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.