if he (or any of the others) had been 'awful', I'd still choose to post some fierce love and support now when they probably need it most.

  3. Leya_S says:

    Congrats to CR7! I'm genuinely happy for him to get the league total goals record. Here's hoping he breaks the record next week!! His beginning of the season was fraught with criticism over some 10 goals in like 100 shots or something, so now he's proved to ppl that he can still deliver.

    Congrats to my blaugranas. Whilst Sergio Busquets and I may never be friends again, I still love my Barca boys and I'm SO happy for them!

    EPL is crazy, but congrats to ManU and their win. I may not love them but I can't deny that they deserved it. They played well, fought hard, and Chicha, my baby, had an AMAZING first season with them!

    I'm still biting my fingernails for Arsenal as we not only NEED to win next week, we NEED Man City to drop points with a tie or a loss in at least one of their remaining two games. Yikes! Liverpool needs to win plus see Spurs lose next weekend. Spots 3-5 are up for grabs right now.

  4. Devilish-x says:

    Thank you uniiited! :') Booya looks to be great end to the season, hope it ends even better!
    Ah, cannot wait to see if there will be any bubbbas displayed at old trafford next week! Can someone please tell Berba to bring his bubbba out? Really wanna see how his little girl looks like :D Ooo and wonder if Rio will bring out his little girl? <3

    • Jo_ says:

      Definitely looking forward to the bubba parade! First outings for Princess Ferdy and Little Miss Berbatov will be totally squeeee-worthy. :D

  5. Lotte says:

    I can't get enough of seeing my blaugranas celebrate! They seemed a little worn out first, but those peppers did the trick. Throwing peppers, that's a new one. They should bring some to Wembley…:)

    Congratulations to both the Manchester teams!

    • LeeLee14 says:

      I loved seeing Pique and Co. throwing the peppers at each other. They make me happy to be a cule

  6. IrishBlue says:

    It's not like anyone except me gives a sh**e about this I'm going to concentrate on the my positives this week, Wolves won and have gave themselves a great chance of staying up yay :) and my babyyy Doyle's fit again…double yay :) :)

  7. blitzenTO says:

    Campions! Campions!

    I'm so proud of my Barcelona boys! This season has been so incredibly difficult, and it was lovely that they could just relax and enjoy the celebrations. Some of the B-team players got to start, and they played really well. And I'm sure our Captain Puyol never gets tired of lifting trophies!

  8. Jo_ says:

    Still buzzing from the weekend celebrations. The Blackburn tie was more nerve-wracking than the Chelsea match! So happy that Manchester United will be organizing a parade this year. Don't drop the trohpy. :D

  9. Zoey says:

    What no AC Milan and their 4-1 win over cagliari and not forgetting the moonwalk from kevin prince boateng? Come on Kickette!

  10. Sarah, Madrid says:

    Anyway, who else think that UEFA IS AN EFFING JOKE! :) .

    Real vs Villarreal was a good game, anyway is it only me, or does anyone else think that we did sign Adebayor for his dancing, I can picture Cris, Pepe and Marcelo sitting in next to Papa Floriento *checking his dance moves* telling him yes yes he should be hired xD! I dont know if anyone noticed too, Marchena took a couple lessons from Busquets in La roja, what's up with the face holding and rolling on the ground! Pipita didn't look happy being on the pitch, me either Pipa me either!

    Finally! Cris the goal machine, GRANDE 38! GRANDE CRIS! Way to reach the record or break it ( marca lol).

    • Tina says:

      I'm assuming that you are referring to the decision about Busquets. Well, I'm happy with the decision for one reason only: that they didn't allow such a serious case to be decided by such dodgy evidence.

      And all of you that think that Barca got away easy, think again. Busquets and Barca is being punished. Because a reputation is a very fragile thing, and theirs has taken a hard blow. No matter what the UEFA says. Unfortunately.

      • Sarah, Madrid says:

        Lack of convincing evidence was never an issue with UEFA! Just look at our game against Ajax! About reputation, yeah real madrid can say that too, since we are labeled now as sore-losers and with UEFA ignoring our claim, yeah we are not looking good right now.

        Barcelona the way they handle it, they didn't even say racisim is shameful and it is very serious accusation to one of our player from messiah who represent our values for example!, They were very fague and weak in approching this issue!

        • Tina says:

          If you consider racist accusations as such a trifle as red cards, then be my guest. I would never, ever, compare the two cases. I think the first case demands a bit more. But hey, that's just me!

          • Sarah, Madrid says:

            I am not talking about severity of the action! Regardless the severity of the action I am talking about the basic concept of lacking unconvnicing evidence, is it the same concept? what was their evidence that Mou instructed dudek to tell Iker to tell Ramos? for all I know they shared a joke. However we accept it and we didn't say they didn't have evidence about it
            About the accusation, beside the video as far as I understood Marcelo confirmed it to them, not publicly! Anyway, you can argue as much as you want about the shady "evidence" and what Busquet actually said was " mucho morro". I reached the point of indifferente just because I know nothing will happen right now and all what have happened in the end of the day is RM being the bad guy for protecting one of our player that we turned to be framing players and making shady evidence to frame Busquets who is unimportant player and very expandable to both Barc and SNT.

            • Tina says:

              If you're gonna accuse someone then bring evidence that is relative to the crime committed. That is a basic principle. You have rights in a system of law. Both perpetrators and victims. That is important to remember.

      • Lotte says:

        It's true that a great damage has been done, even if the UEFA choose to let Busquets go unpunished. I have said it before and I will say it again, in my eyes Busquets is not the same player that he once was. And I think that many Barca fans feel the same way.

      • cisarovna says:

        I have to point out that IF Barca's image was at all damaged (and I am not sure that it was) it was only a result of their own actions. Specifically the ridiculous dives and the even more ridiculous comments made by directors of the club. Sure, many other teams have players that dive, but you have to understand many many people, who might not watch much football at all, were watching and this is now what they know of Barca. They now know Barca have actors and Messi. Sure Madrid did commit fouls, but right or wrong, people expect that in a contact sport. This isn't golf or tennis after all. But it also wasn't an audition for RADA, so people are gonna call you out even if the other side doesn't send a video. As for the stupid statement about not reporting racism, I don't care what excuse people want to make, it is one of those things you just don't say out loud, particularly when you (or the person you are defending) has been accused of racism, that's PR 101.

        So in short, Barca made their bed and now that must lie in it, but the bed looks kinda comfy with that La Liga title and the BIG SHOW coming up, so not ready to join the pity party.

      • EM. says:

        @Tina: Oh, cry me a river about Barca's reputation. A player of theirs racially abused another and they are doing nothing about it. That is brushing racism under the carpet. It deserves more scorn and condemn than a slight reputation blow.

        LOLing all over the place at "dodgy evidence" – Pray tell, what evidence did UEFA have to fine 5 RM players and the club during the whispering fiasco vs. Ajax? Their mouths were covered – not a single player or referee made out what was said and there was no video evidence of them mouthing anything either. Whereas in this case, there's a video evidence, backed by expert lip-readers and a testimony by Marcelo. UEFA is a shitstain on football.

        • Tina says:

          Both teams reputations has been, deservedly, damaged. Barca has their cheaters and RM their sore losers. Pease note that I'm not talking about all of them.

          And you are absolutely right. Racism is a very serious matter. That is why I am stunned over the fact that people take it so lightly. That is my whole point, you see. That video wouldn't hold in any serious court of law. Because of the seriousness of the crime. And that is really all I have to say about that.

    • Sarah, Madrid says:

      I hope VDB will not call Busquets to SNT! That will be would be a good reaction.

  11. AC_USA says:

    I am beyond words happy for City! And I watched locker room celebration wayyyy to many times! :) Congras to City! They fully deserve whats happening to them. Also congrats to Barca!! Boys, way to go ! :)

  12. Nando y Geri 4ever says:

    The celebration for Barcelona was amazing!! I loved seeing all the smiles of the players, the cheering fans, the players throwing peppers into the crowd, the trophy itself, and all the hard work FCB did to get the trophy.
    Congratulations Barcelona!!!! You earned it!!!

    Also: Bojan finally got to play!!!! I was so happy when I found out he was fully recovered! :)

  13. Congratulations to both Manchester teams! I have to say that I was hoping Liverpool would win yesterday. I think Spurs just need to really concentrate on finishing top 4 in the EPL next season. Europa League may interfere with that. It would make me happy to see both teams finish top 4 next season. One more game to go!

    I'm also happy for Barca and Napoli! Champions League is going to be too exciting to watch next season!

  14. Rossanera says:

    SO HAPPY FOR NAPOLI. SO SO HAPPY. I THINK MY FATHER MAY HAVE CRIED. I may be a Milanista but Napoli is the team I was born to and I am so overjoyed to see gli Azzurri return to the European stage after 21 years! FORZA NAPOLI !!!

    • Rossanera says:

      I forgot to mention how awesome Milan's Scudetto celebrations were. If you missed Boateng's moonwalk – you missed out.