Just about every league–except MLS–in full swing this weekend. Some match-ups to watch. What will you be hdtv’ing?
• The Ray Hudson Bowl
Real Madrid and Barcelona. Lately this match has become more like a Catholic elementary school game of tag at recess than a soccer match.
Packs of little people running around in close bunches and getting excited, sobbing and running to tattle if they accidentally get knocked to the ground.
And it looks like it could be that way again.
Barca’s starting dwarfs probably deploy as follows: GK: Mourinho’s Best Friend, DEF: Slippy, Pique, Great Mane, MID: Fakie, Crybaby, Complainer, Pingy; FW: Messi, Stumbly, & Freebie.
Meanwhile on the other side of ball, Xavi Alonso’s second cousin was caught sneaking a shank into the Bernebeu and burying it in near the 18-yard box. Turns out it was just a pancake spatula, but given its El Clasico it would have been just as dangerous out there for the waif-like Barca midfield.
Jokes aside, Real have a very good chance in this one. Certainly their best on the Jose’s watch.
Mourinho’s men are playing great team.
however, I can’t help, but think that they are just deficient in the single category that the match-up hinges on. Quickness in tight corners.
They’ve got Benzema (or Higuain), Ozil, DiMaria and Ronaldo and only DiMaria out of the group possesses near-world class speed. Don’t get me wrong. That’s a lot of ammunition for Madridistas to have but against Barca’s keep-away ball?
El Clasico rolls Saturday afternoon. Ray Hudson is already on his third scotch of the day in preparation. Uh-oh.
• The forthcoming Old Trafford Massacre
Whoa is you Wolverhampton.
And quite a conundrum here for Mick McCarthy. A little less than two years ago, the Sam The Eagle look-a-like coach of Wolves brought a “B” team to a midweek affair at Old Trafford knowing that his side had little chance of escaping with a draw at the Manchester powerhouse.
This time around? Sir Alex Ferguson will chum the water and expect his Nemanja Vidic-less minions to grind the opponent into the crowd early, then often.
While the United squad is receiving just vitriol for dropping out of the Champion’s League courtesy of a Swiss team, there was a glaring hole in Fergie’s team this week: no linking, come-get-the-ball and switch-it player in the midfield.
Youch! But not the biggest concern...
FC Baselona allowed their flanks to get beat to a pulp but they stayed narrow and rigid on defense and United simply didn’t switch the ball fast enough to exploit and extend open space.
It’s a big concern for United…and it reminds TSG of Chelsea’s glaring hole with the #10 role last year (they, or course answered that in the offseason with Juan “Yerba” Mata).
Stay vigilant on the midfield point with United here in the next few months.
With Chris Smalling, Johnny “Not-on-the-spot” Evans and even Phil Jones, the Red Devils should be able to contend fairly well with the loss of Vidic, but it’s the midfield with Anderson out until February, Michael Carrick doing his annual now-you-see-me, now-you-don’t routine and Paul Scholes on the speaking circuit indefinitely that appears to be the whole in the site. The lack of a ball rotation specialist may hurt United in their pursuit of finishing as the Premiership tablecloth.