Monday, September 23, 2013

Mario Misses, City Maul United, Geezer Wrong Again


Mario Balotelli bagged 26 in a row before missing his first ever penalty this weekend. Milan went down 2-1 to Napoli, with Rafa Benitez's team on a tear. They look the real deal and will really push Juventus this year. As I was reminded this weekend by an Inter fan, Serie A is very open this year. I think he just wanted to celebrate the face that Diego Milito is back and grabbed a brace in a 7-0 win, but there is some truth to the statement. Roma look good after winning the derby against Lazio, Inter are revolutionizing systems, playing 3-6-1, Juve look very strong, and Napoli may even be the favorites. And then there's AC Milan and Fiorentina - a very competitive league, although I think the only thing stopping Juve or Napoli winning the title will be their participation in the Champions League. A strong run for either will test the strength of their squads, but they should be able to handle the price of success.

***

City gave United a proper schlapping in the Manchester derby, with Yaya Toure looking back to his best. Rooney worked hard for United, but they seem to have a lack of ideas right now. Yes, van Persie missing was huge, but surely Kagawa instead of Valencia or Welbeck would have created a few chances. Young is also much less effective without someone to cross for - and partly because Welbeck is a decent link player, but he's not a leader and doesn't really trouble defenders from crosses, or in behind.

Paulo Di Canio sacked? Surprise? Of course not. Just a surprise someone gave him a high profile job and loads of cash, then expected him to be a success after just 13 games. Strange decision all around. 

Great free-kicks by Rooney and Leighton Baines this weekend. Everton were by far the better team against West Ham, but it shows what a help a dead ball specialist is. And after I predicted a bunch of home wins, it was tough on Cardiff, but nice finish from Paulinho...Newcastle hard to work out again....Villa win, but Benteke could be out. Lots of subplots in teh Premier League, and I didn't even mention Arsenal, then Chelsea were top of the league, or that Liverpool are back to their unpredictable best!

***

Also, Falcao and Ibra both scored in the 1-1 draw, with Monaco keeping their two point lead at the top of Ligue Un... Barca and ral both won (shock)... Bale is injured already (another shock)... Bayern and Dortmund are joint top of the Bundesliga again... and PSV spanked Ajax 4-0.