What to Watch This Weekend (Feb 12-14)

February 11, 2011 — by Suman

Here are a bunch of matches to watch over the next few days–a few on Saturday, one Sunday, and one Monday.  Which takes you right up to Tuesday…and the start of the Champions League Round of 16.  Bananas.

As always, all times ET, and a hat tip to WaPo’s Soccer Insider for posting the weekend listings every week.

Saturday, Feb 12

England, Manchester United-Manchester City 7:30am FSC: Manchester derby! Early in the morning! This is a big one–City is but 5 points behind Man U, after the latter finally lost last weekend.  See here for squad sheets.  Also, Mancini denies he is Italian.

England, Arsenal-Wolves 10am ESPN2: Why?  Because we have so many Gunners fans among us, because it will be interesting to see how they rebound after the debacle last Saturday at Newcastle, and because it will be interesting to see if Wolves can pull off two upsets in a row.  They just might.

"If Villa comes anywhere near my touchline during the game, I might just bite him"

Spain, Sporting Gijón-Barcelona 2pm ESPN Deportes: Not only because one should watch this year’s Barcelona side at every given opportunity–but also b/c we have a thing for Gijón, Manuel Preciado, and his moustache.  Another storyline here: David Villa is from Asturias (the son of a miner) and started his professional career with Sporting Gijón B at the age of 18 (1999-2001) before playing for the A team (2001-2003), followed by stints at Real Zaragoza (2003-2005) and Valencia (2005-2010).  Read this column by Sid Lowe from April 2009 about Villa and his relationship with Gijón–no, really, read it now.  For instance: ” ‘If Villa comes anywhere near my touchline during the game, I might just bite him,’ declared Sporting’s coach, Manolo Preciado, ‘but before and after, I’ll give him a hug. He’s the best player in this club’s history, after Quini.’ ”

Italy, Roma-Napoli 2:30pm FSC: We told you to watch Inter-Roma last weekend, and hopefully you did, as it was perhaps the game of the year in Serie A.  Unfortunately the result wasn’t good for Roma, as they fell further back in the table, in 7th place–10 points behind AC Milan, and 7 points behind 2nd place Napoli.  Here’s a chance for Roma to climb back in the race–or conversely, for Napoli to keep the heat on Milan (and stave off Inter, who are now only two points behind them!)

Sunday, Feb 13

England, QPR-Nottingham Forest 8:30a FSP: Take a peak at the Championship. Why? Why not? Well, these two are currently #1 and #2 in the table, so there’s a good chance one or both will be in the Premier League next year.

Italy, Juventus-Inter Milan 2:30pm FSC: Derby d’Italia! Juve needs a win to stay afloat (they’re currently in 8th place, one point behind Roma).  Meanwhile, Inter is hot as fire since Leonardo took over in December, and he has them “playing a brand of Brazil-like attacking football

Monday, Feb 14

England, Fulham-Chelsea 3 p.m. ESPN2: Torres, Demspey & Dembele, Valentine’s Day..


Real Madrid Squeak Past Gijón

November 15, 2010 — by Sean1

Yo tengo una tía que toca la guitarra!

Madrid kept their season motoring along with a determined win against a stubborn Gijón over the weekend. Gritty defending from the team ranked just above the relegation zone made Madrid work hard to find entry, and the goal only came late in the match, with Higuaín tapping in a deflected Benzema header right at the goal mouth.

Notable absence at pitch-side was Jose Mourinho, who is serving a two-match ban for abusing the officials in his last outing. The camera occasionally focused on him high in an executive suite, where he looked generally unhappy. He’ll be back in time for El Clásico, no worries.

Otherwise it was a plain affair, made a bit livelier by some guardian insight on facial hair:

For those who don’t know him, Manolo Preciado has the most magnificent moustache known to managers. The kind of thick, bushy facial foliage you could hide a family of badgers in, a tache that completely covers his lip. And that’s saying something because the Sporting Gijón coach has a lot of lip. He’s also got a lot of heart; he probably would hide a family of badgers in there if he thought it would help. He could hardly be earthier if he swallowed soil daily, lighting up a crafty fag on the back row of the dugout before steaming up and down the touchline like a wind-up toy, punching the air. But not before he’s turned it blue. And this weekend he helped turn it bluer than ever before.