Monday, February 26, 2007

Football Monday

It was another interesting weekend in the world of football, particularly on the European continent. In England, Chelsea won the first of its hoped-for four trophies as it beat a young Arsenal squad for the Carling Cup. John Terry, who all of a sudden is made of glass, is injured again, and there was a big fight. Welcome to English football.

The Premiership held games as well this weekend, the lowlight for me being the 4-0 slaughtering of my Sheffield United at the hands of a clearly in-form Liverpool. Sheff coach Neil Warnock can bitch all he wants about Steven Gerard diving, but the truth is, when you lose 4-0 you have just been whipped. You have no one to blame but yourself. ESPN’s Jon Carter has an intelligent look at how the last few weeks of the premiership should play out, and makes some reasonable guesses about who stays up and who goes down. I hope he’s right about Sheffield United, and if so, sorry West Ham. Fortune’s Always Hiding indeed.

Also of interest is this report of Manchester United’s win on Saturday. The writer reports, with admirable honesty, that Christiano Ronaldo has clearly surpassed Wayne Rooney as a footballer and asks if Rooney might not be quite a bit over-hyped. Manchester should have an interesting summer.

In Italy, Inter, Milan and Fiorentina all won this weekend, creating a crowd at the top. There should be a genuinely interesting (and fun) dogfight for those top four spots. In this weekend’s games Inter scored a ton of goals (five) while Milan scored one, but won. Milan’s game was particularly interesting; after playing wonderfully last week, Ronaldo was back to his sluggish, no-defense self, and the commentators immediately started in on his weight again. Will the big guy end up as the angel or the devil in Milan?

In Spain, there was a derby in Madrid while Barcelona witnessed the return of Samuel Eto’o, meaning the that along with the Police, another famous power trio was getting back together: Eto’o, Messi, and Ronaldinho were finally back on the same field again. Uncoincidently, Barca won and stayed two points up in the league. The great Phil Ball has it all here:

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