10 Points From the Weekend

  1. Jose is sent to the stands as his team loses 5th game

This weekend, Chelsea traveled across London to face West Ham.  The Hammers had already beaten Manchester City, Arsenal, and Liverpool.  Now they can add Chelsea to that list.  Mauro Zarate finished off a poorly defended corner with a very sweet volley.  Then Nemanja Matic seemed to lose his mind as he picked up two yellows within 10 minutes of each other.  Just a couple minutes later, Silvino Louro (Chelsea assistant) was sent to the stands.  Chelsea might have felt hard done by with the Matic sending off, the close call via goal line technology, and very tight offside call.  In my opinion the only point of contention is the offside call, as it was very tight and Cesc’s goal should have stood.  Never the less, Chelsea did draw level thanks to Gary Cahill, but they were without their manager.  Jose Mourinho never came out of the tunnel, having been sent to the stands for something that happened in the tunnel.  Is he losing the plot?  Is he losing control of his team? How much longer does he have?  West Ham would come back and win the game thanks to Andy Carroll of all people.  The real question now is how many more games can Jose lose?

  1. Munich become first Bundesliga team to win first 10 games and win their 1000th Bundesliga win.

The most in-form team in the world continued their winning ways as Bayern defeated Koln 4-0 behind goals from Robben, Vidal, Lewandowski, and Muller.  Munich is now 7 points clear and looks set for another title.  They have been scoring for fun this year averaging 3.3 goals a game.  In the meantime, they have conceded just 4 total goals.  Robben added his second goal of the season and was very influential.  Lewandowski scored his 13th goal of the season.  Muller scored his 10th goal.  This team is having fun and scoring goals.  The only real point of question is how long Pep will be the manager.  He will obviously be judged solely on his results in the Champions League.

  1. Roma claims the top spot.

In a match between first and second place, Roma jumped out to an early lead.  Former Fiorentina star Mohamed Salah scored a beautiful goal 7 minutes in.  Gervinho doubled their lead after 34 minutes.  With their two goal lead, Roma held a very comfortable advantage.  The result got a bit closer late on as Mohamed Salah was shown two yellow cards in quick succession.  Just after that, Babacar cut the deficit in half.  It was too little too late for La Viola.  They were knocked off the top of the table and have to figure out what is wrong having lost 2 in a row.  Meanwhile, Roma has won 3 in a row in the league.  Is this the year that Roma finally wins the Scudetto?

  1. Last week it was Neymar, this week it was Suarez.

Last week, Neymar scored 4 goals to lead Barcelona to victory. This week after falling behind to Eibar, Barcelona was in need of a match winner.  This week it was Suarez’s turn to take that role.  He first finished off a nice cross from Sandro.  There was a hint of offsides on the play, but the flag stayed down.  Sandro played a great ball across the face of goal.  Neymar then became the provider as he played in two great passes and Suarez cooly finished them off.  Barcelona kept pace with Real Madrid and is level on points with Real Madrid.  There are a couple weeks left until Leo Messi returns to training.  Both Suarez and Neymar are going to have to carry the mantle for a little while longer and it looks more and more likely that they are ready to carry that torch.

  1. PSG continues to roll on.

So far this year, PSG has faced Lille, Monaco, Marseille, and Saint Etienne. They have beaten them all. The latest was a 4-1 win in which both Cavani and Ibrahimovic scored goals.  Lucas Moura added the fourth and Kurzawa opened the scoring.  To make matters worse, Verratti scored an own goal for the fifth.  PSG are all but set to win the French League again and is looking more and more dominate in France.  But like I write every week, the questions still remain in Europe.  They had a great chance this past week to knock off Real Madrid and make a statement, but they were not able to.  They did keep a clean sheet but could not find the back of the net.  They will face off again soon and PSG will need a big result in Madrid.

  1. Manchester sides play out a 0-0 draw.

In the top billed English game of the weekend, two sides played out to one of the most boring 0-0 draws I have seen this season.  Both teams really lacked quality in the final third and it took 80 minutes for a shot on target.  For United, it was out of form Rooney up top.  United dominated possession but really struggled to attack.  They seemed very comfortable just passing the ball back and forth.  They really lacked any attacking drive.  For City, they were missing their top two creative players in Silva and Aguero.  However, that does not mean there were not creative players on the field in Sterling, De Bruyne, and Yaya Toure.  Bony was awful on the day.  In what should have been an entertaining match of football, both Manchester sides really let us all down.

  1. Real Madrid stays top of the league.

This weekend, Real traveled to Vigo to face off with the surprise team of the season so far.  Real came out of the gate very quickly and jumped to a 2 goal lead within the first 23 minutes.  Ronaldo opened the scoring and then Danilo finished off a lovely ball from Jese.  When you look at the final score, it looks like a convincing Real Madrid win, but in reality, Celta Vigo was close to drawing level or even winning the game.  Gustavo Cabral was sent off for his second yellow in the 58th minute.  After that, honestly, Celta were the most likely to score and Nolito proved that goal making it 2-1.  Celta went on to try and equalize, but they were caught at the death and Marcelo made it 3-1.  It is three points for Real but not a perfect performance.  Keylor Navas has been great lately and really saved Madrid this weekend.  He will need to keep this up while they figure out the defense.

  1. Lyon jumps into the top 4.

The only big team still waiting to get their shot at PSG, Lyon, has finally made it into the top 4.  After some early season struggles, Lyon is now just 3 points behind Angers in second place.  While they are a ways off PSG, 10 points to be exact, they are climbing back up the table. This weekend, they dominated Toulouse winning 3-0.  Mathieu Valbuena was the stand-out player as he gets more and more comfortable back in France.  He scored one goal and assisted one.  Lyon will now set their sights on trying to get closer to PSG.  However, they will need a lot of help but they could challenge Angers and Caen for a spot in the top 3 places.

  1. The race for third place is heating up in Germany.

In Germany, four teams are within two points and all battling for the final two Champions League spots.  Schalke 04 (19), Wolfsburg (18), Hertha (17), and Leverkusen (17) are all fighting for two spots.  This weekend, they all came away victorious except for Schalke, who suffered defeat at Monchengladbach.  Monchengladbach is close to getting into the race.  It really gets interesting next weekend as Wolfsburg hosts Bayer Leverkusen.  This is a race that will be great to watch.  While the title race might be over, the race for the last two Champions League places is going to be great.

  1. Don’t Look No, but Napoli Won Again.

Napoli made it four wins in a row as they beat Chievo Verona this weekend.  Gonzalo Higuain scored the only goal of the game in the second half to give Napoli the win.  Napoli dominated the whole game and probably should have won by more, except for the great defense from Alessandro Gamberini and Bostjan Cesar.  Napoli is now second in the table and looks set to challenge Roma for the title.  The Naples side has come close in the past but with Juventus slipping, could this be the year they challenge for the title or even win the title?

Photo of the Week

Jose looking sad in the stands…

IMG_5250

Goals of the Week

My Pick – I am going to go down to Italy for the biggest game of the weekend.  Mohamed Salah faced his old team and opened the scoring with a beauty.

https://vine.co/v/eVLdjzr5zHZ/embed/simple

James’ Pick – Steven Fletcher’s goal in the Tyne-Wear Derby.  Great concentration and great volley.

Midweek Action

England – The League Cup 4th round takes place this week.  Chelsea travels to Stoke.  Arsenal travels to Sheffield Wednesday.  Crystal Palace travels to Manchester City in the tie of the round.

Italy – There is a midweek round of the Serie A.  Roma host Udinese.  Fiorentina travels to Hellas Verona.  Napoli will look to make it 5 in a row against Palermo.

Germany – Round 2 of the DFB Pokal takes place this week.  The match of the round has to be Wolfsburg hosting Bayern Munich.

France – The 3rd round of the Coupe de la Ligue takes place.  Most of the Ligue 1 teams are not in this round, but the match of the round is Lorient vs. Montpellier.

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