Winners and Losers From This Weekend in World Football

Winners

  1. Paris Saint-Germain – Our first major 5 league title has been clinched this weekend following an impressive showing by the Parisians. They took the lead in the 13th minute thanks to Cavani, and in the 19th minute it was 3-0 with Pastore and Rabiot scoring the goals. In the second half, Ibrahimovice scored 3 goals within the first 11 minutes to pit the game out of reach.  He would add a fourth, Cavani a second and a Saunier own goal would be the rest of the scoring for the game.  9-0 and the title to PSG.    They can now shift their full focus to the Champions League and hope they do not draw Barcelona again.
  2. Roma – The team from the Italian capitol has now won 8 games in a row in the league to climb up to 3rd place and give themselves a very good chance at qualifying again for the Champions League. They extended the streak to 8 thanks to a 2-1 win over Udinese. Edin Dzeko opened the scoring in the 15th minute.  Then Florenzi gave them some breathing room.  Bruno Fernandes scored with just 5 minutes left, but it was too late.  Roma took all 3 points and give them a nice lead on fourth place Fiorentina.  They are now 5 points behind Napoli and could potentially continue their climb.  They do have a game against Napoli coming up in a couple weeks.  We will see how big that game is in a couple weeks, but Roma have really turned their season around.
  3. Watford, Crystal Palace, and Everton – At the start of the season, all three of these teams would be dreaming about a trip to Wembley. Well that is a reality now. Crystal Palace defeated Reading 2-0 on Friday.  They have continued their good form in the cup, despite recently having poor form in the league.  The goals were scored by Yohan Cabaye and Fraizer Campbell.  The game was tight until Jake Cooper was sent off in the 85th minute for preventing Yannick Bolasie from running on the a ball in the box.  Cabeye finished the penalty cooly and Palace is on their way to Wembley.  Everton got 2 goals from Romelu Lukaku as they went on to win the game 2-0.  It got interesting towards the end as Costa was sent off for what looked like a bite on Gareth Barry, but I do not think that he did.  Barry was then sent off later for his second yellow card. In the end Everton moves on. The third team heading to Wembley is Watford.  They have had a great return to the Premier League and just put the cherry on top with their 2-1 win over Arsenal.  They scored twice in the second half as Troy Deeney set up Ighalo and the Guedioura.  Arsenal did put up a fight and Danny Welbeck score two minutes from time, but it was too little too late.  If West Ham can beat United in the replay, it will be a final four at Wembley without any of the big 4 clubs.
  4. Hertha Berlin – In their bid to make it to the Champions League, they got a huge win against one of their close rivals, Schalke. The two teams were separated by just 1 point before the game and now the gap is 4 points. While Hertha is by no means guaranteed a spot in the Champions League, this win does help their odds of playing in the competition for the first time.  Berlin got a first half goal from Vedad Ibisevic and a second half goal from Niklas Stark.  They played some great defense, despite not having the majority of possession.  Thanks to this win, they now have a head start on their competition and a big carrot at the end of the stick that is Champions League.
  5. Sevilla – While they might not be able to win on the road, they are very good at home and are now within 5 points of Villarreal for the fourth and last Champions League spot. This will be an interesting race to watch for the rest of the season, especially if Sevilla can get a couple wins on the road. If they had done that before now, they would probably be in the top four already.  Sevilla took the lead thanks to Iborra, but then Bakumbu scored twice too in the first half.  In the second half, Victor Ruiz scored an own goal to draw the game level at 2.  Konoplyanka scored the winner 14 minutes later.  Ever Banega was sent off with 11 minutes to go, but Sevilla was able to hold on and put the game to bed in extra time as Jose Antonio Reyes scored.  They would win 4-2 and make the race for fourth a lot more interesting.

Losers

  1. Aston Villa – Alright I am calling it, I do not think they can escape relegation anymore. With just 8 games to play, Villa is 9 points from safety and two of the teams above them have games in hand. They will be lucky to reach the 20 point mark, let alone 26 which is the minimum they would need.  They have looked awful this season and this weekend was no exception to that.  Tottenham controlled the game and Harry Kane scored on either side of half time.  Villa managed just 2 shots on target the whole match.  They have flirted with relegation a lot recently and now they are doomed to play in the Championship next season.
  2. Fiorentina – While they might not have lost this weekend, drawing 1-1 with Hellas Verona might as well have been one. The team they were chasing, Roma, won again to widen the gap to 5 points. The team chasing them, Inter, also won to close that gap to 0. The two teams above Roma also won, so just getting 1 point was not what Fiorentina needed especially against the team on the bottom of the table. The race for the third Champions League spot looks all set to go to Roma and if they are not careful, they will have to go through the qualifying round for the Europa League.
  3. Getafe’s Goal Difference – Coming into this weekend, Getafe had conceded 45 goals with a goal difference of – 18. That was giving them some breathing room at the bottom of the table. However, this weekend, their defense was abysmal.  They let in 4 first half goals and 2 in the second half as Barcelona ran away with an easy 6-0 win.  It could have been worse, as Messi missed another penalty.  That might be the new way to stop Barcelona.  Just give them a penalty kick.  They have been awful, but back to Getafe, they now sit just one point above Granada and level on goal difference.  If they get relegated those 6 goals could be the reason why.
  4. Schalke 04 – I already talked about this game in the winners section, but Schalke had a great opportunity to get back into the Champions League places and they really dropped the ball. They had more possession, almost the same number of shots, and were just not able to beat Rune Jarstein in goal for Hertha. The loss means that they are on the outside looking in and will need to come ready to play in the last 8 games.
  5. Fans of French Football – This is starting to become something that should scare the fans of Ligue 1. PSG seem to be winning the league earlier and earlier. They were never really pushed this season and to date have lost just once in the league.  They are in the final of the Coupe de la Ligue and the semifinals of the Coupe de France.  They won the domestic treble last season and look set to do it again this season.  Something needs to change, or it could be a sad state of affairs for the fans of French football.

Goals of the Weekend

Here are two goals from this weekend.  First is Arda Turan and his nice bicycle kick, and second is a great curler from Paulo Dybala.

Champions League Preview

The final four spots are up for grabs this week.  Here is a quick preview of each game.

Manchester City vs. Dynamo Kyiv – Tuesday – Manchester City is the only English hope left it seems with Chelsea and United already out and Arsenal in trouble and having to score 3 goals in Barcelona.  City won the first leg 3-1 in the Ukraine.  I think they will easily advance. 2-0 to Manchester City.

Atletico Madrid vs. PSV Eindhoven – Tuesday – The first leg ended 0-0 and that is not a surprise since Atletico have one of the best defenses in the world.  I think it will be really tough for PSV to score in Madrid.  Atletico should show their quality and advance to the quarter finals, 2-0 to Madrid.

Barcelona vs. Arsenal – Wednesday – The first leg ended with a 2-0 win for Barcelona in London and that pretty much means this should be very straightforward for Barcelona.  They are in spectacular form and look set to advance to the quarterfinals.  I think it is going to be another clean sheet for Barcelona, 2-0.

Bayern Munich vs. Juventus – Wednesday – This is the big tie for this week.  Juventus came back to draw the first leg at home 2-2.  One of the biggest teams in Europe will be out of the competition.  I think this will go Bayern’s way since they are at home for the second leg and have 2 away goals.  I think it will be a 1-1 draw.

 

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