A Fleshner Fantasy wrote:United come from 2-0 down to win and Arsenal fail to finish, as they end in a 0-0 draw, despite controlling most of the game. Arsenal's championship hopes are quickly disappearing.
True to form, Arsenal were so wasteful with their chances, especially in that second half. Either they pumped the ball into the box with no one nowhere near to get a touch or to blaze it way off target.
As far as United go, I think despite being 2-nil down, United didn't play as poorly as the score would otherwise indicate. I suppose you could say the lads dominated possession and corners, but weren't really threatening. That changed when Berbatov and Hernandez came on. Rooney scored two very good goals off a free kick and a terrific first touch from a nifty Valencia pass. The Matty Upson penalty decision against him was a bit soft, but I suppose it made up for Lee Mason adjudging Carlton Cole was fouled by Vidic in the box instead of just outside. Either way, West Ham lost their bottle and capitulated for such a poor second-half display.
The match reminded me of Everton-United 2007. Likewise, United were down 2-nil and came back with four second-half goals. It also proved to be decisive when Chelsea wound up drawing Bolton, 2-2 that day. This comeback win, as well as Arsenal and Chelsea bottling it, could wind up deciding the league, even though I won't be hasty to say it's a foregone conclusion. Still, better to be in the driver's seat with a good cushion at this time of the year.
It's really been a terrific football weekend all in all, some other highlights:
Chelsea were held at Stoke, 1-1 in a rather entertaining contest. Stoke will be ruing their poor finishing and Petr Cech being in top form to thwart them. Neither John Terry nor David Luiz could handle getting outmuscled by the likes of Kenwyne Jones.
West Brom got a vital win over Liverpool, 2-1, towards safety from relegation thanks to two Chris Brunt penalties. You lads might remember Roy Hodgson, who was sacked as Liverpool manager at the middle of the season for the return of "King Kenny". Hodgson manages West Brom now and we'll say "Woy" got his "wevenge". Liverpool should have equalized in a frantic stoppage time when Martin Skrtel missed a sitter off a point-blank header.
Most exciting Premier League match goes to Everton-Aston Villa, who drew 2-2. A lot of controversy in this one, as Jermaine Beckford's shot crossed the line, but no goal rewarded. The irony was the next minute, Darren Bent would score his second goal to put Villa ahead thereafter. Phil Jagielka got away with a dive in the box and Everton equalized.
Real Madrid were upset at home by Sporting Gijon, 1-0. It was a frantic 10 minutes as Real were admittedly unlucky not to level the game. This also ends the remarkable unbeaten home streak of Jose Mourinho-managed teams, dating back to 2002. Conversely, Barcelona do the double over Villarreal, 1-0, and are 8 points clear of the Madridistas.
I only caught the first half of the Milan Derby, but it was a tremendous open-ended game. Milan wound up winning, 3-0 over Inter, and move 5 points clear of Inter in the Serie A title race. Arguably, game of the weekend goes to Napoli-Lazio. Napoli were down 2-0, equalized, only to go down a goal again. Napoli would come back again to win, 4-3, with Edinson Cavani bagging a hattrick.
That includes the FA Cup tie against Manchester City.
Really ridiculous how the FA and the media have made a big deal out of nothing. Inexcusable for Wazza to swear after scoring a hattrick, but the emotions are understandable (United completed a comeback with that goal). At least, he apologized and it moved on. I suppose the FA were thinking about the children?
Champions League resumes with the first legs of Inter Milan-Schalke and Real Madrid-Tottenham.
Unfortunately, it looks like injuries will put a damper on Real-Spurs. No Marcelo and Karim Benzema for the Madridistas. There are conflicting reports about Cristiano Ronaldo's fitness, but consider him a doubt. Spurs are without a first-choice central defense, both Gallas and Hutton are doubts, and Tom Huddlestone probably won't play. Spurs do have Luka Modric, Gareth Bale, and Rafael Van der Vaart, and FWIW, VDV is a Real Madrid reject. Ronaldo or not, think Real will make the most of the first leg of the Bernabeu and beat Spurs. Would be pleasantly surprised if Spurs nab an away goal and are in the thick of it heading back to North London. I'll say Real, 2-0.
BTW, Good 'ol 'arry Redknapp is a hypocrite for calling out Rooney for cursing on camera, when he himself has been guilty about it. I admit to laughing at 'arry going off, "no wonder he's in the f***ing reserves".
I also see Inter playing with urgency and bounce back from the defeat against Milan. Inter, 2-0.
WaCougMBS wrote:Hoping for an away goal for the Spurs for sure, maybe even a 1-1 steal - thanks for the breakdown of the injuries, etc. AD
I was reading Marca (the mouthpiece of Real Madrid) and just like the last couple of days, they keep insisting Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcelo will start for Real.
I think a 2-1 loss will be a good result for Spurs too. Spurs have been in a recent scoring drought the last few games, FWIW. Think with the defensive crisis and Real Madrid just having better quality all around, they just have to keep this close by the end of the night.
That said, I'm really curious how Spurs do away against a top-shelf European side. Nothing to take away from either Inter or Milan, but there's a gap in quality between them and say Real/Barcelona. Should be an interesting game.
Both Ronaldo and Marcelo are fit. Gallas is fit, Huddlestone is not (Sandro takes his place and he was terrific vs. Milan), and Vedran Corluka will be responsible for marking Ronaldo.
A few things to point out... both teams can be vulnerable against the counter. Pepe and Carvalho aren't a particularly quick partnership and both Ramos/Marcelo tend to be attack-minded fullbacks. Both Bale and Lennon could find space to exploit, if that's the case. Think Spurs will try to sit back and play on the break to make up for being found out at the back (as they've had to do against Milan). Also, Peter Crouch has a height advantage on set pieces, but as I've probably mentioned, he can be rubbish at heading. Stopping Bale and Lennon will be crucial, same for keeping Luka Modric off the ball.
For Spurs, they have to keep Marcelo in check. Both he and Ronaldo overlap on the left flank and what that does is it stretches the defense. This entails Lennon having to take on some defensive duties to track back and help Corluka.