It is still early, but eight matches into the Premiership season Liverpool have already lost three and will need to be very efficient going forward to stay in contention. Man Utd helped everyone else’s cause last Sunday by losing two points at home to modest Sunderland, which prompted Sir Alex to unleash an attack on the referee’s fitness and management of the game … blah, blah … didn’t Utd score in the 6th minute of injury time against City a couple of weeks ago? United’s slip worked out perfectly for Chelsea who have embraced Ancelotti’s strictly business approach. Liverpool are still searching for the magical touch, though Mascherano wants out of England and that would be a big blow.
Arsenal are in good form and well positioned for the long run. Narrow losses against the Manchester teams away and otherwise perfect in all competitions, the North Londoners have a game in hand, a high level of confidence and no more trips to Manchester. Rosicky, Fabregas, Arshavin, Nasri when he comes back, Theo Walcott, Eduardo and Denilson provide the complementary mix for Mr. Van Persie, who seems poised for a super star season. Arsene will strengthen the team in January, so Arsenal’s prospects look good. Man City has a lot of quality under the supervision of Mark Hughes, it will come together but it is still a work in progress. Rumor has Robinho returning to Spain in January, this time at Barcelona, but thus far no comment.
In Argentina, a tremendous match at La Bombonera between Boca and Velez went Boca’s way to revive the club and its passionate supporters. Great action and great atmosphere in a game that will forever be remembered for Martin Palermo’s 40 meter header, a Guinness moment. In the other big match of the round, San Lorenzo came back from a 1-0 deficit with two goals in the final 10 minutes that sent Boedo in happy delirium and triggered the resignation of Senor Gorosito, River Plate’s suffering manager better known for sticking with the 80s hairstyle from his playing days. Ciao amigo.
What a week-end for the Flamengo side of Rio. First on Friday the International Olympic Committee awarded the 2016 summer Olympic games to the city of Rio de Janeiro. Then, after two nights of celebrations, Adriano scored twice to give Flamengo a 2-0 win over Fluminense in front of a record Maracana crowd of 78,409. The Fla-Flu derby of Rio de Janeiro is among Brazil’s most passionate, with a long history of spectacular encounters. Adriano, who revived his career since leaving Inter Milan in April, has had a big impact on Flamengo. His personality looms large at the club and he is leading scorer in the Brasileirao with 15 goals. Flamengo are going ok, unbeaten in six matches, moving up to sixth place. On the other hand, Fluminense are at the very bottom of the league, below clubs like Nautica?, Sport? and Santo Andre? and in serious relegation danger. Flu need five or six consecutive positive results to escape the embarrassment of relegation, even while progressing well in Copa Sudamericana.
Madrid is not Barcelona, at least not yet. Lots of individuals, but not a team yet. After deservedly going up 1-0 in the first half, Sevilla wasted a number of great chances to kill the game of the week in La Liga and, as it always happens, Madrid scored against the run of play. Divine justice prevailed in the end and Renato’s goal was enough for Sevilla to take all three points in play on a night when Real was dominated copiously. For the Andalusians it was a double victory: not only the three points, but also the assurance of dealing with a revamped “Galacticos??? comfortably. Any question about Sevilla’s quality and depth has undoubtedly been addressed. Sevilla can play with Madrid and Barca on any given night. It should be an interesting La Liga this year, most likely a three club race with Atletico and Villareal off to a dreadful start, while Valencia and Depor are still in the mix.
In other news, Cristiano Ronaldo sealed a deal to model (European) underwear for Armani in 2010. Feel free to comment.