December 12th, 2011
Weekend Results: Normal Service Has Been Resumed
This must be what football journos mean when they say a team ‘jubilates’ after winning. Image Credit: AP Photo/Andres Kudacki.
Missed any important action this weekend? Well, firstly you should be ashamed of yourselves, as we slaved over a hot Weekend Preview post so that wouldn’t happen.
Second, why don’t you just pop to the off-licence, purchase a bottle of their finest champers and Fed-Ex it to Kickette HQ by way of apology? While we’re checking out the quality, you can catch up with those all important results.
Aww, we’ve missed this bromance. Image: Michael Regan/Getty Images.
Manchester United put their Champions League nightmare behind them on Saturday with a comprehensive 4-1 win over Wolves. Wayne Rooney and Nani scored two each in the win, which lifts the club to within two points of Manchester City who play their game-in-hand vs. Chelsea tonight.
But the EPL threw up it’s fair share of surprises too, with Spurs losing 2-1 to Stoke City, promoted Norwich beating Europe hopefuls Newcastle 4-2 and Fulham losing 2-0 to Swansea. Liverpool squeaked past QPR 1-0 thanks to a Luis Suarez header, while Robin van Persie saved Arsenal’s blushes on their 125th anniversary with an awesome volley that some have already called the ‘Goal of the Season’.
El Clasico: A bad day at the office for Iker and his cohorts. Image: REUTERS/Sergio Perez.
No team can afford for their best player to go walkabout during their toughest, most hotly anticipated match of the season so far. To say that Real Madrid lost El Clasico because Cristiano Ronaldo failed to perform on Saturday night would be unfair on Barcelona, but it didn’t help.
Real Madrid lost the game 3-1, despite a howling error from Barca ‘keeper Victor Valdes that allowed Karim Benzema to score in the first minute. An equaliser from Alexis Sanchez on half an hour wasn’t unexpected, but the build-up and nature of Xavi’s volley early in the second half should have been a warning of worse to come for Madrid. They didn’t heed it, and by the time Cesc Fabregas’ headed in off Dani Alves’ cross and made it three, Madrid’s hopes of going six points clear at the top with a game in hand were undone.
For once, football was the winner in an El Clasico – Real Madrid’s high line in the early stages that forced Barca into the odd, uncharacteristic mistake should be mentioned, plus the fact that, aside from the odd scuffle and a ridiculous amount of rolling around on the floor by both sides, no fighting or finger-poking spoiled the view.
For us, highlights included Gerard Pique’s surprise rearguard action (in full here) and Cesc’s much improved hair situ. In fact, the bouff was so much better, we’re going to write to FIFA and ask if it could be awarded an honourable assist for the goal. There were parts of the game where we thought it performed better than certain members of the Madrid team.
While all this was going on, Valencia failed to keep pace with the top two with a 2-1 stoppage time defeat to Real Betis. Literally. Ruben Castro scored the equaliser to Jose Antonio Dorado’s 66th minute own goal at 90+1 and the winner at 90+4. This hauls Betis out of the relegation zone and Valencia just one point ahead of fourth placed Levante, who beat Sevilla 1-0.
In about two-milliseconds, conceding a goal is going to be the least of Giacomazzi Guilliermo’s problems. Image: Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images.
Juventus’ game in hand away at Roma tonight, plus AC Milan’s failure to beat struggling Bologna equals Udinese in top spot this morning after their 2-1 win over Chievo. See, Kickettes? Don’t you feel that if mathematics had been taught like that at school, you might have done better? That’s our excuse, and we’re sticking to it.
Other notable Serie A developments included Napoli suffering a Champions League inspired hangover and simultaneously handing promoted Novara their eleventh point of the season in a 1-1 draw, while Inter hauled their way up to tenth with a 2-0 victory over Fiorentina.
Meanwhile, Lecce had a brief moment of optimism after taking the lead against Lazio, only to lose the game 3-2. They remain rooted to the bottom.
Maybe we were a bit hard on Teemu Pukki last time we saw him. Is it fair to say there’s a degree of cuteness lurking beneath that curly mop? Image: AFP PHOTO / JOHN MACDOUGALL.
Breaking news from Augsburg this weekend. To celebrate their third win of the season and consequent climb to the heady heights of seventeenth in the table, we at Kickette have learned to spell their name correctly. We’re sure they’re thrilled on both counts.
Borussia Monchengladbach were their opponents and the narrow 1-0 defeat puts them in fourth, with Schalke leapfrogging them into third after a 2-1 away win over Hertha Berlin. Borussia Dortmund are in second after a 1-1 draw vs. FC Kaiserslautern and Bayern Munich reaped the benefits; their 2-1 win over Stuttgart consolidated their position as leaders.
Valenciennes’ Foued Kadir. Better at scoring goals than celebrating them, apparently.
Paris St Germain beat Auxerre 3-2 to take second on goal difference, with Montpellier hanging onto top despite a 1-0 defeat to Valenciennes. Foued Kadir (above) scored the only goal, but despite the stunning win, we’re not prepared to forgive his horrendous ‘chicken dance’ celebration. Can you imagine the dancefloor at the Valenciennes festive bash if this catches on?
Lorient fell to their first home defeat of the season vs. Lyon, although only by a margin of one. Which must have been a relief, considering what happened midweek. The bottom of the table clash between Nancy and AC Ajaccio ended 2-2, which didn’t really help anyone, although this morning Nancy will be grateful for Daniel Niculae’s last minute equaliser which earned a point. Better than nothing, boys!
Hmm…we can’t quite decide whether your choice of champagne is high quality enough for our refined taste buds. Try sending a case across instead and we’ll continue to assess.