Welcome to the first off many “Monday Column” where we at 360, will be covering the big stories, results across Europe.
Barclays Premier League
The Barclays Premier League once again lived up to all the hype. Heading over to the Christmas period, the pressure was on teams to end this year on a high. Here are a few talking points from this weekend’s action-
1. Chelsea rampant : Chelsea headed into this game coming back from a disappointing trip at Japan and a midweek win over rivals Leeds United. Seeing lack of options in the center of the midfield, Rafa Benitez gave David Luiz another run-in partnered by Frank Lampard who made his 500th appearance for the club. It was one of those days when probably everything went right for Chelsea, although debuting youngster Lucas Piazon had a moment to forget when his penalty was saved by Guzan, overall the club put in a performance worth appreciating. Frank Lampard capped off his 500th game with a glorious 20 yard strike.
2. Van Persie laughs off death : Robin Van Persie came close to death but was quick to shrug it off when Manchester United faced Swansea at the Liberty Stadium. Yes he was this close to death when Ashley Williams, Swansea’s defender hit Van Persie on the head with a “BALL”! Don’t believe me? There you go : http://media.lockerdome.com/uploads/50b39e0b456ab8bc57ca373d107d6177_large. If that did not make you tickle, quite sure Sir Alex’s post match interview will. Sir Alex was quick to point out that Ashley Williams should have been banned for this move. He was quoted as saying “ “Robin van Persie is lucky to be alive. He could have a broken neck.” United ended the game 1-1 still top of the table though. We at 360 wish Robin Van Persie a speedy recovery!
3. Barry leaves it late as City close in – It seems like both the Manchester clubs are loving the additional time they get after every game. Once again City left it late as Gareth Barry scored a 93rd minute winner against lowly Reading. City was frustrated for most part of the games as Reading “did a Chelsea” and managed to stop the Citizens till the final few seconds of the game.
There were some great games to look forward to in the Serie A, and luckily I managed to catch the “big guns” play.
1. Roma-Milan : While the AC Milan-Roma fixture may not enjoy the status of a derby, it remains one of Italian football’s classic rivalries. A desperately poor AC Milan side was given a thrashing by Roma at the Stadio Olimpico, as goals from Nicolas Burdisso and Pablo Osvaldo were added to by an impressive double by Erik Lamela and although there were late strikes from Giampaolo Pazzini and Bojan Krkic who gave the scoreline a more flattering appearance, but could not hide what was an extremely disappointing 90 minutes for Massimiliano Allegri’s charges.
2. Juventus leave it late – Juventus maintained their outstanding run of form this season as they beat Cagliari thanks to stoppage time goals by Vucinic and Matri! The Rossoblu took the lead in the first half when Arturo Vidal felled Marco Sau in the area and Mauricio Pinilla converted from the spot, but the Bianconeri fought back to level through Alessandro Matri and the substitute stole the victory for the visitors in added time with his second strike before Vucinic made sure of the points.
3. Fiorentina cap off a lovely Italian week as Lazio stay second : Fiorentina’s lovely 3-0 win over Palermo helped them regain their third place back as Inter Milan stuttered. Napoli on the other hand bounced back from a disappointing few weeks that has seen their players charged and club fined due to match fixing issues. The club’s 2-0 win over Siena was their fourth straight win. Lazio on the other hand rise to second in Serie A following their eighth win in a run of 11 unbeaten matches with a 1-0 win over Sampdoria.
With La Liga over for the winter break, here are a few points and yes Jose is losing it!
1. Brilliant Messi ends at 91 – Lionel Messi finally stopped at 91! Messi capped off a brilliant display by the Catalan giants as they extended their lead to 9 points over Atletico Madrid and 13 points over Real Madrid. League already over eh? Messi on his way to a wonderful year broke Gerd Muller’s record as top goal scorer in a year although he is still behind that Zambian legend! *Messi still aint put one past Cech*. The Catalans have been going through a hard time as manager Tito Villanova recovers from his cancer but they were still a joy to watch.
2. Jose is losing it as Casillas gets dropped! – It has gone horribly wrong for the “Special One” as he saw his Madrid side lose 3-2 to Malaga managed by former boss Pellegrini. The moment of the game was when the team sheets were announced which read “Adan” instead of Casillas. Iker Casillas saw the bench for the first time in 10 years and when asked to explain his shocking decision, Jose calmly said “The coach analyses the situation,looks at the players at his disposal & chooses his team. At the moment,for me,Adan is better than Iker”. Is it time over for the special one?
3. Falcao did not score! Meh – Atletico continued their pursuit to finally get the La Liga as they registered a 1-0 win over Celta. Adrian Lopez who has his name in Arsene Wenger’s shopping list put the Los Colchoneros in front with a brilliant Lampard-esque shot from 20 yards ensuring Atletico’s 100% home record this season.
German Bundesliga (DFB Pokal)
Bayern qualify, Ribery with a “LOVELY” tackle and I’ll give Dortmund 5 stars.
1. Ribery loses it as Bayern hold on – Bayern Munich recorded yet another victory as they advanced to the next round in DFB Pokal thanks to goals from Mario Gomez and Xherdan Shaqiri. The moment of the game though belonged to French star Ribery whose stupid clash with Koo left the Bavarian’s with 10 men. Ribery and Koo clashed strongly which resulted in the Frenchmen throwing a fist. Ribery received his marching orders as Koo stayed on.
2. Five star Dortmund- Mario Goetze netted a hat trick as BVB finally showed their form from last season. The German champions smashed 5 past clueless Hannover in the third round of DFB Pokal. Klopp’s men did not wait long to get on the score sheet as Goetze got his opener in the 3rd min followed by Kuba and Lewandowski getting on the score sheet before Half Time. Dortmund ran out easy winners as the Germans close to winter break.
Who did you make of this week? Leave your comments below or discuss with the writer on Twitter @ShikharrC.