European Football: A Weekend Round Up

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European Football: A Weekend Round Up

 A mighty, mighty weekend of football.

 

EPL

 

Manchester United's lead cut back down to three, can Chelsea pip the champions at the post? Are Arsenal out of the picture?

Is it in fact time the many doubters rolled up to St James's Park, and begged forgiveness from the very brilliant, starting to believe in himself, attacking god that is Kevin Keegan?

Of note, after two semi finals in the FA Cup at Wembley Stadium so dull, you'd think the England national team were in town, we saw Portsmouth and Cardiff going through to the FA Cup final, bizarre, although Cardiff's goal was of some relief. Shame, that to pay for Wembley, the semi finals have to be played at Wembley.

In the Premier League, Middlesbrough versus Man Utd, an exciting game at last, this is what we want. For United, Vidic was a huge loss, in a game where either team could have won.

Gareth Southgate, again gets a result against the top four, how does he do it?

Southgate plays three forwards pinning the opposition back, however it does leave you open, wide open, but the man does not give an inch, including holding his own in a verbal clash with the big bully that is Alex Ferguson.

Rio Ferdinand to miss Champions League game against Roma, the partnership Man United's success has been built this season of, Ferdinand and Vidic a la Stam/Johnson, Pallister/Bruce, has been cut down in just two games.

Liverpool, Rafa intent to draw, considering he has lost every other game at Arsenal's new stadium. Crouch hits 20 yarder shock, where did he get that power?

Arsenal, each fan slowly but surely getting frustrated with Professor Wenger. Forget the obvious points for this, lack of team spirit (Walcott was the only soul to celebrate with Benter), taking an age to get playing, having to come from behind once more, and a huge lack of atmosphere at the Emirates.

The main reason they should have a grievance, and if it isn't, it should be, Wenger had the chance in January to strengthen the squad, and for some reason he chose not to, and only he will ever know why, but what is clear his team are very much paying for it now.

In the era of super squads, like Chelsea, and Man Utd, Wenger would have us believe, Arsenal are a team who made a profit from transfers last summer, and are the fifth richest club in the world, should not and cannot compete in the era of big wages.

However, some would say the man is taking a stand he is cut from a different cloth. In the financial global market that is modern football, the man likes to mould and shape his players and his team, a man for the ages who does not like to spend big, either on known stars or unknown players.

However, the frustration coming through, is that fans believe there should be more of a compromise. Arsenal fans won't turn on him, if they are smart, give him two more transfer windows before you cry foolish of Wenger.

On a financial note, the Emirates Stadium is very much testament to the influence Wenger has had on Arsenal, considering Man Utd can only dream of the prices Arsenal can charge and thus make from their stadium.

For example, the business suites at the Emirates alone, bring in more money, than one game that took place at Highbury, for Arsenal can charge London prices.

 

Bundesliga

 

Bayern Munich, went nine points clear at the weekend, they are over the horizon champagne on ice. A tough game, 1-0 down in five minutes, Van Bommel sent off after 35 minutes, chasing the game against a very useful and skilfull side in Bochum.

However, with some Ribery magic and hard work, they turn it around for a 3-1 victory.

A good team in a mediocre league?

This side next year will be strong, the foundations were laid so quickly of a new team it has not found its feet, also Hitzfeld's work hasn't been that good but with Klinsmann coming in next year and the addition of some more players, they will be exciting to watch.

They are on course for being the strongest defence ever to win the championship, at the moment they stand at 16 goals conceded in 26 games.

A sadder note, serious crowd trouble at the weekend, Frankfurt against Nuremberg, the match had to be stopped at one point before its conclusion. The emergence of the ultra movement in Germany is starting to worry those in the Bundesliga.

 

Serie A

 

Inter Milan, after their lead being cut to one point due to Roma's win went four points clear again after a win against Atalanta. AC Milan, saw Kaka and Inzaghi back in the side and both contributed greatly in a 3-1 victory over Cagliari, where fans protested against the proposed move in the transfer market for Shevchenko.

Walter Zenga, the great Inter goalkeeper and star of Italia 90, is now manager of Catania, in his first Serie A management role, where he won his first match 3-0 against in form Napoli.

Next weekend, Juventus versus AC Milan.

 

SPL

 

Celtic can't get it done, not even close after a loss at home by Motherwell 1-0, Rangers move nearer to championship despite drawing at the weekend 3-3 against Dundee Utd.

 

La Liga

 

Joan Laporta, "no one wants to win this league," how smart he is.

Madrid stumble, great Barca and Villarreal can get closer and whip this league up one more time. No, both teams cannot get the three points, no real shame on Villarreal's part for they were away to Sevilla but Barcelona unlucky (hit the post three times) could just not finish of Getafe, and the white flags began to wave at Camp Nou.

Barcelona, physically they are not right, emotionally not right and Rijkaard does not know what tactics are it seems as everything goes against him over the last five or six games. This all being made worse, as Joan Laporta begins to lose his cool.

Deco no matter the calls for him to leave, matters greatly to Barcelona's style of play and is very much missed, there is a lack now offered once before by roaming wing backs and things have gotten a little tighter in the large Camp Nou pitch.

If Shalke, weren't so useless in front of goal Barca would be in grave trouble come mid-week.

All in all, the three teams, Madrid, Barcelona and Villarreal, are just rubbish.

Also of note, Atlético Madrid against Almería, an amazing game final score 6-3.

Real Zaragoza, oh my it doesn't look good, how does this happen with a squad so good? They have had three coaches this year, leadership has gone, and this mainstay of La Liga clubs, could well be about to head down a division.

Of note, Manchester City and Ronaldinho surely not, inter-toto cup oh dear. Also, the idea or revelation that Ronaldinho has become a poor professional this season needs exploding, he has never been a good professional, and trained very little even in his early days at Barcelona.

The former world player of the year has become far more isolated in the great big city of Barcelona and more importantly within the first team squad, also his failings have been ever more magnified by a poor Barcelona team and a press much needing a scapegoat.

AC Milan would be like boot camp for the former world player of the year, but maybe just maybe, it could be the light at the end of the tunnel.

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