Schalke 04 v Manchester United
It was the Champions League semi-final (1st leg) this week. First on Tuesday was Schalke 04 v Manchester United. Being a United fan I was of course excited about this match but a bit nervous with Schalke doing so well so far including there thrashing of Inter Milan – I didn’t watch the matches but based on the scoreline, it appears to be a thrashing.
Anyway, I had no reason to be nervous as Schalke were rubbish against United. United were excellent and the arguably the best I have seen them play all season – although you could argue the finishing was not as good. We were all over Schalke and could have (and maybe should have) been at least 4 goals up. I think I read we can 13 shots in the 1st half alone.
At half time, the score was amazingly 0-0. United should have taken their chances better but their keeper Neuer was brilliant. He was stopping everything!
United finally managed to break the deadlock with Giggs – who had previous missed a glorious chance but sliced it wide with his right foot – after a great through ball from Rooney. It was a perfect ball from Rooney who was amazing all night. The 2nd goal keeper just minutes after. Good work by Valencia and then a lovely touch from Hernandez to Rooney who slotted the ball home.
Overall an excellent game and the referee was great. He really let the game flow and wasn’t fooled by any play-acting.
The only negative about the game is that its “only” 2 goals. If Schalke get an early goal next week then who knows!! However, if they play anything like on Tuesday, we have nothing to worry about!!
Real Madrid v Barcelona
This was the 3rd El Clasico in recent weeks and had plenty of talking points. The match ended 2-0 to Barcelona with 2 goals from (who else) Messi but that doesn’t tell half the story.
Real Madrid had 3 players sent off, there was diving and play-acting all over the place, it wasn’t a great advert for football.
Starting with the sendings off. Pepe was sent off for a challenge on Alves. Pepe went into a challenge and had his foot a little high. However he was going for the ball and you could argue Alves had his foot his as high – otherwise they would not have connected “foot to foot”. Alves may have been kicked but it did not warrant the rolling over on the ground about 5 times. I have seen the replay of the red card since and he may not even have been kicked and they both just kicked the ball at the same time.
Alves is one of those players who is well known for play-acting AKA cheating. Another one in the Barcelona team is Sergio Busquets. His sole purpose seems to be to try and get opposition players sent off. There was one moment he grabbed his face as if he had been punched by Mike Tyson. He wasn’t even touched!! It was embarrassing but he got a freekick out of it. They are not alone with the play-acting and lots of their team-mates do the same.
However, it was not just Barcelona play-acting but Real Madrid too. There biggest culprit probably being Di Maria. Its just something that is part of football in particular on the continent but its so annoying. I am sure some players are just like that with the play-acting but I wonder how much of it is their managers telling them to do it and make the most of the slightest touch. Its a shame that there wasn’t a better referee – like in the United game – and someone strong enough to punish the cheating. I think the referee from Tuesday was Spanish so unfortunately that probably means hes got no chance to refereeing the final.
The other 2 sendings off was one for Jose for basically what he was saying to the 4th referee (and I am sure in part to use his usual Jose smirk/smile) – he was sent to the stands – which were about 5 metres away from the bench!! The other red card was for Pinto who was not even on the pitch!! He was the sub goal-keeper. It was given after the half time whistle and there was a bit of a “ruck” between players and coaching staff. It could easily have been any player getting the red card but he seemed to be the instigator.
Bored of Barcelona??
As well as the red cards and the play-acting, I am beginning to get bored of Barcelona and how they play. They are a brilliant team and one of the best teams ever. If you were to make a list of top 10 players in the world, they would have about 4 and they can destroy teams. However, there tiki taka style of football and passing it to one another can be boring. Some people may say its clever, some say its patient and its keeping possession but passing it to one another sideways from 5 yards away constantly isn’t that impressive. (Saying that, the England football team couldn’t do that in the World Cup!).
It seems to be they pass it around for a bit, messing about and then let Messi do something amazing – which he usually does. I think hes scored 51 goals this season!! 😮
Having a look online, I don’t appear to be the only one and John Nicholson from Football 365 pretty much thinks the same .
It was a shame that this match, between 2 great teams turned so ugly. The newspapers had a bit of a field day commenting on the match.
After the game Mourinho had a go official and all sorts of people. It was everyone elses fault for him play “anti-football” and playing so negatively. It will be interesting to see what happens in the 2nd leg. Will Mourinho really have a go at Barcelona or will he get players to by cynical again?? We know from games recently with Barca playing Chelsea and Arsenal that they can be beaten if you have a go at them. However, like United they are in a strong position with 2 away goals – and they have Messi.
There is a good article hear from Jamie Redknapp about the match. He says that both teams were good in the way they played the game but Mourinho has been cast as the villain of the piece. Read the rest here.