1. Premier League Shellackings
Cardiff 3-6 Liverpool, Manchester City 5-0 Fulham, Chelsea 6-0 Arsenal.
All lopsided results are in some ways freak events, meaning that while they’re often a sign of attacking quality among the winners, they don’t reflect quite as badly on the loser as the result might otherwise suggest.
Cardiff for example gave Liverpool a nice run at least in the first half before Skrtel’s go-ahead in the second half forced the issue, which a brilliant Sturridge backheel assist and Suarez goal solidified.
Fulham are terrible.
Arsenal though…it was one of those things where the game seemed decided after the double punch of a defensively porous 2-0 opening plus the red card to the apparently Oxlade-Chamberlain doppelganger Kieran Gibbs. Of course Chelsea were brilliant—Eto’o still in form, Schuerlle adding depth, Matic posting two assists, Oscar scoring after a hiatus—Mourinho’s wasting no time in possession, walking through the Arsenal back line.
But this will forever be remembered as Wenger’s 1,000th game in charge, the one which necessitated an “air-clearing” chat between management and the players. Arsenal will be officially written out of title consideration by the papers and the same old boring questions about Wenger’s lock on the club will come flooding back. Blech. All for six goals away from home a man down, the wrong man to boot.
2. A classic El Clasico
Most football fans have an Ideal Match banging around in their brains before every kick off, which is strange and maybe even unfortunate because football rarely produces the thing. I’m talking about the seven goal, ding-dong back and forth nail-biter with penalties, red cards, tackles, shots galore, and preferably something real at stake in the table. We all love it but it just never goddamn happens. So we take whatever result we get and hope something good happens next week.
Today, a world tuned into an El Clasico that was definitely that, the Real Madrid Barcelona circus show with something for everyone (including reasons to dislike both Pepe and Busquets, though this subsection of the Spanish derby is getting more than a little tiresome). A Messi hat-trick and new record for scorer of the most goals in the El Clasico. Sergio Ramos sent packing early. No team with more than a goal lead at any point.
The only thing that sucked was the end with a lame penalty which Messi converted for the winner, and not even because it was a refereeing error (it wasn’t, despite a smattering of whingers on Twitter). Alonso sandwiched Iniesta, and Iniesta fell down. Or was tripped.
The irony of Barca’s hard fought victory with its boost for Tata Martino and the Barca Brand or whatever was that Atletico Madrid, having produced a routine 0-2 victory over Real Betis, which also happens to be their fourth consecutive win in all comps, were in some ways the real victors. They were spared a three point gap with Madrid and are still a point ahead of the team they face on the final day of the season. So who really won El Clasico, I ask you?
3. Wayne Rooney did this
In another, slightly quieter 0-2 victory against West Ham at Upton Park:
4. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer doesn’t have time for your crap
Ole Gunnar Solskjær. http://t.co/GMDZZc3pzh
— Football Vines (@Vine_Football) March 22, 2014
I know this person asked this question to get this kind of reaction, but can’t we all just be normal, human people able to ask interesting things without being a provocative jerk?
5. Michael Bradley has no time for the referee
Places, everyone! Know your places. Toronto FC beat DC United 1-0 to go to 6 points, or 33% of their 2013 MLS league win total.
6. Totti and Destro’s flick war
Roma may be fourteen points behind Juventus (though they have a game in hand), but Totti and Destro insist on having fun.
7. Christian Erisken
This was an isolated match, but a crucial one for Spurs who are an unlikely contender for fourth place. But two goals and an assist for the winner in extra time should hopefully balance out some of limpness of his performance in the North London derby a ways back.