January 30th, 2012
Weekend Results: Sitting Pretty (But Mostly Still)
Players disrespecting referees is a big problem in many European leagues. Not so much in the Bundesliga, though. Image: THOMAS KIENZLE/AFP/Getty Images.
While everyone in England was caught up in the now traditional FA Cup bicker-fest, the rest of the European Leagues had a peculiar stillness about them this weekend.
There were other talking points in the Arsenal/Aston Villa game, as Robbie Keane would like to demonstrate. Image: AFP PHOTO/IAN KINGTON.
With the FA crushing our dreams of a pathetic hand-shake face-off situ breaking out before the QPR/Chelsea game, we were worried there would be nothing to write about this morning. But there was still plenty for the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson and Alex McLeish to moan about as their respective sides were unceremoniously dumped out of the competition. Liverpool beat Manchester Utd 2-1 thanks to a late Dirk Kuyt strike – a defeat Fergie described as “sickening” – while Robin van Persie’s two penalties for Arsenal dumped Aston Villa out. Manager McLeish felt the Dutchman elbowed his way past Carlos Cuellar and has called for the FA to investigate the incident.
Chelsea eventually beat QPR 1-0, although their performance could hardly be described as thrilling, while Bolton, Norwich, and Stoke were among the other EPL sides to force their way into the next round.
An honorable mention must go to League Two’s Crawley Town, who beat Hull City 1-0 and are now the lowest placed side left in the competition. We haven’t found evidence of any nekkid worth checking out there yet, but we’re on it. We promise.
Barca fans? Does it make it easier that you were held by a team that contains the hotness of Mateo Musacchio? No? Ok. Image: Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images.
If you were to glance at the La Liga table this morning, you might think that little of note took place in the games featuring the top six clubs. However, three of the ‘em failed to pick up maximum points over the weekend, the biggest shock coming at Villarreal where second place Barcelona were held to a 0-0 draw. They are now seven points behind Real Madrid, who, despite going a goal down to Zaragoza, won the game 3-1.
Elsewhere, Valencia conceded a late equaliser to draw 2-2 with Racing Santander, while Levante lost 2-1 to Getafe. There was good news for Espanyol and Athletic Bilbao fans though, the former beating Mallorca 1-0 and the latter beating Rayo Vallecano 3-2 thanks to a Fernando Llorente hat-trick.
‘Closed-eye’ man hugs are so mid-January La Liga. We’re backing the ‘full eye contact hair grab’ (being given an early run out here by Juve’s Matri and Marchisio) to be the go-to goal celebration this February. Image: Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images Europe.
Lazio’s 3-0 victory over Chievo was enough to force them into the top four at the expense of Inter, who were surprisingly beaten 1-0 by relegation threatened Lecce. Juventus remain one point clear of AC Milan after beating title challengers Udinese 2-1, while Milan pushed Cagliari ever closer to the drop zone with a comprehensive 3-0 defeat.
Roma’s four match winning run was ended by sixteenth place Bologna, but the result of the weekend had to be the game at Genoa, where the home side almost lost a three goal lead to Napoli. Genoa were two up before half-time, Rodrigo Palacio seemingly making certain of three points with a third on seventy minutes. However, two goals in two minutes from Cavani (80) and Lavezzi (82) made for a nervous finish but Genoa hung on and are now ninth. Napoli remain seventh.
Despite a 2-0 win over Wolfsburg, Bayern Munich are still having to share the top spot with upstarts Dortmund and Schalke. In fact, pretty much everyone has had to make do with sitting still this week, with the top eleven (!) sides staying put. The only teams who shifted were Mainz, whose 3-1 win over Freiburg lifted them to twelfth, while Nuremburg, Cologne and Hertha Berlin all dropped due to defeats to Hannover, Schalke and Hamburg respectively.
Next week, we hope to have something slightly more interesting to report. Like movement.
In case you were wondering, we WILL be claiming full credit for Nolan Roux’s ‘two-goals-in-two-minutes’ debut for Lille this weekend. Our post on his pretty was clearly a confidence booster. Image: REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol.
Compared to the Bundesliga, Ligue 1 was a hive of activity this weekend, with table movement occuring as high up as fifth place. Marseille beat Rennes 2-1, which was enough to prompt a polite dosey-doe between fifth and six, while the top four all won and stayed put.
Further down, the bottom three now comprises Auxerre, who lost 3-1 to Nancy, Sochaux, who drew 1-1 with Lorient and Nice. They lost 1-0 to Montpellier; Olivier Giroud missing a penalty on the half hour mark, then snagging the points anyway via a 90th minute strike.
We think we might be in love with him. Have we mentioned that?