European Weekend Rewind: Liverpool downs United, Inter Milan rolls and more

SuarezKuyt (ISIPhotos.com) 

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By IAN HOLLIDAY

If Manchester United wins a record 19th English title this May, it won't be because Liverpool surrendered the honor.

The Reds put on an impressive show in defeating their arch-rivals 3-1on Sunday. Dirk Kuyt had a hat-trick and January signing Luis Suarez had a hand in all three goals as Liverpool's attack wreaked havoc with Man United's second-choice central defenders Wes Brown and Chris Smalling.

The loss doesn't change United's position in the table, but it complicates the Red Devils' road to the title, leaving Arsenal within three points of the league lead with a game in hand. The title is still United's to lose, but a May 1 trip to the Emirates will give the Red Devils ample opportunity to do so.

Elsewhere this weekend, AC Milan used Gennaro Gattuso's first goal in three years to secure a 1-0 win over Juventus and maintain a five point lead in Serie A. Milan's derby rivals Inter kept pace with a 5-2 thrashing of Genoa in which it scored all five goals after the 50th minute.

The match of the week in Germany was the battle for third place between Hannover 96 and Bayern Munich. The club captained by American Steve Cherundolo put some distance between it and Bayern with a 3-1 win.

Here is a rundown of all the weekend scores from Europe's top leagues:

ENGLAND

All of a sudden, West Ham United is out of the drop zone. After spending much of the season in last place and nearly all of it in one of the Premier League's three relegation places, the Hammers have won three straight to climb to 31 points, good for 17th in the league. On Saturday, the club looked almost dominant in its 3-0 victory over Stoke City, controlling 57 percent of the possession and outshooting the potters 23-9. Taking West Ham's place in the drop zone is Carling Cup winner Birmingham City, which fell 3-1 to fellow strugglers West Bromwich Albion on Saturday. Just three points now separate 13th from 18th, so few clubs in the bottom half of the table will feel safe at this point in the season.

Liverpool 3, Manchester United 1

Wolverhampton Wanderers 3, Tottenham 3

Birmingham City 1, West Bromwich Albion 3

Arsenal 0, Sunderland 0

Bolton 3, Aston Villa 2

Fulham 3, Blackburn 2

Newcastle United 1, Everton 2

West Ham United 3, Stoke City 0

Manchester City 1, Wigan Athletic 0

Monday: Blackpool v. Chelsea

SPAIN

If there is a formula to beat Barcelona, it may be the one used by the USA to beat Spain in the 2009 Confederations Cup: Defend with 10 men behind the ball, get some heroic goalkeeping, and be sure to score on the one or two chances you get in the game. The problem with this formula, which Switzerland also used effectively against Spain in the World Cup, is that if the team employing it doesn't convert its chances into goals, or has even a momentary lapse at the back, it's doomed. That's what happened to Real Zaragoza on Saturday at Camp Nou. The visitors happily conceded 82 percent of the possession to Barca, opting to park the bus in front of the net and rely on 'keeper Toni Doblas, who made 11 outstanding saves in the match. Unfortunately for Zaragoza, the club's back line allowed Lionel Messi to get to the end line and pull the ball back across the face of goal for Seydou Keita to poke it home. The visitors then squandered their only real chance of the game when Florent Sinama-Pongolle had his break-away effort saved by Victor Valdes.

Hercules 1, Almeria 2

Levante 1, Espanyol 0

Malaga 0, Osasuna 1

Sporting Gijon 2, Getafe 0

Athletic Bilbao 2, Sevilla 0

Racing Santander 1, Real Madrid 3

Mallorca 1, Valencia 2

Barcelona 1, Real Zaragoza 0

Atletico Madrid 3, Villarreal

Monday: Deportivo La Coruna v. Real Sociedad

ITALY

Inter Milan has been on a hot streak since firing Rafa Benitez and replacing him with Leonardo, but Inter's run up the table has coincided with another club's Serie A climb. Udinese hasn't lost since the Italian league came back from its winter break on Jan. 6. The club is 8-0-3 in that time, and has climbed within a point of Lazio for the Serie A's final Champions League place. Udinese's 1-0 victory over Bari on Sunday was less impressive than its 7-0 demolition of Palermo last week, but it still counts the same in the standings, and it brings the club to an even 50 points on the season.

Sampdoria 2, Cesena 3

Bologna 2, Cagliari 2

Chievo 0, Parma 0

Fiorentina 3, Catania 0

Inter Milan 5, Genoa 2

Napoli 0, Brescia 0

Udinese 1, Bari 0

Lazio 2, Palermo 0

Juventus 0, AC Milan 1

Lecce 1, AS Roma 2

GERMANY

Not only did Hannover's victory against Bayern solidify the club's position in the Bundesliga, the win also kept it two points off the pace of Bayer Leverkusen for second place. Hannover now has 47 points, while Leverkusen has 49. Next week, Hannover will have the chance to pull provisionally into second place on Friday with a win over mid-table Cologne. Leverkusen has a much more difficult task next week when it travels to Mainz on Sunday. Neither Cherundolo's club nor any of its rivals for Champions League qualification is likely to catch Borussia Dortmund for the Bundesliga title, but the league's runner-up spot is an important one, because it grants automatic entry into the Champions League group stage.

SC Freiburg 1, Werder Bremen 3

Hamburg 2, Mainz 05 4

Borussia Moenchengladbach 2, Hoffenheim 0

Eintracht Frankfurt 0, Kaiserslautern 0

Hannover 96 3, Bayern Munich 1

Nurnberg 5, St. Pauli 0

VfB Stuttgart 1, Schalke 04 0

Bayer Leverkusen 3, VfL Wolfsburg 0

Borussia Dortmund 1, FC Cologne 0

FRANCE

This weekend was a tale of two days in France. On the first day, Saturday, it seemed almost impossible for anyone to score. Only four goals were scored in seven matches, producing four 1-0 victories and three scoreless draws. On the second day, Sunday, only hapless Arles couldn't find the back of the net, and just three games produced 12 goals, three times the league's Saturday output. Leading the way was Lyon, which dropped Arles 5-0 to climb back up to third in Ligue 1. Also on Sunday, leaders Lille defeated Marseille 2-1 and Bordeaux downed Brest 3-1.

Brest 1, Bordeaux 3

Lyon 5, Arles 0

Marseille 1, Lille 2

Caen 1, St. Etienne 0

Lorient 0, AS Nancy Lorraine 0

Montpellier 0, Stade Rennes 1

Nice 0, Lens 0

Toulouse 0, Sochaux 1

Valenciennes 0, AS Monaco 0

AJ Auxerre 1, Paris St. Germain 0

——————-

What did you think of this weekend's results? Think Arsenal has a chance to catch Man United? Rooting for Hannover to hold onto a Champions League spot?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in European Soccer. Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to European Weekend Rewind: Liverpool downs United, Inter Milan rolls and more

  1. DC Josh says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed watching United get smacked down yesterday. Two losses in a row brings Arsenal back in the hunt. It’s not exactly parity, but I’ll take it.

  2. bizzy says:

    The Bolton vs Aston Villa game was horrible and MB still didn’t get minutes. You get no playing time, on a team as disoriented and that lacks luster like Aston Villa and yet you are still being considered for the USMNT?? With players like Holden, Dempsey, Jones, Donovan, Chandler, Edu and even Spector (never thought I’d say that in my life) playing at a high level right now Michael Bradley should be lucky if he sees the pitch at all.

    He was coming off the bench in the latter months for Borussia Mönchengladbach which a lot of us said was because they were going to be relegated and he was looking else were, which now seems like they need someone to spark the midfield and he wasn’t it. Then you go to Aston Villa, a team with a disoriented midfield with the exception of a few players and bench warm.

    His name is always tagged with “one of the best midfielders we have”…….where??? Skill and value cannot be suppressed, you report on station and handle business, and the perfect examples are Jones and Donovan, and even Spector, because he just changed positions in a league as complexed as the EPL and is getting minutes in Midfield EVERY WEEK, at a tough time when West Ham is trying to lift themselves out of the relegation zone.

    And we try to always compare him to Edu…..but in terms of was Speed, Strength, dribbling Skills, ball control, Aerial Abilities, vision…..??? Determination…..heart……???? Let’s comes to terms with reality Bradley is nothing more than an average player with a daddy that’s the coach of the US National team. If you are no good enough to start in midfield for a team as currently as disoriented as Aston Villa, you are definitely not ready to command the midfield of the UNITED STATES MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM.

  3. bizzy says:

    haha..sorry about all the errors…

  4. Shane says:

    Bizzy, so Bradley has had advantages because of who his daddy is. Get over it. He is trying to break into the first team at a new club with a manager who sets his American players up for failure (Lichaj anyone). Its only been two months. Look at the number of times Dempsey was benched at Fulham and had to win his starting spot back in a midfield weaker than Aston Villa’s. Fact is Bradley’s european career on a whole has been more successful than any other midfielder with the exception of maybe Dempsey. His stats in the Bundesliga were superior to Jones’ and he’s around seven years younger. That being said, I would like to see him on the USA bench with Dempsey, Donovan, Holden, Edu, Jones, and Spector all ahead of him. I consider them all more exciting players.

  5. Andy says:

    Bizzy. I actually thought the Bolton-Villa game was a good, entertaining EPL game. Reo-Coker did a solid job against a good Bolton midfield and Delph wasn’t bad either. MB can’t be expected to just show up and start in a team with as much midfield depth as Aston Villa; he’s going to have to earn his time and that will take some time.

    He’s still safe for the Nats, for now at least. Edu is playing, but the SPL is not a top 10 league. Spector is getting some PT, but is hardly a consistent starter. Jones is starting and playing well but on a team going in the wrong direction.

    Is there more pressure on MB? Certainly. Holden is playing very very well and Bob should put him on the field. With a continued striker weakness, if Bob were to play our best players, we would play only one striker and a midfield of Jones, MB, Holden, Dempsey, and Donovan (4-2-3-1 for example).

    Spector may have earned a bench spot, but getting occasional PT in a team that’s spent most of the season at the bottom of the league, and in a position in which he has no international minutes, doesn’t warrant replacing someone proven in that position, at this level.

  6. kplonka says:

    Thank you Shane. Seems like USMNT fans are very quick to turn on players, especially Bradley. I think there have been a lot of games for the national team where he has been the best player on the pitch. The only thing I disagree with is I think he deserves to be ahead of Edu and Spector… unless he continues to not get any playing time at the club level.

  7. Mike says:

    I don’t see how AV had a disoriented midfield. I believe Bradley was brought on not to make an immediate impact this season, but to see if he fits into their long term plans. AV already had Petrov, Reo-Coker, Bannan, Makoun, Pires, in CM. Furthermore, the Jones to Blackburn situation is not comparable. There was an immediate opening for DCM at Blackburn, no such opening existed at AV.

  8. jmac says:

    There is still plent of games left for United to secure the title. Very unfortunate game, playing without Vidic and Ferdinand, the former being the main reason United has been in first for most of the season. I imagine Nani will be out for sometime, so add Jim to the injury list in the midfield with Valencia, Anderson and Park.

    And all of the “United gets all the calls” needs to stop from this point forward. Luiz should have been sent off, extremely soft penalty call at Chelsea, and then carragher splits Nanis leg wide open.

  9. aristophanes says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think the title is just as much Arsenal’s to lose. If they win out – including beating Man Utd at the Emirates – then the title is theirs. So really, it’s Arsenal’s to lose.

  10. DC Josh says:

    Rafael should have been sent off as well for his knee-high tackle.

  11. jmac says:

    Doesnt United lead on goal differential?

  12. aristophanes says:

    Arsenal has a game in hand. So if they win every game, including at home against Man Utd, they win the title. Even if Man Utd wins every game as well, except for the Arsenal match.

    United also still has to play Chelsea. They’ve got a tougher run-in.

  13. Warren says:

    I agree MB is being positioned mainly for a role next season. And season isn’t over yet, he could be starting even this week, who knows.

    Considering our defenders were leaking goals within 5-10 minutes every game it seemed at WC; and our strikers never – struck; if you were a middie you were by definition one of the USMNT’s best players.

  14. jmac says:

    The Rafeal situation probably would never had happened if the referee had handled the Carragher situation properly.

    Bottom line- these sort of situations – derived from erratic refereeing – is largely why Sir Alex (and other good coaches such as Mourinho) publicly work the referees. You will most likely get bad calls againtst your team when you are on the road, and that sort of gamesmanship can level the playing field.

  15. away goals says:

    And arsenal still host liverpool and have spurs at white hart lane.

    I don’t think the spurs match has been officially rescheduled yet, but it could end up deciding the champion and the last champions league spot.

  16. aristophanes says:

    Depends what you mean by parity.

    If you mean having the title come down to the wire including a bunch of teams, that’s not really realistic. It’s hard for there to be that kind of parity over the whole season, as relatively minor advantages add up and are compounded over the year.

    If you mean different teams winning the title in different years, then yeah… the EPL is lacking there. But consider that paragon of parity, the NFL. If the champion was determined by regular season record, then every champion in the last decade would be either the Patriots or the Colts. That’s worse than the EPL!

    One-off tournaments to determine season champions increase parity, but mostly through illusion.

  17. L Zegarra says:

    Hi Shane, just curious, what stats are you referring to?

  18. L Zegarra says:

    you made an excellent point.

  19. L Zegarra says:

    I think MB has a work rate for the game unequal, the problem that I see is that for all the intangibles that he brings to the game he still no better than Jones and maybe even Edu IMHO. I feel that Holden should be our central mid with Donovan and Dempsey on the flanks. MB will be in the NATS that for sure, I’m just not convinced he should be in the starting 11. I wish we could get to see Jones and Edu play together once, if they do gel better then MB goes to the bench, if not, then BB can make a case to have MB starting.

  20. bizzy says:

    the Bolton- Villa was entertaining but the play was sloppy and first touches were terrible (even the anouncers made comments…)

    Edu is playing in the SPL..so what? He’s faster/quicker on the ball, stronger, more lethal in the air, can shoot with both feet (his attributes made him a candidate for CB!!!). An example about the team levels in UEFA… SPL is better than the championship league(hope you agree!!), but Newcastle were in the championship last season…why are they ahead of Everton, Fulham, Westham etc that are seasoned teams and they just got there??? Why didnt the 3 teams that came up automatically occupy the 3 bottom spots till they “fit in” so to speak…..Because the levels are not that great.

    2010:

    -Stevenage (league2) beat Newcastle (EPL)

    -Southampton (league1) beat Blackpool (EPL)

    -Leeds(league 1) drew with Manchester united (1st EPL) (but beat them the following year)

    MB was coming off the bench for Borussia Mönchengladbach(a team about to be relegated..talk about going in the wrong direction!!) in the latter months and now is seeing no action what so ever and he should play CM, and be the coordinator of our offensive because…..??? Especially when we have seasoned MF like Holden, Jones and Edu. I’m not saying MB’s a bad player, it’s just that If you are getting no playing time (BB’s rules),if you can’t play for Aston Villa (can’t even come off the bench to actually play) you shouldn’t start, better yet control the offensive for the USMNT, period

  21. DC Josh says:

    Yeah both Carragher and Raphael should have been sent off. There is very little protection of referees on the pitch anymore. I can’t help but feel Phil Dowd was intimidated by the situation, similar to Howard Webb last July in South Africa. And Ferguson refusing to speak to the media is very childish, unless there was a legitimate reason.

    Major changes are needed with officiating. There has to be some sort of system implemented. For instance, only captains can argue with refs over calls, any other player who gets in the official’s face will be cautioned. There is very little respect for officials since 80% of the calls are based on opinion, and the other 20% fact. Also, officials should meet physical requirements. A ref with a beer belly will never be able to be in the correct position to make a call because he will be behind the speed of play.

  22. Shane says:

    Hi L Zegarra. I should have said stat. His goals per game ratio is better than jones’ in the Bundesliga. But in general I think his career in Europe and the Bundesliga is more impressive or at least as impressive as that of Jones even those he’s a number of years younger. And Bradley has much more international experience in important competitions than Jones, something to consider given Jones’ fiesty tendencies.

  23. DC Josh says:

    With a full-strength roster (minus Charlie Davies), I would like to see how this works…

    ————-Howard—————
    Dolo—–Gooch—-Ream——Boca
    ———-Jones—Bradley———
    Donovan——-Holden——–Dempsey
    ————-Jozy—————

    …with Dempsey having the freedom to push forward behind Jozy, Bradley being a box-to-box, and Jones as an exclusive defensive midfielder. Jones is our best D-mid, can cover a lot of ground laterally, while Bradley offers more getting forward.

    However, you could insert Edu for Bradley and I don’t think you lose anything. Edu needs to move when his contract is over because he is better than the Scottish Premier League.

  24. Shane says:

    As a fan I’d rather have Jones, Edu, Demps, Donovan, Holden, and yes Spector in the MF b4 Bradley. Bradley’s game is just kind of ugly in comparison to them. However, then there is the reality. Bradley has made some crucial goals for the USA. His two goals v. Mexico in the WC qualifier were huge and his goals v. Slovenia in the WC, Egypt in the Confed Cup, and Costa Rica in the WC qualifier were a part of major combacks for the USA. He scores crucial goals so until the USA has someone up front who can reliably produce, I think we should be reluctant to sit him in major competitions.

  25. Shane says:

    Why does everyone put Jones ahead of Bradley. I’m not arguing, just curious on the reasoning.

  26. bizzy says:

    He’s more successful than Jones?

    MB has 76 appearances for Gladbach and scored 10 times

    Jones, a defensive midfielder, has made 154 appearances for Eintracht and Schalke 04 (senior teams only) and still put up 17 goals with 2 major injures (leg injury that required surgery, out for 8 months and Muscular hairline crack injury, out for majority of the 2009–10 season)

  27. Erik says:

    DC

    Only captains are supposed to talk to the ref as it stands. I think Dowd had a very good game and it was hilarious to watch him just stand back and observe the players going at each other. Afterwards, he doled out cards accordingly.

    Maybe Carragher should have got a red card, maybe Rafael too, but how many games have been ruined by quick red cards and diving by players like Nani? Nani did get a cut on his leg, but somehow managed to get up, walk to the ref, show him his leg and then fall over in pain while crying and hitting people trying to help him. What a joker…

  28. Erik says:

    Because most people haven’t seen him play for an extended period of time. Don’t get me wrong, I like Jones and has an attitude that we could use against the Mexico’s of the world, but he’s just a “new” face that people don’t really know about.

    I would be curious to know how many people on this site watch German football and for how long. He’s been a beast for years yet it wasn’t until he switched sides did anyone notice him.

  29. shane says:

    No it’s not worse than the EPL diddly-brain. You cant compare the two. With divisions and conferences teams dont ever have the same schedule. Plus season schedules are weighted based on the prior seasons performance. NFL parity is not an illusion. The EPL’s excitment comes in the form of relegation, who wins the league is a big yawn. Guess you’re one of those eurosnobs refusing to accept any sort of American innovation when it comes to soccer.

  30. L Zegarra says:

    I’m not convinced Gooch is our best “current” CB, in my opinion Goodman has a better ground game.

  31. L Zegarra says:

    my reason is because he has a better ground game, he can distribute way better than MB meaning we have more possession which translate to more changes to attack and maybe score. I believe Jones is also a better defender, I think MB is better in the air and can ran all day long. Jones is 5’11, MB 6’2, MB is about 5/6 years younger so is upside is better. Jones will probably only be good for one cycle tops. IMO I think this is Jone’s time to make the most impact.

  32. jmac says:

    Maybe he deserved a red card? I think you are the joker…

  33. Der_Amerikanische_Kaiser says:

    Ives – Matthew Taylor scored a brace for RWA in the 3.BL. He is 5th in scoring. Granted it’s not the 2.BL or BL, but when is the last time a Yank was in the top 5 goal scorers abroad?

  34. Erik says:

    I’ve seen worse tackles with no card… maybe prancing ponies like Nani should wear better shinguards.