Atlético Madrid’s facelift is complete. It’s time to take them seriously

January 21, 2013

Atletico Madrid
“Barcelona lost but no one said it; 24 hours later Real Madrid won, and brilliantly too, but still no one said it. Not this time. This time there was no Game On, no sign of the patented Crapping-yourself-ometer, no heebie-jeebies, no We’re Coming For You, and not one headline declaring: Hay Liga. Translation: There is [a] league. Perhaps because everyone agreed that there isn’t. There was a ‘We’re Back!’ but back where?  “The league hasn’t got closer in the slightest: there isn’t enough garlic in the whole of Spain for Barcelona to feel Real Madrid’s breath on the back of their necks,’ wrote David Gistau, speaking for pretty much everyone. Because here’s the bottom line: the gap is still 15 points.” Guardian


Tottenham 1-1 Manchester United: United stop Bale, but leave gaps elsewhere

January 21, 2013

“Tottenham finally managed a last-minute equaliser, after constant pressure throughout the majority of the game. Andre Villas-Boas used Scott Parker in the holding midfielder role, in place of the injured Sandro, who is expected to be out for the rest of the season. With Emmanuel Adebayor at the Africa Cup of Nations, Clint Dempsey played just behind Jermain Defoe, while Jan Vertonghen’s illness meant he was only on the bench.” Zonal Marking


Dempsey finally settling into Spurs role

January 21, 2013

“As Clint Dempsey finally managed to break through Manchester United’s stubborn defence on Sunday afternoon in Spurs’ 1-1 draw, the American wheeled away to the delighted home fans having scored his side’s decisive goal against the Red Devils for a second time this season. His 17 goals last season at Fulham won him a summer move to Tottenham. He may well be disappointed with a return of only five this season that has led a fair portion of the Spurs faithful to question the value of his signature.” ESPN


Chelsea 2-1 Arsenal: Chelsea stronger in the first half, Arsenal better after the break

January 21, 2013

“Chelsea took charge with a commanding start to the game, then held on in the second half. Rafael Benitez was without Victor Moses and Jon Obi Mikel because of the Africa Cup of Nations, and David Luiz was injured. This meant Ramires and Frank Lampard was the only possible midfield duo, with three creators ahead. Fernando Torres surprisingly started upfront, rather than Demba Ba. Arsene Wenger was without wide forwards Gervinho, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lukas Podolski, as well as Mikel Arteta, so he started with the same XI that beat Swansea in the FA Cup in midweek. The game was all about the tempo of passing – Chelsea moved the ball quicker in the first half and dominated, then this suddenly dropped after half-time, allowing Arsenal back into the game.” Zonal Marking


Is there any way back for Harry Redknapp’s QPR?

January 21, 2013

“Wheeler dealer Harry Redknapp has been at it again at QPR. Last week he signed sought after striker Loic Remy, who scored on his debut at the weekend. QPR’s 1-1 draw with West Ham is the latest in a string of improved results under Redknapp, but with the club still rock bottom on 15 points, is there any way back for the club?” Think Football