September 26th, 2011

Weekend Results: Inconsistency & Impact Injuries

Thanks (in part) to the delectable Roque Santa Cruz, Real Betis are top of the La Liga table. Beauty is a powerful thing, Kickettes. Image: CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP/Getty Images.

It’s that time of the season where nothing makes any sense and teams we rarely bother about report on are topping tables. Fortunately, we’re way too sharp on a Monday morning to allow such trifles to confuse us.

Or so we’d like to think.

EPL

Gareth Bale scored against Wigan. We can think of at least one person among you lot who will be most pleased by this. Image: Chris Brunskill/Getty Images.

Fernando Torres’ red card shenanigans barely rattled his Chelsea teammates, who went on to comprehensively beat a promoted Swansea side. What Torres’ ref baiting tackle will do to his prospects of getting picked after a three match ban, only Andre Villas-Boas knows, though.

Manchester United’s perfect record was finally broken by a frisky Stoke City side, who are proving more than troublesome to the big boys so far this season. Peter Crouch scored the equaliser after Nani finished off a stunning one-two with Darren Fletcher, putting the Reds on level pegging at the top of the table with rivals City, who beat Everton 2-0. Meanwhile, Arsenal recovered some sort of form to topple Bolton 3-0, compunding the Wanderers problems and pushing them down to bottom place.

Liverpool also got themselves back onto an even(ish) keel by beating Wolves 2-1 and Demba Ba scored a hat-trick in Newcastle’s 3-1 win over Blackburn Rovers.

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La Liga

After an early scare, Real Madrid reverted to their usual gameplan of scoring shed-loads of goals and generally giving their opposition a thorough examination. Image: AP Photo/Andres Kudacki.

Despite having a game in hand, Real Betis will be feeling the hot breath of Barcelona on the backs of their necks this morning (a notion that makes us flushed under the collar, we admit) after beating Real Zaragoza 4-3 and snurfling their way into top spot. Apparently, Barcelona thrive on the pressure of being the best team in the history of the universe, though, and casually responded to the challenge with a 5-0 win over Atletico and another Lionel Messi hat-trick. Presumably Leo is intending to break last year’s tally in all competitions before Christmas.

Level with the Catalans on eleven points are Levante and Sevilla, who beat Espanyol 3-1 and Valencia 1-0 respectively. Valencia’s punishment for taking their eye off the ball (literally) is dropping from top spot to seventh. That’ll teach ‘em.

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Serie A

Clearly we’re not very nice people here at Kickette, cuz we can’t figure out which is funnier; Giovinco’s diminutive stature or Gobbi’s spectacular black eye. Image: Marco Luzzani/Getty Images.

Wins for both Milan sides will have boosted confidence in the respective camps, if not league position. Inter’s 3-1 win over Bologna put them in sixteenth while Clarence Seedorf’s fifth minute strike vs. Cesena was only sufficient to push AC Milan as far as twelfth.

Still, there’s plenty of time left – a fact that Roma will be grateful for. They picked up their first win of the season with a 1-0 result over Parma and are one of five sides now on five points. If this wasn’t enough of an indication of the temperamental nature of this year’s table, Napoli slipped to fourth after drawing 0-0 with Fiorentina, while Juventus stay top after a 1-1 draw over Catania.

We will restrain ourselves from offering any predictions at this point. At the end of the season, we’ll just claim we had it pegged all along and lie, as usual.

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Bundesliga

If you want us to look, take your shirt off. We’re busy too, y’know. Image: PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images.

Another win for Bayern Munich saw them making themselves comfortable at the top of the Bundesliga while Bayer Leverkusen were on the wrong side of that 3-0 victory, causing them to slip to eleventh (Bayern’s goal difference increased to an alarming +20). If we’re talking boring stats, then the big game of the weekend had to be Werder Bremen’s 2-1 coup over Hertha Berlin, which saw three goals, a winner in stoppage time, eight yellow cards and two reds. Werder climbed to second after the dust had settled, while Hertha are twelfth.

Elsewhere, Hamburg, Freiburg and Augsberg’s competitive jostling for bottom spot took an interesting turn as Augsberg drew 0-0 with Hannover, Freiburg lost 4-2 to Schalke and Hamburg got their first win of the season with a 2-1 win over Stuttgart. They’re all still flailing about on four points, however, so not much really changed after all.

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Ligue 1

It’s Joey C’s first goal in Ligue 1, but we’re waaaaay more interested in what happened to his shorts in all the excitement. Image: DENIS CHARLET/AFP/Getty Images.

Unfortunately, the tastily tan-lined Londoner’s strike for Lille was cancelled out by a late Lorient equaliser, but sixth and seventh places in the table at this stage of the season is pretty respectable. It’s certainly better than bottom, where Nancy find themselves this morning after a 1-0 defeat to Toulouse. The brilliantly named Alain Casanova’s boys are currently in a three way tie for top spot with Paris St Germain & Lyon, who beat Montpellier 3-0 and Bordeaux 3-1 respectively.

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What exciting event  lifted your shorts to decency-defying levels this weekend, people?

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57 Responses to “Weekend Results: Inconsistency & Impact Injuries”

  1. Arctic says:

    Fantastic game by Messi. Truly a joy to watch.

    Roque is so dreamy. His stature and those serene brown eyes. Good to see him back on the field.

    Lol. What the hell happened to Joe's shorts? He looks like he should be down in New Zealand playing as a fly half. It looks like he raided Martin Johnson's closet.

  2. Deanna says:

    Oh so no one mentioned that Silva was speaking engish? Oh… Ohk then. :(

  3. Tee says:

    lovin that my gunners and galacticos are getting back to winning ways!!!
    theooooooooooooo and rvp were great (hope theo's injury ain't too serious); but t'was a shame stuey holden couldn't play – after his comeback midweek was looking forward to seeing his beautiful hair in full HD :D

  4. Agnes Wonka says:

    I can't believe Man.Utd's draw!! well, that won't the team!! xDDD
    congrats to RVP! :) ) he's really loyal to his team

    RM is showing the class they have!!! CR is soooooooooo amazing!!! Benzi, Ozil…well, everyone were great!!! xDD

  5. IrishBlue says:

    All I have to say is that Chelsea won (yay) and I love Roque Santa Cruz <3

    Oh and well done to RVP on his 100th Arsenal goal!

  6. JA7 says:

    All i can say is that i was getting really teary durin the arsenal vs. bolton game! I was soo proud that RVP scored his 99th & 100th goal! So happy for him<3 He's a true legend and finally he's amongst those list of gunners :) Ohh and i was soo happy about the 'Animo Ibi' shirts the barca lads were wearing, so sweet! And it was trending worldwide on twitter too :D

  7. tara says:

    baaaaaaaaaaaleeeeeeeeeeee

  8. littlegreenpea says:

    I love Bale. <3
    and look! another picture of Giovinco!! I just wish it was from the front.
    even as a united fan, I feel really bad for torres. that was a really bad miss… I'd never live that down…
    as a united fan, I was pretty disappointed that they tied stoke. I was expecting at least a 2-0 result.

  9. Shelley says:

    Kickette you forgot that Messi has a new cute school boy hair-cut. It's sweet that you can now see white patches where his longer hair used to be. He's so cute, I just want to munch him LOL. He scored two great goals and he looked hot and wet. Love him!

  10. Shelley says:

    Can't believe Kaka was moaning at the ref after the game. Jose gets his players to carry out his instructions to put pressure on ref's. Iker and Xabi refuse to do it, hence both of them being dropped in different games. But Kaka is doing what JM's tells him re; complaining about refs. I think this is ridiculous and its no wonder that Kaka is getting games and praise from JM at the moment. If I was Iker, Sergio or Xabi I would be peed off with Kaka for carrying out Jose's instructions to insult refs and I would be annoyed that Kaka was such a jobsworth. He was not like that at Milan. He's gone down in my estimations seriously.

    • Sarah, Madrid says:

      I don't like commenting on these stuff or I don't like to get into these arguments, but it is really…
      Again, let's blame Mou for a comment made by a fully-grown person, maybe just maybe kaka was expressing his own opinion about the game, but again it is RM, it is Mou he has script desgined for his players to what say after each game…
      Di Maria deserved a card and btw Mou agreed to it by the words of Rayo's coach himself, but I think what Kaka meant is when a player from Rayo ( I think Gabi?!) did the same and ended up being on the bench afterall..

      But again yes Kaka is in the Mourinho side you know in the whole spainsh players vs Mourinho thing, so yeah he is Mou's mouthpiece *sarcasm*..

      • Shelley says:

        Well, it's a common known fact that Jose asks his players to carry out his protests about refs in TV interviews as part of the 'message from the club'. Jose also asks his assistants to put pressure on the 4th official. This is not disputed as one of his assistants refused to do it last season. You can read about this stuff, it's not a secret. The story has never been sued or retracted.

        All I was saying was that I was surprised to see the words of JM coming out of Kaka's mouth as he was not like that at Milan.

        I know you want to defend your coach, but he is no Angel.

        • Sarah, Madrid says:

          I never said that Mou is angel and expressed my opinion about his actions many time before here, I am speaking in the context of Kaka's comment which I find very ordinary, I didn't follow every comment made by Kaka in Milan, but whatever Kaka said wasn't bad..

          I know about Mou's tactics, you mean Chendo he is not his assistant, it is not a secert…I don't agree with it, but again our players if you notice don't speak about referees unless again unless they do something major against us ( which pretty much most players in the world do it). Even, then sometime our players don't speak about it…

    • Sarah, Madrid says:

      Oh I forget to add, when was xabi being dropped in Madrid games? in matter of fact he is playing every game so far in this season, alot of madridistas are asking for him to take a rest and be subbed by Pirata! and Iker?!!., When exactly? Bernabeu cup and other friendly games?

    • Agnes Wonka says:

      they have the right to complain everything they want!!!…coz refs in LaLiga are not fair!!!!

      • Kristina says:

        They can complain all they want to. Thing is, it won't help much. It will only make the players seem whiny. You might find it unfair, but that's the way it is. Besides, it the same for every team in La liga, though some doesn't complain. The ref's in Spain aren't that much different from those in other leagues.

        • Sarah, Madrid says:

          Actually referees in Liga are not that good, they differs from EPL and calcio, Mou are used to different approach of referees and I actually urge Mou to stop his battle with them, his team is not the only one being effected by their mistakes :) .
          That what kaka said that cause people to think he is being whinny he said " Referees should be fair for the sake of us and our opponent"..

          • Kristina says:

            Yes I know people say that about ref's in La liga. But my point is that even if that was true (I know that there is a lot of complaints about ref's in other leagues. Howard Webb in the EPL, is one example) then all the teams have equal treatment. Good or bad, but equal. Now I agree with you that what Kaka said was a mild breeze and not very whiny at all, but things are being blown out of proportions so it doesn't take much to appear as such. :)

  11. LuvinBale says:

    So happy and relieved that Spurs won another game. Adebayor and Parker have brought this team to another level.
    ATTENTION HARRY REDKNAPP: having competent strikers = goals a plenty!

    As for Gareth Bales goal- BRILLIANT!! Even more brilliant was a tumble he took in the second half where basically he looked like he was offering his goods for EVERYONE'S perusal. I stopped and rewinded 3 times. :-)

    I dont know why this boy gets me worked up but DAMN he is fine!

  12. GigiSantaCruz says:

    Awwwwwwwww, the Giovinco and Gobbi's photo!!! For a moment there I thought I had seen a tender moment between daddy panda and its bubba!!! LOL

  13. Miss Lampard says:

    Proud of Nando, he's still pure MAGIC and I don't care about the red car…Distressed for my little boy Frankie, it's hard seeing him sitting on the bench, but in I imagine that I can't have all..

  14. Gladys says:

    And congrats to Roma, too!! (That'll teach me to criticize Osvaldo's "male bun" – he actually looks pretty hot in that celebration photo.)

  15. Rossanera says:

    Relieved Milan finally won again, happy Inter is languishing near the relegation zone, happy the Serie A is so unpredictable because that's what makes it fun to watch. You didn't cover MLS, Kickette, but I was at the Chicago Fire/NE Revolution game yesterday – the Revs were eliminated from playoff contention and I swear Benny Feilhaber looked so dejected when he walked off the pitch I wanted to cry for him. He was also kind enough to give me this photo op: http://calcio-nel-cuore.tumblr.com/post/106759094…

    … so thanks, Benny.

    • April says:

      Oh Benny… he didn't have a very good game yesterday though. He's typically been quite good for them, but his passes were pushed too far forward at some key moments and he gave up the ball a few times. Just an off day for him, and the team overall. Tierney is losing some of his magic a bit too (some good crosses, but regular play hasn't been as good the second half of the season). Injuries haven't helped, and Caraglio looks like he is running with lead feet. Lpve seeing Fagundez out there though… love that kid. All of 16 and pushing around the big boys.

      I have no idea what transfer policy there is for Benny (since he hasnt been brought back to the US team), but if he is free to go after this season, I sure hope he doesn't leave and sticks around with the team to have at it next season. They were starting to make progress.. they just need some stronger defense to stop giving up goals.

      • Rossanera says:

        Were you there, too? Or did you just watch on TV? I did think they were off – Matt Reis was TERRIBLE. Also, because we were so close to the pitch I could literally hear everything that was said. Chris Tierney needs to look up the definition of sportsmanship. I am totally turned off by him now. Positives: DIEGO FAGUNDEZ. Little firecracker (and I mean that literally. He's TINY!) My favourite moment was seeing him jump up like a puppy to grab the ball from the keeper's hands and him waving it away… my bestie and I were like, did that just happen?

        My other thought is (and I'm sure this will upset some people): the quality of play in the MLS does not even come close to that of European football. Maybe we are biased (I am Italian and my bestie, who was at the game with me, is Argentine) but we definitely noticed the disparity. It's unfortunate, because the MLS was really growing for a while there, but I just found that everything yesterday just came up short.

        • Audrey says:

          This is probably going to sound like an upset reply, but it isn't, really. It's a frustrated one.
          Of course MLS is not as good as the big Euro leagues. No one says it is. And it isn't expected to be. MLS is 16 years old! It's just a baby.
          But it is not as bad as you're making it out to be. MLS is stil growing, but it's made a lot of progress. Look at the CCL, and how MLS teams are starting to beat FMF teams… in Mexico. It took a long time, but that's how growth works. The salary cap is expanding each year, the DP rules are being adjusted… better players are coming, and are staying. A lot of young Americans go to Scandanavian leagues, not because they're better than MLS, but because the pay is. That's starting to change.
          And finally. You were watching Chicago and New England. They are in 14th and 17th respectively (out of 18 teams). 14th vs 17th in any league is not likely to be the highest quality game.

          • Rossanera says:

            Everything you said is true, it's just frustrating to see that growth is so slow. Also, I should point out that I've been to several MLS matches – one of my good friends is an MLS WAG (I won't say whose, LOL) and I've seen several different teams play, so I'm not basing my opinion on that match alone. Perhaps yesterday just really reinforced it.

        • April says:

          Watched on TV (thank goodness for Tivo!)… had to be tough to see in person! I try to record all of their games and keep up with them, but getting down to Foxboro is annoying without a car, so I haven't yet seen them play in person this season. Was Chris talking sh*t? Normally he is a level-headed type and pretty even-keeled about things, but he just hasn't been making runs and things the way he did earlier on. And I LOVE Fagundez… excited to see him grow as a player and represent the US, too! He is smaller but manages to keep up with the physical game… loved his tackle and then his little push after he was tripped. I liken him to a young Torres, but I think he idolizes Ronaldo or something like that.

          It's true, the MLS really isn't up at the same level as European ball, and I am not sure it ever will be or needs to be (how's that for stirring up the pot?). It's not that it can't or shouldn't, but having different styles across leagues is something I like. I think you can categorize a lot of leagues by their style. I also think that the MLS focuses much more on the physical end of the game, rather than the technical and tactical side. It's a pretty American approach to things, so I guess it doesn't surprise me much. There is the stigma in the States that soccer is a sport for sissies, so I think they feel the need to combat that with physical matches.

          Another big difference is entrance into the sport. We value sports through education, meaning collegiate sports are really the focus. Here, you don't really see young contracts and youth teams that have kids taking special classes or getting tutored outside of regular schooling… but that is par for the course for other footballing nations. There was uproar over Fagundez's signing for that very reason, and because he is taking night classes so he can work during the day. I think if the NCAA wasn't so influential in professional sports leagues here, we'd see a much more comprehensive set of skills in the MLS. But then, I love me some college sports!

          • Rossanera says:

            Re: Chris, he was just … I don't know, belligerent. I actually did notice that yesterday's game was really physical and there were so few fouls called, and there was no "diving." Interesting to watch.

            You've given me some insight I really appreciate. I hadn't thought of the difference in youth development and the cultural aspect of things (mainly because football is the world's game and it has its own culture, you know?) I guess my perception differs because I'm NOT American, I'm just living here temporarily, so I don't, for example, view soccer as a sport for sissies, or understand the hoopla of collegiate sports, etc., etc. But hey, that's what dialogue is for, right?

            • April says:

              Most definitely! I think it is really interesting to see how it is handled cross-culturally. In a way, I feel cheated that soccer/football isn't as big here. And who knows why it didn't get a head start early on. Maybe it was just our stubborn way of trying to be different but really still be very much like our British counterparts ;)

              Along the education note, sports always come second to academics here… from early ages, you need to excel in school here in order to make sports teams, and that results in scholarships. Here, our pro sports rarely pick up someone that hasn't been through 3-4 years of college, much less taking them right out of high school. The whole thing means we don't really train nearly as hard as most other nations until much later, and that results in a pretty late development (maybe too late to compete on a world-wide level). However, in most other countries it is totally acceptable to have a talented sportsman not go to university. Other sports also command larger scholarships to pay for school. Getting a full scholarship to pay for college through soccer is harder than, say, basketball, because it doesn't make as much money for the colleges.

              One other factor… I bet many outside of the US never realized that soccer is also viewed as more of a "privileged" sport. It's considered a bit more high-end and preppy and not so "working-class" in a lot of places, and while the costs that go into it are not all that expensive on its own, the extra training and playing of club teams can be, so it tends to be that under-privileged kids never much pick it up (I think this difference is also where we get the persona of the "soccer mom", which single-handedly causes most kids to stop playing by their teens). An article was done on the socio-economic backgrounds of the previous US player pool, and it showed a number of the guys came from upper middle class families. Even I only played soccer as a kid because my town gave me scholarships… I couldn't afford to otherwise.

              PS- College football (American) is far and away one of the best sporting environments we have… it is probably the most similar to what football (soccer) means to the rest of the world. While many here will scoff at it, I do find it to be a great sport and really appreciate both footballs :) Highly recommend it!

              Sorry for so much typing!!!!

              • Rossanera says:

                Don't apologize! I'm really enjoying this discussion but I feel badly monopolizing this thread, LOL. Do you have a twitter, or email or something else where we can move the discussion?

                • April says:

                  Okay… it's not letting me give you an email… get's deleted automagically! Let's try this here webform that I manage: http://www.thehaititeam.org/contact/

                  I'll be able to get the email and we can go from there (I know… hard to believe I am part of a lovely little NFP given my surface-level comments on most players here ;) ).

  16. Pam says:

    Hats off to Levante. It's won the last 3 matches!

    Betis and Rayo have proper fans and other Liga team supporters should learn from them in how to cheer for their teams!

    Great to see Santa Cruz scoring a brace during the mid week. Looks like the change to move from physical EPL is good for him given how injury-prone he tends to be. Hope Betis wins today and continues to play well rest of the season.

    • Gladys says:

      Couldn't agree with you more! (I'm really enjoying Betis and Levante doing so well. And so great to RSC scoring.)

    • Sarah, Madrid says:

      Rayo fans are let's say close to latino fans passionate? 75 fans were arrested in Bernabeu afterall lol.

      I love Depor fans and miss them…

  17. Kristina says:

    A manita against Athletico Madrid ain't bad:). And Leo's goals! Madre mia, they were sensational! I'm growing more and more fond of Thiago, also. He moves with such beautiful ease. And man he's HOT!

    Oh and the support for poor Ibi was touching.

    • Gladys says:

      Such an exciting game! Thiago is one of my favorites, too. The kid is just incredible (and adorable both on and off the pitch).

      The shirts for Afellay were very sweet. I'm so glad everyone is thinking of him. And though you barely notice them next to smoking hot Ibi there on the physio table, it was nice of Barca's executive staff to show their support:
      http://www.totalbarca.com/2011/news/rosell-bartom…

      • Kristina says:

        I'm happy that they are giving him so much support. Maybe he's getting special treatment because of him being a "sensitive lad", as Pep put it? He seems pretty timid.

        • JA7 says:

          The fact that he's a 'sensitive lad' makes me want to get a plane ticket to barcelona ASAP and just hold him. It's soo cute :')

  18. Hala Madrid? Halleluja Dortmund. Beating Mainz and getting over their mini crisis obviously doesn’t deserve a mention. It’s AugsbUrg, btw.

    Torres? Judas gets his groove back. Okaaay. If his groove is combined with this kind of stupidity, good luck son.

  19. Miss XOXO says:

    Nando Torres dont deserve a red card….Poor judgement by ref :-(

  20. bri_saldana says:

    STEVIE'S BACK! He only graced the pitch for 15 minutes but my heart was booming!!! I was a little disappointed that he only had a few plays w/Suarez, I think that Luis was pissed to be taken off the pitch too. But regardless I was easy to see that Stevie G was well missed, GOD I can't wait till this weekend!

    • Hot4Spurs says:

      I can't wait to see how Suarez and Gerrard will link up too! Gotta love Suarez for being that passionate about finishing the job. I thought Carroll did well also.

  21. KL7 says:

    Hala Madrid! Good to see the boys back on track. Loved seeing Kaka, Ozil, and Ronaldo playing together.Great times for all.

  22. Sarah, Madrid says:

    RAUUUUUUUUUUL! Que Grande!..I cant believe he manage to play every minute so far in Schalke game, I still miss him in Bernabeu..:(
    Betis is yet to play their this week fixture today against Getafe, the may be on their 15 points if they win today., I am loving them, we miss them in La Liga!!

    Poor Marcelo, he looks scared *sign of relief* we won, however Rayo managed to score the fastest goal in Bernabeu, the 6-2 actually don't reflect the game much ( I am not a fan of Rayo, but they did good), Now we take this moment to the UCL!!

    Valencia vs Seville 3 cards, I didn't like this game!

  23. Jill says:

    You left out in your EPL summary, Arsenal's Robin Van Persie scoring his 100th goal for Arsenal. Or will he get his own special post?