Monday, 1 December 2008

Weekend round up

Now, before I get into the whole round up of the weekend games that matter to me, I have to just say, I am a total jinx to any team I support once again. Gone are the days of the Euros when I could wear my Spain shirt and they STILL won. Now, every time I pull on a team shirt, they suddenly seem to forget what winning is. For the evidence, I present to you the Valencia game against Real Betis last night

The first half, I can't really give a detailed report on because I was at work and therefore didn't watch it. However, I was reliably informed by Sky Sports that Valencia were the better team, had more possession, more chances and overall deserved their 2 goal lead. The first was scored on 10 minutes by Dahveed (and yes, I did see the goals). It was his first goal from open play in over a month, and it was a great goal. As much as I love him though, I have to admit that Mata's goal totally blew me away. He basically ran through the entire Betis defence and scored. So, when I got home to the news that Valencia were 2-0 up, I was obviously ecstatic. I ran into my room, threw on my Valencia shirt and settled down to watch the second half.

Within 10 minutes of the restart, Betis had got a goal back. Not too much longer after that, Marchena got a red card and Betis had a penalty, giving them a chance to level the scores at 2-2. Emana duly hit the back of the net. Before I report on the rest of the game, I would like to take a moment to give a special mention to the dickhead of a referee who gave that penalty and left my boys down to 10. Firstly, it was not a goal scoring opportunity. There were 3 defenders and a goalie between the ball and the goal. Secondly, and more importantly - Marchena got the effing ball. Now, in my world (and the general rules of football. Look it up you prat of a referee) that is neither a foul, nor a penalty, never mind red card offence. *takes a moment to breathe*
This is kind of how it went down. 'Oi, you. You got the ball, but have a red card anyway.' 'What? But...but...but...*cries*' And then I come along and shoot him. We'll see how quickly the referee's screw my boys over next time!

Anyway, on with the game. By this point, I was convinced that me wearing the shirt was jinxing them. It used to happen all the time, then Spain broke the curse by winning the Euros and things were fine for a little, but it's business as usual again. Anyway, I went and took the shirt off, left it in my room and went back to watching the game. Lo and behold, not five minutes later, Valencia were a goal up again, Baraja scoring what proved to be the winner. Dahveed also had a brilliant shot (See it here.It's right at the end. The crossbar was still rattling about a minute later, that's how hard he kicked it. Frustrated much?) which sadly didn't go in, and it would have been a great goal, but the final score was 3-2 to Valencia, allowing them to overtake Real Madrid in the La Liga table and move into 3rd spot.

Liverpool had a chance to go clear at the top of the table following Chelsea's defeat to Arsenal yesterday. All they needed to do was not lose to West Ham. Sounds easy, right? Well, this is Liverpool we're talking about. The very definition of complicated. Like Rafa's team choices. In a game we HAD to win to give us some breathing space at the top, he chose to play Sami instead of Dagger. Against Craig Bellamy. Yeah, erm...

Anyway, the game started brightly and it wasn't long until the 'help me, I want to kill this referee' syndrome came into action. This time, Liverpool were denied a clear penalty. I swear, referees and penalties will be the death of me some day. Sami Hyypia missed a golden chance to put Liverpool 1-0 up, his header going just inches over the crossbar. Stevie also missed a good chance 5 minutes later, his free kick deflected over for a corner. Liverpool were certainly the more dominating of the two teams, West Ham barely making it out of their third. The signs were looking good for Liverpool to take the lead at the top of the table, all that was missing was the goal. Craig Bellamy went very close for West Ham, hitting the post in the 37th minute. The first half finished goalless, and as things stood, Liverpool would be a point above Chelsea in the table by the end of the evening.

Aside from the few opportunities in the first half, it was a relatively boring 45 minutes, and we were all hoping for a more convincing performance and a few goals from the home side. Prayers were almost answered on 55 minutes after a great cross from Stevie gave Benayoun a good shooting chance, only for the goalkeeper to spoil the party. Liverpool were ahead in every vital statistic except number of goals. With the score still 0-0, Rafa took off Keane and Riera and put Ngog and Babel on in a desperate attempt to get a goal. It was a defender that came closest again just past 80 minutes, Sami Hyypia heading the ball inches wide and Kuyt unable to get there in time to turn it in. Craig Bellamy made a very dangerous tackle on Arbeloa, and was lucky to get away without a booking. Ryan Babel also missed a good chance to put Liverpool a goal up and with time running out, it was looking less and less likely they'd score. The final score was 0-0. It wasn't the most convincing of performances, and it was yet another game in which Liverpool should have won easily, but were unable to do so.

It was enough to take them to the top of the table, but they're going to have to do much better than that if they want to be challenging for the title this season.


Vanilla Bear said...

I'm so bummed that we couldn't beat bloody WEST HAM! I bet those 2 points will come back and bite us on the arse later in the season >:(