Liverpool 1-1 Manchester United: little technical quality in open play, goals from set-pieces

October 16, 2011

“A poor first half was followed with a more positive second, but neither side stamped their authority on the game. Kenny Dalglish went with the expected side – Steven Gerrard returned to play just behind Luis Suarez, with Dirk Kuyt in the side on the right. Sir Alex Ferguson’s line-up was far from expected – he used Phil Jones in midfield, with Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Nani all on the bench. Liverpool probably had the better of the game – 15 shots (to United’s 11), five on target (to United’s two) and more clear-cut chances. The overall tactical battle was uninteresting, however – static, pedestrian and cautious for the majority of the 90 minutes.” Zonal Marking

Ferguson shuffles his pack at Anfield
“By the end, Sir Alex Ferguson had reverted to type. He had introduced attacker after attacker, seen Manchester United score the latest in a long line of late goals and witnessed and withstood an eventful finale. Quintessential Ferguson? Perhaps, but earlier he had illustrated he is the oldest chameleon in the business. The advocate of experience doubles up as a champion of youth, the apostle of all-out attack venturing into the realms of the defensive strategist. United, the side with 14 goals in three previous games against title rivals, opted for Operation Stifle.” ESPN

Liverpool have good day at the office as owners seek an equitable life
“Until this week there was the sense of it being one long handshake – one big nod to the Kop tradition – but now Liverpool’s new owners are getting down to business, coveting a larger share of overseas TV rights and bemoaning the cost of modern players.” Guardian

Danny Welbeck and Wayne Rooney show why they must both take their place on plane to Poland
“Ever since Rooney’s eviction from a rain-lashed field in Montenegro nine days ago, Welbeck’s star has risen higher and higher. He started against Liverpool, a delight to those United fans who viewed the “19” on his back as a reminder to their hosts of Old Trafford’s title collection. Capello has confirmed Welbeck will feature prominently during England’s ensuing friendlies as the coach seeks the “solution” to Rooney’s absence for the group stage in Poland and Ukraine. Only 20, Welbeck signalled his promise with a selfless 90 minutes.” Telegraaph – Henry Winter

La Liga Review: FC Barcelona 3, Racing de Santander 0, Or, The Good Kind of Zombie Movie

October 16, 2011

“It’s a well-known fact by now that Barça doesn’t do well on the return from international break. With a small squad, mostly formed by players that are required to put a show with their NTs all over the world, Guardiola usually has to deal with a bunch of jet-lagged, sort-of-kind-of injured zombies on dates like this. No wonder that Barça goes from picking 81% of the points in play, under normal circumstances, to a measly 50% on FIFA virus days.” The Offside (Video)

Barcelona 3 – 0 Racing Santander
“Lionel Messi reached another Barcelona landmark with two more brilliant goals to inspire his side to victory over Racing Santander. The Argentinian added the finish following a slick one-two with Andres Iniesta to move clear in second on the Catalan club’s list of all-time top goalscorers. And he rounded off the scoring with a simple finish after Iniesta had produced an outrageous piece of skill and shot against a post.” ESPN

World Cup rights bidding to have major implications for U.S. soccer

October 16, 2011

“Next Wednesday is one of the most important days of the next decade for soccer in the United States. That’s when bids are due in Zürich, Switzerland, for the U.S. broadcast rights for World Cups ’18 and ’22. ESPN, NBC and Fox are expected to bid for the English-language rights, while Univisión and NBC-owned Telemundo are expected to be in competition for the Spanish-language rights. After the bids are submitted on Wednesday — there will be no formal presentations, as there were for the Olympic rights bids earlier this year — the FIFA executive committee will meet on Thursday and could reach a decision on the winners as soon as that day.” SI

Freiburg 1-2 Hamburg

October 16, 2011

“Hamburg remain bottom of the table despite beating fellow strugglers Freiburg in a mistake-laden game at a sunny Badenova-stadion. Interim coach Frank Arnesen needed to guide the north German side to a two-goal margin victory to haul themselves out of 18th spot, but the win at least moves the club level on points with Freiburg and Augsburg. However, if the home side hadn’t been so wasteful in front of goal in the second half, they would have won this game comfortably. Despite producing a wonderfully disciplined first half performance, Hamburg’s defence fell to pieces in the second half, and were ultimately bailed out by their deadly attackers. HSV have now won two of their last three games, and incoming coach Thorsten Fink will have seen enough from this performance to suggest that his new team are too good to go down.” Defensive Midfielder