An enjoyable week-end of attractive performances and a bit of theatre concluded in Milan Sunday night, with the home side squeezing past Roma for the desperately need three points, albeit controversially. Chelsea predictably encountered a gritty Villa side that declared its contention for a top four place, while Liverpool’s problems have very little to do with beach balls. Barcelona and Valencia put on a goal-less show, Madrid is learning to live without C. Ronaldo, while Deportivo swapped places with Sevilla. In Torino, Prandelli’s Fiorentina accomplished its mission to the general Juve discontent, while Inter’s demolition of Genoa included Stankovic’s “clamoroso??? goal of the week.


Inter’s margin of victory in Genova was a little exaggerated, but what Mourinho should be very pleased about was Wesley Sneijder’s emergence as an excellent #10 for this Inter side. Sneijder was involved in everything. Given too much space by Genoa’s midfield, he took it apart. His vision and sense for the game seemed excellent, his passing was crisp and opened spaces. Good acquisition for Inter. For Genoa, a match to delete from memory and move on. This was not more bitter than a heartbreaking, injury time, controversial penalty loss.

Barca and Valencia created plenty of chances but neither was able to capitalize in an entertaining match at the Mestalla. Some of the players were visibly, and understandably, tired. Sevilla also lacked the decisive concentration and a bit of chance on its trip to La Coruna. The match was decided by a mistake and a stupendous stroke from Depor’s Juan Rodriguez, but the points should have been split. Madrid took care of busine$$, while Atletico and Villareal continued their miserable starts.

In England, Liverpool minus Gerrard and Torres looked uninspired and went down to Sunderland on a fluke play, when Darren Bent’s shot was deflected by a beach ball thrown from the stands into the penalty box and landed into the net. Referee incorrectly let the goal stand and he has been punished by the English FA. Regardless, Liverpool’s performance was far below the club’s expectations. At most a point was lost. Liverpool must raise every aspect of its game on a crucial week ahead with Lyon coming to Anfield and Man Utd. at the week-end. Positive results will restore confidence.

Ancelotti seems calm about Chelsea’s loss in Birmingham, but he better be careful. If he transmits to his players that anything other than a win is acceptable at Chelsea, he risks injecting a mental complacency among the players. This in turn will have dire consequences, as Ancelotti will not have the same leeway he had in Italy among Abramovich’s men. Man United and Arsenal stayed on pace with home wins over Bolton and Birmingham City, respectively.

The discussion around Milan – Roma concerns the referee’s decision to award Milan’s penalty. Yes, replays support Roma’s argument, but initially it looked like a penalty. A bit of theatre from Nesta, certainly, and the course of the match was changed. Without the benefit of replay, the referee was fooled, but we’ve seen worse decisions. Points should have been split. The win was a huge morale booster for Milan players and senor Leonardo ahead of the midweek clash with Real Madrid. Let’s see how it that vibe carries over.

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