United add to Reds’ inferiority complex

January 13, 2013

Michael Carrick Manchester United
“Liverpool, mind the gap. They just can’t ignore it. After a match that suggested, at differing points, that the distance between them and Manchester United’s was as slender as the half a yard Nemanja Vidic had strayed offside when he touched in the league leaders’ winner or as large as the 61 points that have separated the two clubs over the past 18 months, Brendan Rodgers raised the subject.” ESPN

Van Persie edges striker duel
“Striker Robin van Persie came out on top in the battle of the Premier League’s top scorers as Manchester United emerged from a tricky test with a 2-1 win against arch-rivals Liverpool. The Holland international continued his remarkable scoring spree with a close-range effort in the first half which was doubled after the break by Nemanja Vidic. Liverpool substitute Daniel Sturridge overshadowed team-mate Luis Suarez, who began the day one behind Van Persie on 15 top-flight goals for the season, by marking his league debut for his new club with a second goal in as many matches and had a chance to snatch a point late on, but United held on, if somewhat unconvincingly.” ESPN

Obliging Liverpool leave United’s Michael Carrick to rule the roost
“Perhaps Brendan Rodgers should have been more audacious from the start. There’s no exact science, nobody could say for absolute certain that the outcome would have been different, but then you think back to how timid Liverpool were in the first half and it’s tempting to wonder what might have happened if they had shown even a touch more ambition. It’s true, as Rodgers said, they can be encouraged by those parts of the game when Manchester United suddenly looked a little vulnerable and the crowd was starting to get restless. But sporadic glimpses are not enough.” Guardian

Robin van Persie gives Manchester United superiority over Liverpool
“English football’s most illustrious rivalry produced yet more regrets at Old Trafford but this time they originated from a wildly fluctuating contest only. It must be progress. Brendan Rodgers rued Liverpool’s failure to turn up until the second half and Sir Alex Ferguson Manchester United’s inability to score ‘three or four’ when strolling in the ascendancy. Ferguson, at least, had the consolation of inching closer to title No20 at the expense of his fiercest foe.” Guardian

Barcelona set points record as Lionel Messi scores in win at Málaga

January 13, 2013

“Barcelona, the unbeaten leaders, ended the first half of the La Liga season with a record 55 out of a possible 57 points when Lionel Messi scored one goal and had a hand in two more in a 3-1 win at Málaga. An 18th victory in 19 games for Tito Vilanova’s side restored their 11-point lead over second-placed Atlético Madrid, who secured a 10th win in 10 home matches this season with a 2-0 success against Real Zaragoza.” Guardian

Barca – 3, Malaga – 1
“Barca continued with their excellent start of the season with a well fought 3-1 victory against Malaga away from home. At the half stage of the season, we now have a huge 55 points out of 57 points. We have won all our away games this season in La Liga. Lionel Messi opened the scoring in the first half, Cesc Fabregas and Thiago completed teh scoreline for Barca. With Villa ruled out due to injury, Tito went with a front three of Messi, Pedro and Iniesta. Xavi, Cesc Fabregas and Busquets made the midfield. Alba, Pique, Mascherano and Alves made up the defense. Pinto, Puyol, Adriano, Song, Thiago, Sanchez and Tello made up the bench.” All About FC Barcelona

Die Dritte Nationalmannschaft

January 13, 2013

“Most football fans can recall two German national teams, East and West, participating on the international stage prior to the demolition of the Berlin Wall. But, for a while, a third German national team existed. In modern Germany, Saarland is a small federal state along the border of France and Luxembourg. In the past, the political identity of this state has been the cause of a tug-of-war between France and Germany. After World War II, Saarland came under the administration and jurisdiction of France as the Saar Protectorate. Its highly valuable coal industry was one of the reasons why the French government showed great interest in the area. During this period, Saarland had its independent political identity and its own constitution and between 1950 and 1954, it was accredited by FIFA as a separate footballing nation.” In Bed With Maradona