Over the Weekend – Jon le Miserable, Game of Cards & Barça enroute Invincibility

The weekend in football proved quite eventful, with Lucas Moura’s debut at PSG overshadowed by a straight red to Thiago Motta for a reckless challenge as PSG only managed a goalless draw at home to Ajaccio.

However, the Brazilian’s delight at being a Parisian couldn’t be dented as he declared how he is enjoying life in one of the world’s fashion capitals barely over a week after arriving. That’s his first weekly wage paid talking I presume.

While Moura’s enjoying life at the moment, Jonathan Walters must however be feeling miserable still following a stellar performance for Chelsea against Stoke City. The problem is, Walters plays for Stoke.

Having been bullied throughout the first half; Ramires and Eden Hazard have testimonies I’m sure, Walters’ diving header under pressure from Juan Mata gave Chelsea the lead just before half time.

It was most unfair on Begovic then when Walters extended Chelsea’s lead with a cushioned glancing header early in the second half. The Stoke keeper twice denied Frank Lampard superbly from close range, but could do nothing to keep the veteran from the penalty spot – and uncle Frank never misses those.

Hazard scored a peach to wrap up a sublime second half for Chelsea but Walters, on the contrary, had the chance to get a consolation for Stoke and indeed himself from the penalty spot. He missed. Watching his spot kick crash off the crossbar and out of play, thus completing what was a sordid afternoon for Rugby FC.

Visitors from España
Still in the Premier League, Vicente del Bosque was at Merseyside to watch Michu do onto Everton what he’s recently done to high profile opponents alas, the closest he came was a lobbed effort which Tim Howard tracked back to tip onto the crossbar and out for a cornerkick.

Swansea’s bargain buy was substituted soon after Del Bosque had seen enough, and you could tell señor Michu wasn’t quite pleased, most probably at his inability to score. He did have a good game although it was his manager that oddly got more press afterwards.

Michael Laudrup’s stock keeps rising and the former Danish international, who is aging well by the way, felt Michu would get a call from Spain… and even suggesting teammate Chico Flores could get one as well in place of Carles Puyol.

But that’s not why he got more press afterwards, it was the fact that Madridistas had voted him to third in a poll to ascertain who they would like to see as Jose Mourinho’s successor.

Quite the impression really made by a manager in only his first season in the Premier League but then again, he once was a Real Madrid player so they’d know. Who knows, could be their Guardiola. Suddenly, keeping Michu may not be Swansea’s only headache at the end of this season, more so if they got to dump Arsenal of the Cup this midweek.

Mourinho
That said, the pressure piles on Mourinho more and a below-par goalless draw at relegation threatened Osasuna left the champions 18 points behind archrivals and runaway La Liga leaders Barcelona.

Two polls with Madridistas, first to know if they still want Mourinho at the helm before that to ascertain who his successor should be, clearly indicates Mourinho’s days are numbered at the Bernabeu.

And frankly, even if he won the Champions League – which would be an impessive feat considering the quality of competition ths season – it wouldn’t save him from being fired by Madrid’s high echelon who have done so for managers that did better than Mourinho has done.

Barcelona
While Real Madrid dabbles in internal squabbles and on-field debacles, Barcelona stay smooth sailing their way to the league title, easing to a 3-1 success at Malaga and setting a record for best half season ever.

The Catalan side have now gained 55 points out of 57 points contested for; 18 wins and one draw at home to Real Madrid, and look scaringly unbeatable in Spain at the moment. Advice, consult Celtic for a Scottish remedy.

Otherwise Tito Vilanova’s side look good to go the season unbeaten, though it actually is still early to imagine they would. I hope they do, as Juventus did over at Italy last season. Wonder how special Arsène Wenger would feel after that…

Game of Cards
And Wenger wonders a lot. From how he knew Robin van Persie would be a huge success at (a direct rival in) Manchester United to reckoning that Cesc Fabregas would one day return to play for Arsenal, Wenger stays being… not exactly delusional but… let’s just say he hasn’t outrightly lost his marbles.

He did look very flustered after Laurent Koscielny’s romantics on Edin Dzeko earned the Frenchman a straight red; which I still feel is harsh considering how early in the game it came, and pretty much screwed Arsenal’s day.

Starting Diabytes didn’t help matters as well as that Frenchman was out of pace throughout his time on the field, having only regained fitness from a three month injury layoff. So why Wenger rushed Diaby back instead of going easy as he did with Wilshere? I don’t know.

Wilshere could’ve played the holding midfield role instead of Diaby or Francis Coquelin. Maybe Aaron Ramsey even, maybe. That said, only Coquelin is a natural defensive midfielder out of the five mentioned which begs the questions “why not get a natural DM?” and “Must you always convert a player to what he isn’t?”

Many would easily tell of Thierry Henry’s success, Kolo Toure’s as well and perhaps, Theo Walcott soon but let’s be honest, it fails more times than it succeeds when he tries to convert a player. Wenger indeed may sadly have lost his marbles afterall.

If he hadn’t, Yann M’Vila would be with Arsenal about now to put some stability from that holding midfield position. Alas, this Frenchman could be at another side of London pretty soon with QPR reportedly set to get him for around £8m.

From a lofty fee of £24m during the summer transfer window, that’s quite a crash of value but M’Vila’s ability cannot be overlooked that easily and it would be Wenger’s and Arsenal’s major loss should he join the Royals.

With that, it’s a wrap. The Australian Open commenced earlier today, a much welcome ‘distraction’ from football if you ask me. Would be interesting to see if an upset can be pulled off in this first week.

There’s also the FA Cup replay at the Emirates between Arsenal and Swansea. Thankfully tickets won’t be from £62 [N16,000] like against City but still, prices would be more than what’ll obtain for the FA Cup final… Arsenal sha!

Hustle good to afford such tickets and have a great week ahead.

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