Every silver lining has a cloud
This isn't so much a coherent post as a riot of thoughts on this weeks action. First up, Messi. Out for six weeks with a torn bicep in this left thigh. This is nothing short of disastrous for the blaugrana who face third placed Villarreal at home on Sunday evening. Given that he sat out most to the game at the Calderon at the weekend, one has to question the decision to start him against Celtic, a match that was over before a ball was kicked (and should there have been any doubt, 120 seconds in, Xavi put any such notions to bed with yet another fabulous gol). Despite Madrid's recent stumbles (more on their loss to Roma later), they're still five points ahead and without Champions League or Copa Del Rey games, will surely give it their all in la Liga. That said, and while they may have a reasonably straight run-in, it's Espanyol who visit the Bernabeu on Saturday evening and Madrid are still without Sergio Ramos (suspended), Ruud, Salgado and Robben (injured). Ex-blaugrana Javier Saviola and hot-and-cold Dutch midfielder Sneijder are back in the squad which also includes a half crocked Canna. Espanyol are well capable of beating them, especially with Ramos out and the midfield so lacking.
Anyway, more of Madrid later. I only watched the first half of the Barça Celtic game given that Milan and Arsenal was 0-0 after 45 minutes and promised a little more in the way of a contest. While I'm not about to get all Kevin McCarra and eulogise the Gunners, they looked as good as they did at the beginning of the season. They were simply quicker, fitter and younger than Milan, who looked totally bereft of ideas in the second half, endlessly punting the ball up the middle to no-one in particular. This is the sort of result that's been coming a long time now for the Milanese, who may not even make fourth this season given their poor form and the resurgence of Fiorentina. They could easily take seven or eight of their players to the glue factory, many of whom, Serginho, Cafu, Kalac, Favalli, Emerson to mention just a few are well past their best. Maldini too, at 39 needs to call it a day. While he's easily one of the best players ever to kick a football he's just too old.
On Wednesday I suffered through the Real-Roma game, watching pointless foul after pointless foul, Roma's defense constantly giving the ball away, Real completely lacking in midfield and upfront, Aquilani playing like a man possessed, Vucinic completely changing the game when he came on and leading from the front, Pepe being sent off for an unbelievably stupid second yellow card and Real only starting to play when they went 0-1 behind. It was a pretty awful game (don't believe about the hype about Roma, Madrid were rubbish), very stop-start and littered with mistakes. A clever side like Liverpool would have taken Roma to school and punished their pratting around. As it was, Madrid just fell on their ass and never looked like winning.
I rounded off my futbol-tastic week with about fifty minutes of Spurs-PSV. Tottenham have improved a great deal under Ramos but wow they have a long way to go. Far too many long balls, Lennon is still selfish and incapable of delivering a good cross and PSV ought to have won about 0-3. I wouldn't fancy Spurs chances in Eindhoven.
And that's about your lot folks. Expect team news about the Villarreal game sometime on Saturday.