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September 14, 2009

The more things change, the more things stay the same

Business as usual in England and Spain

We’re not even half way through September and already the tables in England and Spain are beginning to look familiar; Chelsea and Man United, Barcelona and Real Madrid are starting to appear ominously strong.

Thank goodness for Manchester City, then, who, by beating Arsenal 4 – 2 in the weekend’s best game kept their 100% record and showed, firstly, that they are going to be a force this year and, secondly, that Arsenal are still going to have problems when they haven’t got the ball. The talking point of not only this game but probably the whole weekend was the extraordinary display of Emmanuel Adebayor. Unfortunately, it won’t be the fact that he scored for the fourth consecutive league game that people will remember. Instead, an unsavory stamp and a provocative goal celebration are likely to have disciplinary consequences later this week.

In the other game between leading clubs, Manchester Utd overcame the loss of an early Defoe goal and the sending off of Paul Scholes to defeat Tottenham 3 – 1. A Ryan Giggs free kick and a wonderful goal by Wayne Rooney – surely in the best form of his life at the moment – meant that in the end the ten men won quite comfortably. One would have thought that a player as experienced as Scholes, though, would have learned how to tackle by now.

Chelsea, meanwhile, showed that they have the power of both body and mind for Malouda to grab a last minute winner at Stoke. Drogba’s earlier goal and his overall performance were probably on a par with Rooney’s, he was that good.

Elsewhere, a Benayoun hat-trick helped Liverpool give Burnley their first real thrashing of the season; a Duff screamer earned Fulham the points against a still-struggling Everton; a late header from Agbonlahor gained bragging rights in the second city for Villa; Sunderland, Darren Bent in particular, continued to score good goals; Blackburn beat Wolves and Bolton’s win at Portsmouth meant that Pompey are the only side still pointless. The main memory of the West Ham single goal defeat at Wigan will be the referee blowing the half-time whistle fractionally before Carlton Cole equalized for the visitors.

In Spain, the big two both won away from home despite leaving some of their stars on the bench after World Cup matches in midweek. Barcelona top the league on goal difference and won at Getafe with Ibrahimovic and Messi getting one apiece. Real, who are making very bullish noises about the quality of their back-up players in comparison with Barca’s, scored three at Espanyol – the scorers being Granero, Guti and substitute Cristiano Ronaldo.

The only other clubs with two wins out of two are Valencia and Athletic Bilbao. Valencia won a good game in Valladolid by four goals to two; the goals being shared by current Spanish stars Villa, Silva and Mata. Athletic, meanwhile, won by an own goal away at Xerez, who really do look as if they are going to have a long and difficult first season in La Liga.

Atlético Madrid not only stuttered to a home draw with Racing Santander but also had demonstrations after the game by supporters concerned at the prospect of the notorious Gil family resuming control of the club.

Posted by admin @ 11:29 am
Category: Premier League,Spanish League


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