5 Observations from this Weekend

  1. Let the Zidane Era begin.

Real Madrid sacked their manager Rafa Bentiez following their 2-2 draw against Valencia.  Benzema opened the scoring but then Dani Parejo leveled the score in stoppage time.  The game changed in the 68th minute when Mateo Kovacic was sent off.  Gareth Bale put Madrid back on top with 8 minutes to play, but it did not last long.  Paco Alcacer leveled the score.  This result was apparently the tipping point for Fiorentino Perez.  Perez decided to make a change and put Zinedine Zidane in charge.  Yes that Zidane.  For the soccer fanatics, one of the all time greatest players.  For my World Cup fans, the one who headbutted Materazzi.  It will be interesting to see what he can bring to Madrid.

  1. Arsenal wins and remains on top.

This has to be Arsenal’s year.  Their biggest rivals are all stuttering and have been dropping points left and right.  Arsenal has just kept chugging along and is now on top of the Premier League.  Arsenal is now 2 points clear of Leicester, who slipped up again as they drew 0-0 with Bournemouth.  Arsenal is three points above Manchester City.  I think this will be the year for Arsene Wenger.  If they can keep it up and win these tough games, they will win the league.  Laurent Koscielny scored the game winning goal against Newcastle.

  1. Liverpool is still a work in progress.

Jurgen Klopp has shown some growth so far, but they are still far away from being a top contender in England.  He is still working to instill his philosophies.  He will need time and I think the Liverpool we see in a year will be much better.  They played well in spurts during their 2-0 loss at West Ham.  Andy Carroll scored the second goal, his first one against Liverpool since he left.  The first goal was a brilliant cross from Enner Valencia that was nicely headed in by Michail Antonio.  Dimitri Payet returned to action and now West Ham will hope to push up the table.

  1. Atletico Madrid is in the title race.

This weekend, the only team in the top 3 to get all three points was Atletico Madrid.  The “other” team from Madrid moved to the top of the table, 2 points clear of Barcelona.  They are 4 points above their crosstown rivals.  Atleti kept another clean sheet this weekend when they beat Levante 1-0.  Thomas scored the game winning goal in the 81st minute.  Barcelona was kept scoreless in a 0-0 draw against their crosstown rivals Espanyol.  This is looking like it might be a great title race this year.

  1. Aston Villa will play in the Championship next season.

They will not be the worst team ever, but they will be close.  With a must win game against Sunderland this weekend, Aston Villa lost 3-1.  Patrick van Aanholt opened the scoring 10 minutes in.  Carles Gil drew the score level in the second half.  Check out that finish later on.  But then Jermain Defoe would score two goals to seal the win.  This now means that Villa trail Sunderland by 7 points.  They are now 11 points from safety and the distance only keeps going.  The mission impossible will most likely not have a happy ending for Aston Villa.

3 Games to Watch This Week

  1. Stoke City vs. Liverpool – League Cup Semifinal First Leg – Tuesday
  2. Barcelona vs. Espanyol – Copa Del Rey – Wednesday
  3. Everton vs. Manchester City – League Cup Semifinal First Leg – Wednesday

Picture of the Week

The new manager of Real Madrid…

Real Madrid's new French coach Zinedine

Goals of the Week

My Pick – Carles Gil’s goal against Sunderland

James’ Pick – Wayne Rooney’s goal this weekend against Swansea.

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