Juventus Hegemonic While Barcelona Buckle: Monday Review
By Mac Izu Nelson
Football action on Sunday saw a number of upsets all around the globe. From Liverpool’s abysmal showing to Villareal’s staunch resolve.
There were also goals aplenty as witnessed in Juventus’ win over Bologna.
Let’s get to it then, shall we?
1. Juventus Dominant: The Italian serie A returned after a two weeks hiatus and heavyweights Juventus showed no sign of being hung over as they easily dispatched Bologna 3-0. In the league, the last time the Bianconeri dropped points at the Juventus Stadium was the 1-1 draw with Frosinone back in September 2015. The first goal came after an exquisite lob by Miralem Pjanic over the ogling Bologna defence, was met on the spinning half volley by Gonzalo Higuain. The ball squeezed under Antonio Mirante’s body putting Juventus a goal up. Sturaro was brought down in the area leading to a penalty which Paolo Dybala calmly converted. For the third goal, Liechsteiner played a one two with Khedira, raced to the byline and crossed for Higuain’s third goal, a header past the helpless Antonio Mirante.
Juventus entered the record books on Sunday as they became the first team in Seria A history to win 26 successive matches at home. The result sees Juventus maintain their 4 point lead over Roma.
2. Chelsea Progress: Chelsea met Peterborough in the FA cup match yesterday, and there was no sign of a drop in confidence after their loss against Tottenham in midweek. John Terry was restored to the starting line up as was Kurt Zouma who was back after an injury which kept him out of the game for 11 months. Chelsea started the game the more ambitious of the teams and they were rewarded with an early first goal. Pedro scored after Luka Mcgee had saved Nathaniel Chalobah’s powerful shot.
The second came after, from a rare Ivanovic cross, youngster Ruben Loftus-Cheek gave a chest pass to Batshuayi who converted.
The third goal came after Pedro raced clear from a long pass, only to cut the ball back to Willian who curled it into the net. A rare Peterborough attack saw Chelsea concede a goal after skipper John Terry was sent of for a naive foul.
But nerves were calmed when Batshuayi held up the ball cleverly and laid it on to Pedro who played another beauty into the back of the net.
Final score 4-1 and Chelsea progress to the fourth round of the F.A cup.
3. Barcelona Buckle: Six points of title favourites Real Madrid, Barcelona started yesterday’s game in third place and were hoping to jump above Sevilla who lie in second. Without Ivan Rakitic, Barcelona started with Andre Gomes in midfield who was expected to provide a galvanising effect. But his display was ponderous. The excellent Villareal defender, Bruno Soriano, was fortunate not to concede a penalty for a blatant hand ball. And it must have felt like a bit of a double whammy for Barcelona when Soriano intercepted a misplaced Barcelona pass and adroitly laid the ball on to Pato. With his direct running, Pato caused a confused scramble amongst Barcelona’s back three before threading a delicate through ball to Sansone who latched on to it before opening up his body and burying the ball into the back of the net, leaving a helpless Ter Stegen for dead.
All the credit for the Villareal’s goal goes to Pato and all the blame goes to Gerard Pique. Why not step up and be tight?
The 90th minute saw Villareal concede a penalty which Messi scored. The Argentine has single-handedly papered over the cracks for the Catalans in the past but the current squad is playing to poorly for his efforts to count. After Messi scored, Villareal’s goalkeeper spread his hands apart in a gesture that appeared almost like a concession of the Argentine’s brilliance.
The draw means that Barcelona remain in third place, five points off Real Madrid who have a game in hand owing to their club world cup exertions.
In other news, Liverpool was held to a 0-0 draw at Anfield against Plymouth while Tottenham, thanks to goals from Ben Davies and Heung Min Son, progress to the next round of the FA Cup.