20 March 2016
MANCHESTER CITY 0-1 MANCHESTER UNITED
Demichelis dived in to tackle Rashford but he easily skipped away before shooting past Hart. United were jobbed out of a late first half penalty when Demichelis checked Rashford in the box. Referee Oliver, who bottled every big decision, should have shown Smalling a second yellow for bringing down Aguero. City had most of the play but three shots on target says it all. De Gea didn't have a difficult save to make.
Given their recent (and recent as in the last 3 months) form City will continue to slide down the table. Barring a dramatic turnaround they won't be in next season's Champions League, which is obviously hilarious. There's lot of utter garbage in the City squad, the Arsenal rejects, Clichy and Sagna, the two Fernandos and I know one of them is decent but bollocks to the both of them, Navas and all the centre backs. Maybe Guardiola can save Mangala. If Guardiola is brave instead of signing more Spanish crap, which is what he usually does, he'll look to City's academy.
West Ham have very tough run in, United have to be favourites for fourth.
Rashford is not the new Macheda. Macheda was a dirty, money grabbing traitor. This boy is mature beyond his years, the awareness he shows of his team-mates is extraordinary for a traditional centre forward. The Rooney injury is the best thing that happened to LVG.
TORINO 1-4 JUVENTUS
Buffon broke the Serie A record for longest streak without conceding a goal. Headed into this game he only needed 3 minutes. He was beaten on the 48th minute, by which time Juve were leading 1-2. Morata hit a brace. Juve celebrated this derby victory as if it meant something. Winning a Serie A title, and they almost certainly will retain, is rendered meaningless by their failure in Europe.
19 March 2016
ROMA 1-1 INTER
Inter snapped Roma's winning streak with an admittedly lucky draw, although with Dzeko in attack how lucky does a team really have to be? The two Croat's combined for the opening goal, Brozovic split Roma's defence and with Florenzi hopelessly out of position Perisic ran into the space to score. Dzeko's embarrassingly poor shot fell kindly to Nainggolan for the equaliser.
Nainggolan and Pjanic are the two outstanding Roma players. It will be a huge surprise if they're both still at the club next season. Both have been linked to Chelsea.
EVERTON 0-2 ARSENAL
A desperately, desperately disappointing game. With a win Everton would have dealt Arsenal's UCL hopes a hammer blow but Martinez is a simpleton. Sanchez played a one-two with Ozil, made Jagielka look an absolute mug with a pass outside and Welbeck blew past Coleman to score. Bellerin took out the Everton midfield with a longball upto Iwobi, Funes Mori didn't even get close, and he kept his composure to nutmeg Robles in the Everton goal, his first league goal for Arsenal.
17 March 2016
MANCHESTER UNITED 1-1 LIVERPOOL
A very good first half from United, who could have been two goals up before Martial punished Clyne's stupidity to win a penalty. Coutinho's excellent finish on the stroke of half time took the fight out of United.
Liverpool win 3-1 on aggregate.
16 March 2016
BARCELONA 3-1 ARSENAL
Neymar gave Barca an early lead then his side switched off. El Nenny equalised with a fantastic first time strike from 20 yards. Arsenal had as many shots on target as Barcelona but the difference of course was the finishing, none more so in evidenced when Suarez met Alves' cross with a spectacular scissor kick to put Barca 2-1 up. Barca were obviously not concerned at this point and once again took their foot off the gas, lulling Arsenal into a false sense of security. Welbeck hit the woodwork and Giroud slammed a rebound straight at Ter Stegen. Messi put them out of their misery when deservedly punishing inept defending by Gabriel. Like a cat playing with a mouse.
Barcelona win 5-1 on aggregate.
BAYERN MUNICH 4-2 JUVENTUS
You know those games that leave a sick taste in your mouth? This was one of those games.
Juventus stormed into a two goal lead thanks to barely believable bad defending from Neur and the Bayern defence. A mix-up between Alaba and Neur left Pogba with a tap-in. Morata was jobbed out of a second by a terrible offside call after Neur slammed a goal-kick against a Juve player. A sensational counter attack put Juve 0-2 up at half time. Alaba gave away the ball with a sloppy pass on the edge of the Juve penalty area, Morata ran 80 yards, held off Alaba, dribbled past Mehdi (and we can't be related because most Mehdi's would have kicked him) and nutmegged Kimmich before centring to Cuadrado who feigned to shoot, sending Lahm and Neuer crashing onto their arses and then fired into an empty net. Goal of the season.
Having executed the perfect tactical masterplan, Allegri was too clever for his own good and a combination of his botched substitutions and Guardiola's introduction of Coman, on loan from Juve of course (for that eternal waste of space Xabi Alonso) lead to one of the all time great comebacks.
Morata made away for Mandzukic and without him Juve lost the option to expose Bayern on the break. Presumably Mandzukic was supposed to help Juve aerially, he didn't. Muller blasted in a header from an un-defendable Douglas Costa cross. Another bonehead decision by Allegri, Pereyra on for Cuadrado in the 89th minute, meaning of course Juve lost their only counter attacking threat. Vidal tackled Evra as he tried to carry the ball out of defence and Muller headed in Coman's cross in the 91st minute with Buffon motionless in goal. He's too damn old, as is Evra who was again at fault as Thiago punished him to put Bayern 3-2 up. Coman ran unchallenged down the right flank on a counter attack, brought the ball onto his left foot as he cut inside Bonucci and curled a shot beyond crouching Buffon, who was too slow to spring up to his feet and dive.
Buffon's Serie A record means nothing. It's the defence that is great, not him, not anymore, and in big games he's usually exposed. Rarely does he make saves great goalkeepers are supposed to make.
Evra should be fined for his 'performance'. Due to injuries Alex Sandro, who has been one of the revelations in Serie A this season at left back, played in midfield. Allegri should have went with Asamoah in midfield and Alex Sandro in his regular position at left back. One of the few times Allegri has made a tactical blunder. I maintain he has a UCL in him.
As for Guardiola, his Bayern have choked in the last two seasons. They choked again here and if they repeat this against a more ruthless side, there will be no comeback. Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and PSG would beat them. Shame they lucked out and got Benfica instead.
Bayern Munich win 6-4 on aggregate.
10 March 2016
LIVERPOOL 2-0 MANCHESTER UNITED
Depay yanked away at Sturridge's right arm to concede a penalty. Miraculously Sturridge got to his feet, and it's always a worry when he goes down, to despatch it. A combination of a weak finish and great goalkeeping prevented Coutinho from adding a second minutes later. De Gea kept Liverpool at bay, making a string of saves. Overrated square passer Carrick should have booted out a centre but a poor touch allowed Lallana to lay on the second for Firminho, surprisingly his first European goal for Liverpool.
There's a brilliant post match rant by Paul Scholes here. The dig at Arsenal at the end was fantastic.
DORTMUND 3-0 TOTTENHAM
Having took the trouble to get to the last 8, Pochettino sent a weakened team out against Dortmund, who promptly tore them to pieces. Boomerang headed in Schmeltzer's cross to give Dortmund a half time lead. Spurs should have had a penalty for a foul on Song. Subotic flicked on Castro's cross for Reus to slam in the second at the back post and ten minutes later he finished off a nice move involving Boomerang and Castro to give Dortmund what should be an insurmountable lead.
There had been speculation that Guardiola had targeted cripple Gundogan for his role of tedious square passer at Man City. Surprise surprise he was injured, again. Players like that are a waste of damn time and investment. It throws off the tactical shape of a team when they're absent.
9 March 2016
CHELSEA 1-2 PSG
Di Maria and Ibrahimovic combined to leave mamma's boy Rabiot with a tap-in. Costa, who looked sharp from the opening minute, really meant business as he took off his face mask early in the first half. Pedro mugged cripple Motta, Willian played a one-two with him before playing in Costa, who was running off the shoulder of Thiago Silva, Costa humiliated him with a sharp turn before firing past Trapp. Unfortunately for Chelsea he went off with a hip injury on the hour mark. Trapp made a brilliant save to deny Hazard on the rebound. Motta released Di Maria down the left with an outrageous pass and Ibrahimovic slammed in his centre at the back post to sent PSG into the last 8.
If Ibrahimovic shows up, PSG can beat anyone but their defence is bloody awful. Luiz has learned nothing playing alongside Thiago Silva who himself is half the player he was when Nesta was holding his hand at Milan.
Chelsea win 4-2 on aggregate.
ZENIT 1-2 BENFICA
Are we ever going to see a team from Eastern Europe in the KO stages not choke? Kokorin, who has tremendous close control, wasted several excellent chances but after Hulk finally broke the deadlock, a goalkeeping mistake ended their hopes. Lodygin, standing next to his right post, somehow managed to tip Jimenez's speculative shot back towards the centre of goal when it would have been easier to push it out for a corner. The ball bounced off the crossbar and Gaitan tapped into an empty net. Zenit heads dropped and Talisca touched the ball inside a defender before screwing a shot into the left corner.
Benfica are going to get a whipping in the next round.
Benfica win 3-1 on aggregate.
8 March 2016
REAL MADRID 2-0 ROMA
The eternal chokers from the eternal city choked, again. Real's miserable defence left Dzeko all alone in front of goal with only the 'keeper to beat and he shot wide. Real's offside trap bailed, leaving Salah with should have been the simple tap-in past Navas, who has strayed far off his line, but he to failed to hit the target. After Salah missed another glorious chance Ronaldo put Real Madrid in front, tapping in a Vazquez centre. In the 68th minute a swift counter attack ended with James firing into the right corner. Two goals in four minutes.
Roma are the death of Serie A. Like the Italian Arsenal but even bigger chokers.
6 March 2016
INTER 3-1 PALERMO
Ljajic dribbled past two players before blasting a low drive past Sorrentino. Icardi tapped in a Palacio cross before turning provider for Perisic to head in the third. Vazquez had given Palermo hope in first half injury time, making it 2-1, but his team couldn't stem the tide.
Inter are now 5 points off 3rd place. It's going to hard to catch Roma which is a real shame for Italy's coefficient, even if Mancini sucks in Europe just as much as Spalettli, Inter's defence means they are far better equipped for European football and they don't have chokers.
SASSUOLO 2-0 MILAN
Milan's bogey team beat them for the third successive season. The visitors dominated the opening minutes but fell behind to a sensational left foot strike from the highly rated Alfred Duncan. Berardi and Vrasaljko combined to setup the second for Sansone.
The defeat almost certainly kills Milan's UCL hopes stone cold dead but regardless they've made good progress under Mihajlovic and it would be inept, and typical, to get rid of him at the end of the season. From the sound of things it looks like he will walk before he's pushed. Die Galliani die.
CRYSTAL PALACE 1-2 LIVERPOOL
Liverpool beat their bogey team with a last minute penalty, despite the second half dismissal of Milner. Ledley punished Firminho's dreadful clearance to give Palace the lead. Milner was shown a second yellow for hacking at Zaha after he dribbled away from a Liverpool corner. Palace threw away the points with two defensive mistakes. First goalkeeper McCarthy slipped when blasting a back pass - straight at Firminho to score his 8th goal of the season. With about 10 seconds into the fourth of four minutes of injury time, Delaney made a clumsy challenge on Benteke to concede a penalty and with regular first choice penalty taker Milner sent off, Benteke made a stuttered run up to sent McCarthy the wrong way.
5 March 2016
WATFORD 0-1 LEICESTER
Leicester made a great start and could have been two goals up inside the first twenty minutes. Watford took control before The Tinkerman made two subs at the start of the second half to re-establish dominance of midfield. Mahrez got hold of a poor clearance and worked an opening before curling a shot wide of Gomes.
EVERTON 2-3 WEST HAM
Mirallas was shown a second yellow for a two footed foul on Cresswell. Despite being a man down Everton doubled their lead, Lukaku, who scored the first, linking brilliantly for Lennon's fifth of the season. In the 69th minute Lukaku blew a penalty and soon after wasted a one on one against Adrian. Antonio began an unlikely comeback with a header and three minutes later Sakho headed in Payet's cross to equalise. Carroll headed on a longball, Sakho back heeled to Payet and he swept in a 90th minute winner. Ridiculous.
Massive choke for Martinez. Everton's new joint owner must sack this idiot at the end of the season.
TOTTENHAM 2-2 ARSENAL
Well this was disappointing. Ramsey flicked a pass over Lloris to give Arsenal the lead. Coquelin was sent off for two bookable offences and Spurs turned the game on it's head. Alderweireld lashed in the equaliser from a corner before Kane scored an extraordinary goal. He chased down a ball, cut infield and standing on the left edge of the box whipped a shot inside the right post. Minutes later a failed offside trap allowed Alexis Sanchez in for the equaliser which Lloris should have saved.
In a game between two notorious bottlers both teams bottled it. Spurs failing to hammer 10 man is inexcusable. Eriksen was absolutely shocking.
4 March 2016
ROMA 4-1 FIORENTINA
A win would have taken Fiorentina third, above Roma but they were blown away in the first half. Pjanic and Salah combined to lay on the first for El Shaarawy. Three minutes later, in the 25th minute, Salah scored a second via a massive deflection and Perotti made it 3-0 from El Shaarawy's centre. Ilicic put away a late first half penalty. Salah beat Fiorentina's hopeless offside trap to make it 4-1. 2 March 2016
ARSENAL 1-2 SWANSEA
Just hilarious. Campbell gave Arsenal the lead, Alexi Sanchez hit the inside of a post and the crossbar, Giroud also struck the crossbar as Arsenal wasted chance after chance. Routledge equalised on the half hour mark and Arsenal were hosed on a free kick, Cech made a feeble attempt to punish Sigurdsson's low cross, possibly fearing taking another kick to the head, and punched the ball off Williams and into the net. In the fifth minutes of extra time Cech went up for a corner and after Swansea cleared and the brainless moron Gomis (which the racist English commentators pronounce GOMEZ) could have ran down to score but tried his luck from 70 yards, as Cech raced back he blew his hamstrings. Good job.
WEST HAM 1-0 TOTTENHAM
This was always going to be tough for Spurs given West Ham's recent form. Antonio headed in a Payet free kick. West Ham out muscled Spurs in what was a fairly comfortable victory.
LIVERPOOL 3-0 MANCHESTER CITY
Liverpool completed a league double over City who gave the type of lazy, disinterested performance Toure is famous for but ironically he wasn't even played. Lallana beat Hart from 30 yards with a low skidding shot. A fantastic first touch took Milner away from Kompany for the second and he laid on the third for Firminho. It would be something if City screwed this up and dropped out of the top four.
MANCHESTER UNITED 1-0 WATFORD
This has to have had some sort of record for the most hospital passes in a single match. Watford blew chance after chance, Ighalo should have scored a hat-trick. Mata won it with a glorious free kick.
INTER 3-0 JUVENTUS
Inter recovered a three goal first leg deficit but lost on penalties. Bottler Palacio was the only player to miss.
Milan would obviously have preferred Inter in the final, it would have been an easy win. Juventus will be damn hard to beat, unless they're in the UCL final, which takes place 8 days after the Coppa Italia final.
3-3 on aggregate, Juventus win 5-3 on penalties.
1 March 2016
MILAN 5-0 ALESSANDRIA
Brilliant football from Milan as they swept aside their lower league opposition with ease. Menez and Romagnoli hit two goals each. After Bacca botched when clean through, trying a whacky finish, Balotelli beat the offside trap and nutmegged the 'keeper for the fifth.
EPL Top Six
57 points - Leicester
54 points - Tottenham
51 points - Arsenal
47 points - Manchester City *
47 points - Manchester United
46 points - West Ham
* 27 games played
Serie A Top Six
61 points - Juventus
58 points - Napoli
53 points - Roma & Fiorentina
48 points - Inter
47 points - Milan
EPL RSS Fantasy League
1. Bayern Eunuch. John Knapp. 1463
2. headless pigeons. Binder Dundat. 1456
3. B &W Propagandists. Daniele P. 1415
4. High Hopes. Keith Powell. 1413
5. Bloody Sunday. Mohammed Mehdi. 1399
6. BeNeVolants. Michael Hynes. 1313
The league will be decided by whoever picks the right captain most weeks.