1. Barcelona suffered their third defeat in four games, the past two of coming at the hands of Real Madrid. Goals from Karim Benzema and Lionel Messi were the highlights of a rather dull, watered down first half by El Clásico standards. The second 45 was a different story. A total of 12 cards were handed out by referee Pérez Lasa. Jose Mourinho begrudgingly inserted Cristiano Ronaldo in the 58th minute. An unnecessary corner conceded by Barcelona resulted in the game winning goal, with Sergio Ramos towering over Gerard Piqué and heading the ball past Victor Valdes. A Barcelona penalty shout in extra time was not awarded, though replays indicated Ramos’ lunge impeded Adriano. Dani Alves (who was awful today), Andrés Iniesta and Valdes went after Lasa as time expired. Barcelona’s keeper received a red card for his boorish exploits.
Let the ‘end of Barcelona’s dominance’ hysteria live another week. Thought Real Madrid are still miles behind the league leaders, Mourinho gets what he wants, inflicting another dent in the Barcelona mystique.
2. Shinji Kagawa became the first Asian player to a record a hat-trick in the premier league, leading Manchester United to a comfortable 4-0 win at home over Norwich City. Ryan Giggs didn’t end up making his 1,000 senior level appearance. Perhaps Sir Alex is saving that occasion for the big game against Real Madrid. United are champions in waiting at this point. A level above.
3. There were several candidates for goal of the day, including this screamer from Wayne Rooney, but the winner is Steven Pienaar. Everton defeated Reading 3-1 at Goodison Park–sorry for the poor gif quality.
4.Chelsea supporters continue to voice their displeasure with Rafa Benitez. The Blues defeated West Brom at Stamford Bridge, though Petr Cech‘s heroics were required late. Chants of Jose Mourinho erupted in the 65th minute, at around the same time Benitez was booed when catching a wayward ball on the sidelines. Dude can’t buy a break.
5. Jay Bothroyd’s goal in the 77th minute secured three points for win starved QPR at St.Mary’s Stadium. Somehow, after a seemingly endless run of poor results, QPR sits four points from safety and it’s only March. Harry Redknapp for Prime Minister.
6. Swansea celebrated their League Cup triumph with a 1-0 win over Newcastle at home. Luke Moore’s goal in the 85th minute came after the visitors had 540 chances to score. Just when it seemed Alan Pardew’s side was finally starting to ‘get it’ they are dealt another set back.
7. Borussia Dortmund bounced back from their DFB Pokbal loss with a 3-1 result against Hannover 96, powered by two goals from Robert Lewandowski. The ‘will he or won’t he’ speculation surrounding Lewandowski’s long term future didn’t hamper BVB on this day. That’s what happens when the opposing team has Johan Djourou in their starting XI.
8. Sometimes I wish there was more football on. Today was not one of those days. Too many matches and too few eyes. Hopefully Google Glass resolves this problem.
9. Pepe deserves an Oscar.
2 – Sunderland have scored more than once in a Premier League game for only the seventh time in 28 games this season. Spree.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 2, 2013