Manchester United 2-1 Liverpool: United exploit the space around Spearing

February 12, 2012

Nicolas Poussin, Joshua’s Victory over the Amorites
“Two goals from Wayne Rooney took Manchester United to the top of the Premier League. Sir Alex Ferguson moved Ryan Giggs out to the left, bringing in Paul Scholes after his impressive cameo against Chelsea last weekend. Chris Smalling was out, so the defence picked itself. Despite Craig Bellamy and Andy Carroll enjoying a decent partnership in recent weeks, Kenny Dalglish picked neither and went with Luis Suarez upfront alone. Jose Enrique returned, so Glen Johnson went back to right-back.” Zonal Marking

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish is walking alone in standing by Luis Suarez
“For those of us gathered here at Old Trafford yesterday for the latest outbreak of hostilities between Manchester United and Liverpool, Suárez’s behaviour was embarrassing to behold. The fires of enmity always burn between these ancient rivals but Suárez inflamed the mood further by refusing to shake the hand of Patrice Evra. Those tuning in across the planet were presented with the picture of Suárez offending further an opponent he had racially abused. For a club that prides itself on its renown around the world, those pictures were a PR disaster.” Telegraph – Henry Winter

Taylor sickened by Suarez snub
“Professional Footballers’ Association chief executive Gordon Taylor says he feels ‘sick in my stomach’ after Luis Suarez caused further controversy by refusing to shake the hand of Patrice Evra on Saturday.” ESPN

Liverpool ‘misled’ as Luis Suárez says sorry for Evra handshake snub
“Liverpool have accused Luis Suárez of misleading the club, the striker has apologised for not shaking Patrice Evra’s hand and Kenny Dalglish has described his television interview with Sky as not befitting the conduct of a Liverpool manager as Anfield issued an unequivocally contrite response to the condemnation that followed their performance at Old Trafford.” Guardian

Wayne Rooney double beats Suárez and Liverpool for Manchester United
“Fighting in the tunnel at half-time is not really to be recommended as a stimulant, but it seemed to work like smelling salts on Manchester United, who took advantage of the quite unnecessary prolongment of the Luis Suárez affair to return to the top of the table through two goals in two minutes from Wayne Rooney.” Guardian

Zambia may have destiny on their side

February 12, 2012

“Romantics will watch and read the story of the Zambian football team’s poignant visit to a Gabon beach with a tingling feeling on their skin as goosebumps form and a stinging in their eyes as they blink back tears. Few sporting tales cause such emotion and this one could not have been scripted any better.” ESPN

Zambia’s remarkable journey makes them winners regardless
“Together they walked slowly to the coastline, singing in unison. Once there, and despite the entourage, a gentle ocean breeze and the swish of waves kissing sand were the only sounds. A team, representing a nation, stood in silence. Those present laid flowers. A few said prayers, many shed tears. The coach Herve Renard stood solemnly behind his players and observed, a mix of pride, sorrow and conviction in his eyes. Kalusha Bwalya, the country’s greatest ever player, laid a wreath. Zambia united in grief and remembrance.” FourFourTwo

Falling Out Of Love With England

February 12, 2012

“The last week or so has said a lot about England, the state of the country, its sporting culture and the team that is supposed to represent it on the stage of international football. Apathy levels with the national team, however, are growing to the point at which it may become pertinent to ask the question of what the England national football team is actually for. Here’s Mike Bayly, on how he felt out of love with the England team.” twohundredpercent

Sport Italia

February 12, 2012

“If anyone had any doubt about sport’s ability to warp society, Simon Martin’s sumptuous Sport Italia will leave them without arguments. A nation, remember, only since 1861; Italy has survived its first one and a half centuries by following the path described in Benedict Anderson’s influential book, Imagined Communities – and sport has played an integral part in that. Witness the birth of the Giro d’Italia cycle race, launched by a newspaper in La Gazzetta dello Sport that has intervened on many occasions to reflect the interests of politicians, businessmen and lobbyists. Witness also the carefully constructed reputation Italy forged for itself as a motoring nation, both on the track and the autostrada.” thetwounfortunates

Book Review : Sport Italia By Simon Martin
“Italian football is currently at crossroads. Having slipped down in the UEFA rankings in recent years, Italian football has lost its sheen of last two and half decades – a world cup win changed little in the way the game is run. However, it is not just Italian football which is at crisis – the entire nation faces challenges in multiple fields. Italy, which possesses one of the most unstable political systems among developed nations, is on the brink of bankruptcy. Under such circumstances Simon Martin’s ‘Sport Italia’ is a timely and very significant publication. It speaks at lengths about Italian football, but it is not just about football. It takes a holistic view at the deeply rooted relationship between Italian society and sports – it talks about Italy.” The Hard Tackle

Sport Italia: The Italian Love Affair with Sport
“The Italian love affair with sport is passionate, voracious, and all-consuming. It provides a backdrop and a narrative to almost every aspect of daily life in Italy and the distinctively pink-colored newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport is devoured by more than three million hungry readers every day.” amazon

Barca – 2, Osasuna – 3

February 12, 2012

“FC Barcelona would belooking at a huge 10 point deficit with League leaders Real Madrid by the end of tomorrow night after going down 3-2 against osasuna. If the Villareal draw had put a huge blow to Barca’s title hopes, then this defat at Pamplona virtually ends the league hopes. If Real madrid win against Levante at home tomorrow, the lead at the top will climb to a huge 10 points. Considering our away form, by the time Real Madrid visit Camp Nou, there is a high chance that it will end up becoming much bigger. Now Barcelona has to win all our matches to avoid giving Real Madrid the dreadful Guard of Honour. In a very windy and chilly night, Guardiola once again decided to start Xavi from the bench and the midfield had a completely different look with Sergi Roberto, Thiago and Mascherano. The front trio had Pedro, Messi and Sanchez. The defense had the usual look of Alves, Puyol, Pique and Abidal with Valdes in goal.” All About FC Barcelona

Mainz 1-1 Hannover

February 12, 2012

“Polish striker Artur Sobiech came off the bench to salvage an 89th minute equalizer for Hannover away at Mainz. It was no less than the visitors deserved after an even, positive and entertaining game between two of the sides bidding to qualify for next season’s Europa League. Mainz had taken an early lead through Mohamed Zidan, and had at least half-a-dozen chances to put the game to bed before the 21-year-old Hannover substitute struck. Although Mainz coach Thomas Tuchel will no doubt leave the Coface Arena tonight lamenting the fact that his side were seconds away from a win that would have put them level on points with tenth-placed Hoffenheim, deep down he’ll be pleased at his side’s performance, and realise that a share of the spoils was a more accurate reflection of the game.” Defensive Midfielder

Chelsea – Look Good In Blue?

February 12, 2012

“After Chelsea announced their financial results for the 2010/11 season, analysts could be forgiven for regarding them with a somewhat jaundiced eye, as the club once again put a positive spin on the figures. While they emphasised the record turnover and the improvement in the bottom line, the fact remains that this was another thumping great loss of £67 million, a long way short of the much promised break-even. So, move along, nothing to see here.” Swiss Ramble