Lionel Messi’s brace helps Barca cruise

December 1, 2012

“Barcelona continued its amazing start to the La Liga season with another victory Saturday evening, with Lionel Messi’s 83rd and 84th goals of the calendar year helping the Catalan club trounce Athletic Bilbao at the Nou Camp. Two goals in three minutes — from Gerard Pique and a deflected Messi effort — midway through the opening 45 minutes put Barca firmly in the ascendancy and Adriano added a superb third in first-half stoppage time.” ESPN

La Liga: FC Barcelona 5-1 Athletic Bilbao: Match Review
“A recap of Barcelona’s 5-1 win over Athletic Bilbao at the Camp Nou as goals from Lionel Messi (2), Gerard Pique, Adriano and Cesc Fabregas secured another three points for the Blaugrana. Barcelona produced a five-star performance to run-out 5-1 winners against Athletic Bilbao at the Camp Nou on Saturday night. Gerard Piqué’s opener got the ball rolling for the Blaugrana who raced into a 3-0 lead before half-time courtesy of goals from Lionel Messi and Adriano Correia. Cesc Fàbregas added a fourth soon after the interval, and while Ibai Gomez pulled one back for the visitors, Lionel Messi’s 21st league goal of the season (!) restored Barcelona four-goal lead and placed pressure on both Real and Atletico Madrid ahead of the Madrid derby.” Barca Blaugranes

All About FC Barcelona: FC Barcelona – 5 : 1 – Athletic Bilbao All Goals (Video)

Rene Adler – From Leverkusen Pariah to Hamburg Savior

December 1, 2012

“Germany has traditionally been solid at the back and has produced some great goalkeepers in the world of football. Sepp Maier, Herald Schumacher,Bodo Illgner, Andreas Koepke, Oliver Kahn and Jens Lehmann, All of them produced moments of magic in German Football. Quite notably, the competition for the number one keeper for 2006 WC on home soil between Kahn and Lehmann only made both of them better keepers.” Bundesliga Fanatic

Bayern Munich in a hurry to put last season’s disappointment behind them
“Who cares about the finishing time in a title race that no one’s ever really been too bothered to win? The biggest surprise of this midweek round of fixtures perhaps wasn’t so much Bayern Munich securing the (purely ceremonial) title of ‘Herbstmeister’ (literally: autumn champions, even though it should be ‘winter champions’, ‘end-of-calendar-year champions’ or maybe let’s-just-make-up-our-own-little-honour-sponsored-by-Arsène-Wenger-champions’) in record-busting fashion with three games to go, but the fact that somebody in the DFL’s stats basement had been keeping a record of these inconsequential efforts in the first place.” Guardian

United escapes as rivals fall farther back in Premier League race

December 1, 2012

“1. Manchester United doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry. The club has become so used to coming from behind to win this season, maybe it has grown blasé. On Saturday, United came from behind not once but twice, in the first 34 minutes, as it won 4-3 at Reading. All seven goals came in a first half in which it looked as neither team knew how to defend. There could have been an eighth, but the officials did not spot that a shot from Robin van Persie had crossed the line. Now that United has been cheated, expect the chorus for goal-line technology to swell. …” SI

Liverpool 1 – 0 Southampton

December 1, 2012

“Defender Daniel Agger’s first goal of the season ensured Liverpool returned to winning ways at home to Southampton but they made hard work of the 1-0 victory. The Denmark international powered home a header just before half-time, only his fifth in 133 Premier League appearances, after a host of chances had gone begging. In doing so he helped the Reds to only their third home win of the season and back-to-back league wins at Anfield for the first time since September 2011.” ESPN

QPR’s woeful start conjures memories of great Everton escape

December 1, 2012

“It is probably impossible to regret winning the FA Cup, but if anybody has come close, it’s former Everton manager Joe Royle. When his side lifted the trophy in 1995, it was just a couple of weeks after it survived relegation from the top flight, and just six months from what was until now (apologies, fans of winless Queens Park Rangers) the worst start to a Premier League season.” SI