August 1st, 2011

Weekend Results: Wrong Place, Right Time?

Wooh! What did we win again? Image: Getty Images/Daylife.

We’re not even going to pretend we know what the hell is going on with these pre-season friendly matches now. It’s hard enough trying to keep track of fixtures when they’re safely confined to a league structure, but when squads start randomly roaming the globe and turning up in the most unexpected places, we can’t even pretend to know why or how.

So we won’t. Please enjoy a random selection of matches chosen by the Kickette staff on our ‘really, what?’ scale; a system that in previous weeks has ensured we missed at least three matches/events that you deemed more important than the ones we chose. Hooray!

Arsenal 1-1 New York Red Bulls (Emirates Cup)

Arsenal fans weren’t the only ones confused by Thierry Henry’s return to the Emirates. Image: Getty Images/Daylife.

If Arsene Wenger had somehow missed the memo regarding Arsenal fans dissatisfaction with his team’s current form, he received a sharp reminder yesterday in the form of the ‘Striker From Successes Past’. Thierry Henry returned to his former club with the New York Red Bulls for the Emirates Cup tournament, and duly scythed through Arsenal’s dodgy defence to force an own goal from youngster Kyle Bartley. This goal cancelled out Robin van Persie’s first half effort, gave the Red Bulls the points they needed to lift the trophy and prompted Arsenal fans to boo their boys off the pitch.

Couple that with an ankle injury to midfielder Jack Wilshere, and you have what we would consider to be ideal preparation for the new EPL season. Not.

Your move, Arsene.


Leicester City 1-2 Real Madrid

Are you suddenly overwhelmed with a desire to visit Leicester? Us too. Stay right there, Jese Rodriguez. Image: Reuters/Daylife.

And so from the sublime to the ridiculous. Quite how the footballing juggernaut that is Real Madrid found itself pulling into Leicester is beyond us (we’re going to pretend that a £2million payment was not involved, as it seems less romantic), but unlike most pre-season friendlies in which the ‘big’ boys field a team of U17′s, Real entered into the spirit of things and a number of their big names put in an appearance.

Oh, to be a Leicester fan, and to see the likes of Karim Benzema, The Ramos™, Cristiano Ronaldo and Xabi Alonso running about in the King Power Stadium. Were any of you there? Were you proud that your boys largely held their own against a side worth about a gazillion pounds? Were Jese Rodriguez’ abs as hot in real life as they appear to be in the above picture?

We should be told.


Manchester United 2-1 Barcelona

We’re liking the new United shirt; it was very thoughtful of the designers to incorporate a sweat activated ’ab panel’ on the front. Image: Getty Images/Daylife.

Was it because it was a pre-season friendly that this result seems horribly unimportant in the great scheme of things? Maybe it’s because the game was played in Maryland; far away from both teams’ spiritual homes. Perhaps it’s as simple as the fact that Lionel Messi was playing in another competition and he is such a force for the Catalans that any loss is mitigated by his absence.

We don’t know. It’s great for United fans in that their side have scored twenty goals in five pre-season games, but we don’t think Alex Ferguson will be claiming any great shift in footballing global dominance after this. We all know that when it mattered, Barcelona performed and wiped the floor with the Red Devils.

Will they do it again this season? It won’t be long until we get to find out now, will it?


Chelsea 2-0 Aston Villa (Asian Trophy)

To round off our geographically whack rundown, let’s travel to Hong Kong, where Chelsea beat Aston Villa 2-0 in the Asia Trophy final. Bewildered? Nah, because the most important news to come out of this fixture is that the second Chelsea goal came via the twinkly boot of Fernando Torres – a man for whom the term ‘striker’ has become more of a burden than a position lately.

Having spent the entirity of Chelsea’s tour of Asia being criticised for a lack of form, Torres showed impeccable timing to score  for the club, doubing the lead supplied by Josh McEachran in the second minute of the game, and offer hope to Blues fans despairing over their £50million kid.

Let’s hope he doesn’t wait another three months before scoring the next.

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76 Responses to “Weekend Results: Wrong Place, Right Time?”

  1. mar210 says:

    Dear Kickette-

    Many of your loyal readers are increasingly annoyed every time you criticize Nando (basically every time you have mentioned him since he transferred to Chelsea). It is clear that he gives it his all and the media outlets unfairly harp all over him and you're one of them! Be nice to the boy; he is dearly loved on this site. Enough of the Nando bashing please!

  2. cescysisexy says:

    Best experience of my LIFE. ohmyGoddd.
    They all looked GREAT<3
    also i have a picture ronaldo standing on the field with his hands on hips and him staring down on his crotch. But then again..that's normal :)

  3. Agnes Wonka says:

    once again Man.Utd is showing they're above all other EPL teams!

  4. cometorachel says:

    Kickette, you forgot somebody that one or two Leicester fans may have wanted to see. Iker Casillas was also playing in the Leicester – RM game.

  5. bri_saldana says:

    I'm not an Arsenal supporter but every time I think of the loyalty/brilliance of Henry my heart just swells! I love that man and the love he has for this club. I feel awful for Arsenal's situation right now; I know Henry does too. AND speaking of sad…I'M STILL HEARTBROKEN ABOUT FER! It's good to hear he's smiling again :(

  6. numero nueve says:


  7. doug says:

    Arsenal just don't look like they'll pull off a top 4 finish if Cesc and Nasri go away. ManU has been a monster, City has too much talent, and Chelsea hasn't looked this good in a long time. Tottenham can probably pull it off.

    By the way, although it probably felt like a victory NYRB actually TIED Arsenal 1-1. It's hard to tell just how good MLS teams are, btw. But they're not EPL material. Yes, you see your West Brom losing at San Jose and squeaking by Portland, but West Brom isn't fit yet and they were on the road. Everton did lose to, what, Philly, but most of these pre-season comparisons can't be made. Clearly the best MSL teams are in the Championship category, maybe high up.

  8. ChristinaLFP says:

    be careful ladies. Jese is a castilla player. a.k.a. jail bait

  9. MissEstonia says:

    I was at the United-Barca match, it was actually a GREAT match! The stadium was sold out-81,000 fans! I am a furiously loyal United supporter and let me tell you, it didn't matter that this was a friendly. Every time United got the ball and started making a run for the goal, my heart was beating just as badly as it was during the Champions League final. And honestly, the way United played, it wasn't just a half-arsed effort to show the Yankee fans a little bit about football…our players worked HARD! And it wasn't the Rooneys and Giggs'es of the team that really put forth the most effort and best performances (though, don't get me wrong, I love both to DEATH!).

    • MissEstonia says:

      It was Rafael (AMAZING! There was literally nothing that could get past him!), Vidic (always the rock of our defense), and De Gea who really made the difference. Johnny Evans as well, our defense was so strong. The goal was only scored because Sir Alex played Giggs in a VERY weird position, where he was frequently defending (and, forgive me and with all due respect, doing an absolutely CR*P job of it), had it been Vida standign there, there would have been no chance that the ball would've gone through. So it was way more than a pre-season friendly in that it showed some very promising play for the upcoming season. I like that Welbeck was incorporated as well, he did a great job! AND Michael Owen finally made chances for himself to score, hopefully he keeps that up durin the upcoming season. All in all, it was amazing. And the training session was amazing, especially cause I received a cheeky smile from Michael Owen AND had the pleasure of watching Patrice Evra sweat his sexy little bum off right in front of my section of the stands. Oooh, la la! :)

  10. LuvinBale says:

    I only got to watch the Barca v Man Utd game. It was ok- but the attendant was 80,000 people!! 80,000!! That’s insane. I don’t know why people say that Americans don’t like football- I think that game process them.

    I was at the Philly Union v Real Madrid and that was over 60,000 people. the game again was ok but it’s the atmosphere and the chanting and of course Cristiano, Kaka and Benzema. I can’t belive u was that close!!
    Ahhhh. To much sexy in one place.

    I love all the random preseason games- Its the only time the US gets to see such amazing games and all these wonderful players up close.
    Cant wait for the new season!

  11. Kat22 says:

    It would seem that Fernando just can't win.

    When he doesn't score, everybody is on his back, ridiculing him, saying he's past his best etc.

    Now he has scored and yet everyone seems to be on his case again, saying that it's only a friendly, that the goal was lucky and that he needs to do way more to justify his price tag.

    • AC_USA says:

      Exactly!Ugh people can be so cruel, I swear! Its not like he forgot how to score. You learn once, you are set for life. He just needs to boost up his self confidence a bit and go at it. Nando will be back! Same goes for Dzeko! :)

      • Kat22 says:

        I think you're right and it's all down to confidence at this point. Yes, he may have struggled initially because of injuries etc, but then he seemed to be seriously doubting his abilities at times.
        And who can blame him? It seems like the British press constantly focuses on him before and after every match. You'd think he's the only player on the pitch!

    • Maria says:

      Yeah, there's a snide remark every other Kickette post about him.

  12. AC_USA says:

    My blue man(Man. Vity) won the Dublin Cup and beat Inter 3-0! That should be mentioned too :) )) And my man Dzeko scored 2 goals(ref though unfairly dissallowed one :( ) I am relly happy for Torres too…the man is a beast and he just needs a little confidence to start scoring again :)

  13. Lotte says:

    Congrats to Man U! (I can say that now when it's pre-season and all;)). And yay for Nando scoring!

    I didn't get to see any of the games though, but I did see Pep's post-game pressconference and that did it for me. How is it that this cool, sexy, handsome guy all of a sudden becomes too adorkable for words? His english is improving, but still bad enough to make me go "aaawwww"! "I'm so so so so happy with the result" he said. Well I'm so so so so so happy that I will soon see yo on a weekly basis, Mr Guardiola.

  14. EspePique says:

    Nando has now won more trophies with Chelsea than he did in his whole career at Liverpool.

  15. xoWinnie says:

    i agree with Kickette,
    pre-season matches are all good,
    but one often needs a break from the trauma
    and stress of the structured league seasons.
    i will go back to being a raging bitch/big ball of anxiety
    once those matches commence.

  16. IrishBlue says:

    Can't wait for the start of the season!!!

    Yes yes I KNOW it was a preseason match AND it was against a poor Villa side AND it doesn't really have any effect on anything BUT any goal Nando scores is bound to be confidence buliding for him so that makes me happy and that will be that.

    • DebS says:

      It was a great goal too. Excellent cross from Malouda and perfect one touch finish by Nando! So glad to see him get a bit of his swag back. :)

  17. Mani says:

    I have a new found respect for ManU fans after the game on Saturday. Before, during, and after everyone was so respectful. Ahhhh maybe it was just because it was a friendly or whatever it was it was much appreciated. I didn't even mind riding on crowded metro trains or Barca losing lol. LOVELY atmosphere Saturday night. Simply lovely.

    • Jules says:

      I don’t know where you were in the stadium but I had an entirely different experience than you. Every time I went anywhere without my fiancé, frat boys would attempt to pick a fight with me and then catcall me. It wasn’t a majority but the bar I frequent to watch Barca games in NY has loads of Man Utd supporters who are lovely so I was fairly surprised.

      • Mani says:

        I was on the suite level(231) so maybe that's why or maybe it was because they were frat boys who had nothing better to do with their lives other than harass people. :)

        • Jules says:

          Ah, we were down the hall from you (239). The frat boys were everywhere from the loos to the concession stands to the walk back to the hotel. They were easily identifiable by the frequent “dude” and “bro” injected into their vocabulary and the truly amazing fake Mancunian accents that came out during chants.

    • MissEstonia says:

      Haha I agree, I was there as well. Though I did get salty with the Barca PLAYERS/referee during the match, but had an otherwise respectful and peaceful coexistence with the sea of Barca fans around me. And they did it to United in return, so it was all understood as strictly football-fandom. Though after the match I did see quite a few very angry Barcelona players in the car park, breaking glass bottles and shouting. I guess some got WAY more into the match than others…or maybe they'd just been served too much alco. But I see what you're saying about people picking fights; I was at the training session and was laughing at/applauding a guy that had worn a Real Madrid shirt (I'm a Madrid fan, needless to say I do not "like" Barcelona the least. And that's me putting it nicely) just because it was really funny, and this dude next to me got so pissed that he stood up out of his seat and started shouting at me about Kaka! HAHA! I was like, babe, this is a training session. Slow down. It'll be ok. Hahahaha!

      • DebS says:

        During the Madrid game, they showed a shot of a kid in a Barca shirt. The commentator says, "now that's a brave kid!" Bet he was cheering for Leicester, no? :p

        • Jules says:

          There was a guy wearing a Real Madrid Figo jersey at the match on Saturday. That took some nerve.

  18. Audrey says:

    I didn't want NY playing in the Emirates, what with it being midseason and NY kind of struggling, but if they were going to play I wanted them to win. I was happy they did. Now if only they could win a domestic trophy!
    And the color commentator during the NY/Arsenal game was so obnoxious and dismissive of the Red Bulls and of MLS in its entirety, I really wanted to slap him. I was so happy that NY shut him up–literally; he did not say another word for the rest of the game after NY scored.
    I mean, when the score was 0-0 he was going on about how "there's a huge gulf in quality between these two sides" despite neither team playing particularly well; and after one misplaced pass by Tim Ream he said "well, there's a reason these players are in the MLS"; then he declared the game won with 10 minutes left because "this MLS side frankly isn't very good."
    Let's recap, shall we, Mr. Scottish Commentator? NY 4 points. PSG 3 points. Arsenal 2 points. Boca 1 point.

    • April says:

      Ugh- I hadn't watched the full game and didn't have the volume up to hear this, but that is interesting considering that the part of the game I did watch showed that it was, in fact, Arsenal that was lagging. Other EPL teams demolished our MLS teams (to be expected… we know the league isn't as good, it's quite a few years behind in age), but Arsenal appeared to struggle from the start. They also need to consider the vast difference in the economy of the sport. We can't afford the best foreigners because all of our sporting money goes to the big 3 in American-supported sports. That is like asking the BBL to come play our NBA teams.

      Glad one of our teams could get this commentator to remember that "on any given Sunday…" (sorry for the American sports reference there).

  19. Cay says:

    As much as I love my hometown NY Red Bulls, I grew up supporting Arsenal, and the fact that they couldn't beat an MLS side–an MLS side that, had Henry been slightly more on-target earlier on, could have won–makes me more than a little bit nervous about the upcoming season.

    I'm not sad that RBNY tied them by any means–and for an MLS team to cross the pond and actually win a trophy is something–but you're scaring me a bit, Gunners.

  20. Hot4Spurs says:

    I am so ready for the season to begin! I can't wait to see how ManU, Man City, Liverpool, and Spurs turn out as I think they'll end up top 4.

    • xoWinnie says:

      LOL! i just choked on a soda cracker.

      god help us all if those teams take the top four.

      • Hot4Spurs says:

        What's with the thumbs down! LOL! I had to throw Spurs in there. They are my favorite! As for the other teams I mentioned, I make no apologies. Laugh now, but they will probably start strong and finish strong.

        • xoWinnie says:

          lol believe me, i didn't thumb you down,
          i just disagree with your prediction,
          especially seeing as you didn't mention any of my top teams :P

          maybe people are just Spurs haters?

          • Hot4Spurs says:

            OMG! I forgot to mention Chelsea! How dare I? I coud really do without Man City so I'll replace them by listing Chelsea.

            • cityyyy_girl says:

              we will beat you again this year and next and next ………….you should just replace spurs with arsenal..

              • Hot4Spurs says:

                Good Lord City Girl! Hell No! I would say that would be just as wrong as a brother and sister sleeping together! LOL! If I recall correctly Spurs beat Arsenal in the first match last season and there was a draw in the second. Sure, Assenal (yes I spelled it that way on purpose) finshed better in the table, but I will always LOVE my Spurs! COYS! Never Arsenal!

            • IrishBlue says:

              How could you forget Chelsea?!?!?!? :O

    • mar210 says:

      I really don't think Tottenham will make top 4. They have been inactive so far this summer in the transfer window while the City, Man U, Liverpool, Chelsea and Everton who are hot on the Spurs' heels have made good signings so far. You have to spend big to make to 4. After all Redknapp did infamously say that last season was "the best it was gonna get". Any manager going into a fresh season with that mindset has already set himself up for failure.

  21. Miss Lampard says:

    Good week for 2 reasons:
    1) My beloved team, Chelsea, won, and I think that things are moving in the right direction finally! Also I've seen a little of that marvellous Nando, from his best moment, and hope that he's finally following the right way to come back stronger than ever. I think that he really deserves it, after all, and after these dark moments.
    2) Happy Happy I saw a magical man in Fina Swim Championship in Shaghai, breathless for this incredible American man, from Daytona, I'm so in love with him…
    Proud of him, cause' I've followed him since the Olympics in 2008!

  22. linvinnaar says:

    That Man Utd – Barcelona game only proves one thing: Man Utd's first team (including Michael Owen of course because Fergie's "not so smart" like that) are only capable of beating Barcelona's…. B Team.


    • Amber says:

      Not to be picky but since when is Iniesta, Villa, Thiago, Valdez, Pedro, and Busquets Barcelona's B team? Barcelona fielded six of the same starters as the CL Final compared to Man Utd's three. The B team excuse is played out. I am in no way trying to attack you, but I just think the excuse is baseless.

      The thing is that it is just a Friendly, Just a Friendly. Nothing needs to be read into it. Being a Man Utd fan and having been at the game, I have enough sense to realize that. Just because we won does NOT mean that we should have won the CL or that we are all the sudden better than Barcelona. The game was just a pre-season friendly.

      • PepaCandela says:

        some were playing out of position and without Messi, Xavi, Alves, Pique, Puyol, Masche…. I don't think it's right to say b team, but it wasn't even close to being the as competitive a side as Barca could put together (same for mufc, of course). and by "B team"….it's literally the players from Barca B, which is a little different than saying mufc used a lot of first-team subs. most of the guys playing at the end of the second half are not even on Barca's first team. so I don't agree with the tone of the original post, but this may have been what she was getting at.

        but like you said, it's a friendly and it was all good. MUFC won outright and their fans were gracious in victory, so there is no need for smack-talk at all!!!! I was there and have to tip my hat to what appeared to be the local MUFC supporter's club, who did a much better job of organizing their fans than anything Barca put together (is there a DC penya?). the atmosphere in the stands was great, seemed about 50/50 with all fans mixed in together and everyone having a great time. wonderful experience, regardless of the scoreline.

        we could only be so lucky if this ends up being the matchup for next year's CL final, right?

        • MissEstonia says:

          I like your post! It makes me happy. :) I am a United fan and I was there. Unfortunately I seemed to have been stuck in the "we are Barca 'fans' though we still think Bojan plays for us!" section. Don't know how that happened, but their faces were all sour when I was jumping up and down for Michael Owen's winner! Anyway, I was just mega impressed with the turnout, there were loads and loads of actual Manchester-ians out there. I think it's all the ex-pats that live in the US! It was so awesome.

          • PepaCandela says:

            Yeah, that MUFC group that took up most of the lower-level section directly behind the goal where Nani scored…they were legit. They stayed for a solid half-hour after the game chanting away even though the stadium was nearly empty.

            And I hear you- one of the Barca "fans" sitting around me didn't know who Thiago was. But I think there was a lot of that from both sides, casual fans who just sort of picked a team on their way in. Really, that's who games like these are trying to attract to the sport in the end.

          • DebS says:

            How exciting to be able to see it in person! They said the tickets sold out very quickly and that there were 80K + in attendance.

            It was great to see a couple people with a Rio "stay on your feet" shirts in the stands! lol

            • MissEstonia says:

              I saw those too! Haha! It was amazing to be there in person, the atmosphere was amazing

    • Yo. says:

      Barcelona had more players from the Champions League final than Manchester United, so I don't get why you're trash talking them when you clearly don't know what you're talking about?

    • Giggles says:

      De Gea; Rafael (Fabio 17), Vidic (Jones 76), Evans, Evra (Smalling 46); Nani, Cleverley, Anderson (Giggs 46), Young (Obertan 62); Rooney (Owen 46), Welbeck.

      First team? Try again.

    • Mani says:

      There is a HUGE difference between B team and subs. ManU played against mostly subs.

    • MissEstonia says:

      Hahahahaha you make me laugh, linvinnaar! Do you watch football? Since when is Michael Owen in our "A" team???? HAHAHAHA! It's Rooney, silly! Wayne is a starter, but because (bless his soul and I love him dearly) he did F-ALL for us, Fergie took him out and put in Owen, who does not get to play as often as Rooney does. Voila. Results. Also, tell me, since you are some kind of expert A-Team B-Team analyist, since when are Gabriel Obertan, Danny Welbeck, and David de Gea first-teamers? Umm, they're not. And also, Rafael=not on the same ranks as Iniesta and Xabi, yet he was shutting them down repeatedly. Explain your "embarrassing" logic to me on that one. The only truly big staple stars that were out there for us were Vidic, Giggs, Rooney, and Nani. And none of those players played the entire match.

    • ..... says:

      i soo agree with u but without messi bercelona aint thaaat good like messi makes them much much better

    • DebS says:

      spoken by a true Barca fan. When I was watching the game, I just knew that Barca fans would use this as an excuse. Did you not notice that United also played a good number of non-starters? Heck even Nani doesn't start all the time and he was man of the match imo.

      But well done to Thiago. That kid is an amazing goal scorer.

  23. Sarah, Madrid says:

    Mou take his game seriously and he wants the new signing to adapt to our style, that's why the big guns are used, boys were very relaxed playing, which I support since friendlies no need for injuries.
    I still dont get the constant booing for Cris in every place he goes, no-wonder he looked like he didnt want be there and played like it.

    and yeah! This pre-season it is all about Benz, to boost his confidence that's it.

    • Lotte says:

      As cule as I am, I don't understand the booing either. If he ever was a diving diva I really don't think he is now.

      • xoWinnie says:

        people just like to hold grudges.
        he's developed enough of a thick skin to brush it off
        but i imagine it must be aggravating. poor thing…

        that's the thing with Cris. when people like him, they love him.
        when they don't, they REALLY hate him.

    • Catie2838 says:

      Not in the US. Every game I saw RM play had constant cheering for Cris when he was on the field. He would blink and people would scream, the commentators would giggle and comment. Pure C-Ron love. At the game in San Diego against Chivas de Guadalajara, some peeps had like a 7 foot tall pic of him. So he's got some love somewhere!

      • Sarah, Madrid says:

        Yeah, a friend who went told me the Same. Yes, that's Great. I love it, it's suppose to be like since it's friendlies, the point of these game beside of the technical aspect for coaches, it's about enjoying the talent of certain players, cris happens to be one of them. Booing seems not to fit these games, this is what I meant :)

  24. footballandme says:

    Torres needs to do a whole lot more then score a VERY fortunate goal in a Pre Season game against a not fully fit and ready Villa team.

    I'm sorry to say but his £50million tag is about as justified as MP's expenses.

  25. Victoria says:

    Actually, kickette, it was Fernando's third goal for Chelsea, he already scored in preseason before.

    • Kelly D says:

      Yup! But his goal this weekend was the team’s 2nd goal in that particular match. Cheers x

    • Caitlin says:

      Where does kickette state that this was only Fernando's second goal?

      It clearly says "…that the second Chelsea goal came via the twinkly boot of Fernando Torres…". Not HIS second goal, but the second goal of the game!

      It further says "…doubling the lead supplied by Josh McEachran…"

    • April says:

      The sad thing is that it wouldn't be the first place to say this. Lots of people and the media were reporting it was only the first goal since last season. I kept thinking "I could have sworn there was some talk of a goal in one of the first pre-season games". Glad to see some people remember it!

  26. Zan says:

    just a quick correction! The first goal of Real Madrid vs. Leicester was scored by Jose Callejon, not Jese Rodriguez! : )

    • Kelly says:

      We hit ‘publish’ with one eye still safely concealed under our therapeutic sleep masks. Have amended thnx to your catch x

  27. backoffmyNando says:

    I'm so proud of Nando! The commentators said, "I haven't seen him smile like that in months." *sigh* Let's hope this good streak continues.

    • Thea says:

      THe season has not even started yet!!!!!! How can you guys even allow yourselves to get excited yet?

      • Caitlin says:

        My sentiment exactly! One swallow doesn't make a summer.

        All this talk about him getting the Golden Boot this year is just a tad premature I think…

      • Yo. says:

        Obviously you don't know what the pre-season is all about. The pre-season matches are about letting your new and old players get together and "practise". So for Nando to perform well now is a good indicator for the following matches to come.

        I'm not a Chelsea supporter in anyway, but if he's performing good now, it's a pretty good sign and people have the right to be excited.

      • xoWinnie says:

        he's starting the pre-season well.
        it's a good sign. not everyone is as pessimistic as you.