Valencia 2-2 Barcelona: Emery gets the better of Guardiola early on, but Barca fight back

“Cesc Fabregas’ goal secured a point for Barcelona, but they were the weaker side in the first half. Unai Emery tried his trick from last season against Barcelona, fielding two left-backs in Jeremy Mathieu and Jordi Alba down the left, in order to deal with the forward runs of Dani Alves. Jonas dropped out accordingly, and Bruno Saltor was replaced by Miguel. Pep Guardiola went for a 4-3-3ish shape, albeit with Alves pushed very high up the pitch. David Villa was only on the bench. Valencia dominated the first half by doing two things well – first, pressing Barcelona, squeezing the play and forcing the away side into errors in possession. Second, by attacking Barca in behind Alves and creating three good chances through this route.” Zonal Marking

CF Valencia 2-2 FC Barcelona Highlights & Goals


On Landon Donovan

“My affinity toward Landon Donovan is remarkably simple: He’s about my height and about my age. It’s enough to create a bond in my brain. I suppose if I grew up in Europe the success he’s found in athletics despite his small stature might not surprise me quite so. But I didn’t, so it does. The kids born across the pond in the early 1980s had little guys such as Baggio (five-nine) and Scholes (five-seven) to adore after Johan Cruyff (five-eleven) led the way, but American sporting heroes of the 1990s were larger than life and simply huge. Bledsoe and Barkley, the Michaels: Jordan and Johnson. Hell, even Tiger Woods was so damn good at least in part because he was so damn big.” Run of Play

Inter turns to Ranieri after 3-4-3 disaster

“It says a lot about Inter president Massimo Moratti that, despite giving Gian Piero Gasperini only five games as coach, you could see the sacking coming a few weeks ago. This is a man who has now appointed 16 coaches in 16 years. Then again, it says a lot about Gasperini that despite being given no time to settle into the job, it’s rather difficult to defend him. This is a man who guided Inter to four defeats and a goalless draw in five games, an abysmal record for a side expected to be challenging for Lo Scudetto. No one comes out of this looking good, and it is a five-game spell that both president and coach would be happy to erase from the record books.” ESPN