Old Futbol Buffet–The Reds Beat The Reds
Last week the last four of the Coppa Italia were determined. Juventus put Roma to the sword 3-0 at Juventus Stadium and Marco at Juventiknows gave his comments, which were positive. The Old Lady faces off against AC Milan over two legs in the semis with Napoli andSiena on the other side.
Moving on to the weekend . . .
Liverpool 2 Manchester United 1
Friday night I had a small poker party at my house, which didn’t run too late but complicated me getting up at 7:30am ET to watchLiverpooland Manchester United in the FA Cup. When I got up, I started executing my media blackout, which consisted of cleaning the house, doing research on La Liga news and taking Larry to his floor hockey game. After lunch I was still in the clear but in checking facebook, it all went wrong as one of the pages I follow had a headline: Ferguson, I can’t believe we lost. So that was that.
I still went out to the pub to watch the replay with a Liverpool fan who had tried to watch the game live, but a) he woke up late and missed the first 20 minutes and b) his satellite went out just before the decisive goal. So we watched the game, both knowing the result, and I couldn’t quite believe what was happening. United played well, much better than the league game at Anfield a couple of months ago. Valencia continued his rich vein of form, rattling the post, and causing havoc on the right wing. But then Liverpool scored off a corner kick. De Gea pushed Carroll out of the way to create space for himself but then Carrick, who I blame for the goal, ducked, allowing Agger to score. The game became more balanced but United equalized shortly before halftime as Rafael shook off Jose Enrique (which ensured he will be cut from Spain’s Euro 2012 squad) to square the ball for Park, who amazingly finished it off.
The second half was more in United’s favor without many clear cut chances. Liverpool made several changes and reorganized the team to more of 4-4-2. I don’t know that it changed the game too much, and the winning goal was basic and straightforward with a huge gaffe. Goal kick lumped up, headed on to Kuyt, who Evra completely lost track of, and he whacked it past De Gea, who probably could have done a little better. And that was that.
In the end, the aging and hardworking midfield did ok; thought the backline was decent, with Evans doing pretty well against Carroll; Welbeck was not playing the same game as any of his teammates and hurt the cause; Valencia’s influence fading the second half; substitutes were meh, with poor Berbs getting like 30 seconds to make impact. I still don’t know why Rooney and Nani were not even on the bench. I don’t feel the surge coming this season and United may endure a trophyless season.
Zonal Marking broke down the game as follows:
There were essentially two games here. One was 4-5-1 v 4-5-1 for 75 minutes, when United were better because they had better passers in midfield. The other was 4-4-2 v 4-4-2 for 15 minutes, whenLiverpoolgot the winner because they had a big centre-forward more suited to more direct football.
My plan on Saturday had been to take Larry over to friend’s house and watch the Juventus game and the second half of the Barcelona game. It was clear after lunch that this wasn’t happening because Larry’s friends were embedded at our house. I tried to watch the game from home but after seeing about five minutes and trying to figure out why Juve were wearing their pink kits at home, my air card from work went on the fritz. So I was left to follow both games on twitter.
Juventus beat Udinese 2-1 to stay atop the table. Looks like Matri put his poor couple of games behind him to score both goals. According to the lineups and confirmed by Zonal Marking (summary here), The Old Lady went with a 3-5-2, and was able to dominate possession. Once they went up at the end, they were able to close out the game.
The Men in Blazers gave their impressions of Fox Soccer’s Epic Sunday coverage, talked about Liverpool and Chelsea’s struggles, and Rog interviewed Judah Friedlander. Have no idea how much of their banter was serious or sarcastic but hilarious nonetheless.
David Beckham was on the Dan Patrick Show this week to talk about his new MLS contract. He seemed so down to Earth, talking about his family and living in LA and discussing American sports, but I wonder how much it was real and how much was a PR shield.
Sean Mann from the newly formed Detroit City FC was on the Pitch Invasion podcast to talk about the how the team came together and their goals for the upcoming season. The result of civic service and the Detroit City Futbol League, this is a great story with right blueprint of growing the team: building supporter culture and community involvement. Something well worth checking out.