January 17th, 2011
Weekend Results: The Eyes Have It
Hands up if you want to appear naked in the Kickette 2011 Calender, please. Ahem. (Getty Images/Zimbio)
For those of us who spent Sunday gathered around the television in anticipation of the ‘Most Exciting Day of Football Since Records Began™’, derby day in the EPL proved to be something of a damp squib. Apparently, we should have been watching on Saturday where excitement and intrigue abounded.
But we were shopping. Duh. If the authorities could sort it out so our entertainment is not impeded by our pathological need to acquire goods, we would be happy.
In the meantime, here are the European highlights in full, for those of you also beholden to consumerism. We love you, you see.
A goal difference of plus six and two games in hand separate the two halves of Manchester this morning. City’s entertaining 4-3 victory over Wolves was arguably the pick of the games; Wolves putting up a valiant fight against the rich boys but two goals from Carlos Tevez and one each from the brothers Toure were the difference on the day.
United, meanwhile managed to hang on to 0-0 with ten men in their Sunday afternoon fixture vs. Spurs; Rafael once again allowing his temper to get the better of him (left) after receiving two yellow cards. The two points lost could prove to be crucial in the title race for United but not as crucial as those two games in hand might be. We shall see. (Getty Images/Zimbio)
Just two points behind the leaders are Arsenal, who dismantled troubled West Ham with ease on Saturday afternoon, with two goals from Robin Van Persie and one from Theo Walcott making the difference. Despite his sacking having been predicted by almost every sports commentator in the English speaking world in the last few weeks, Avram Grant remains at the West Ham helm. He is pleased (left). (Getty Images/Zimbio)
West Bromwich vs. Blackpool also proved to be an eye catching fixture, if only because our new favourite Good Samaritan Peter Odemwingie scored the winner for the Baggies. Chelsea hauled themselves back into the title race with a 2-0 win over Blackburn Rovers, while Liverpool and Everton drew 2-2 in the Merseyside derby and Sunderland nicked a 1-1 draw in the Tyne/Wear clash.
Hopefully you weren’t relying on the ‘Second City’ derby for some excitement on your day of rest; Birmingham vs. Aston Villa finished 1-1 too. Yawn.
Far more interesting is the staring contest taking place in La Liga this season, and it’s Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid who find themselves reaching for the eyedrops this Monday morning. A surprise 1-1 draw away at bottom placed Almeria saw Real drop two valuable points, while imperious Barcelona thrashed Malaga 4-1 with goals from Iniesta, David Villa (2) and Pedrito. Pep’s boys also broke a record in La Liga; the most points at the halfway stage of the season since er… Barcelona, two years ago.
A mere nine points behind but still within shouting distance, Villarreal beat Osasuna 4-2, while fourth placed Valencia also won, a 2-0 win over Deportivo La Coruna taking them to thirty-seven points and inspiring Pablo Hernandez to take his clothes off (left). Excellent! (AP Photo/Daylife)
Borussia Dortmund continued their march toward the Bundesliga title with a 3-1 win over fourth placed Bayer Leverkusen, giving themselves a twelve point cushion over closest rivals Hannover 96. Hannover beat Eintracht Frankfurt 3-0 but third placed Mainz slipped up, losing 1-0 away to Stuttgart.
Meanwhile, Bayern Munich failed to win at Wolfsburg, an early Thomas Mueller goal cancelled out by a Sascha Riether strike on eighty six minutes. Schalke also suffered a blip; their 1-0 loss at home to Hamburg coming by way of a Ruud Van Nistelrooy goal. Schalke are now eleventh, while Hamburg are eighth.
A 1-1 away draw at Lecce was sufficient to give AC Milan’s rivals hope, but Napoli failed to capitalise on the leaders’ misstep, drawing 0-0 at Fiorentina. This meant that Lazio were able to draw level on thirty seven points, having beaten Sampdoria 1-0.
Juventus’ 2-1 win over Bari came courtesy of goals from Alessandro Del Piero and Alberto Aquilani and a yellow card for Kickette soldier boy-bait Fredrik Sørensen (left). Inter Milan continued their resurgence under new(ish) manager Leonardo with a 4-1 win over Bologna. They are now in sixth place but with two games in hand over their rivals. Meanwhile, Roma squeaked a 1-0 win over Cesena due to a ninetieth minute own goal by the magnificently monikered Maximiliano Pellegrino. Woot! (Getty Images/Daylife)
A team with their eyes wide open to the realities of topping the table are Lille, (Eden Hazard, left) whose 2-0 win over Nice gave them a handy one point margin over Paris St Germain after the winter break. PSG kept up the pressure with a 2-1 win over eleventh placed Sochaux, but with Rennes and Lyon also on thirty-four points, they cannot afford to take their eyes off the ball. (Enough ‘witty’ references to eyes? Oh, ok.)
Also, Arles-Avignon lost. Quelle surprise. (Reuters/Daylife)
Were you there? Did you see, Kickettes?