Monday, December 12, 2011

Lifeline to pursuers

Very patchy run at the moment as Man Utd won as predicted, but Dortmund drew for a voided punt, and Real Madrid lost to Barcelona over the week-end.

The game at the Bernabeu could have really gone either way and it was a case of Barcelona realism talking as they took the most of their chances while Real Madrid spurned some great ones, uncharacteristically through Ronaldo. While Mourinho's persistence on the word "luck" to describe Barca's second goal holds water, the same can be same of Real's opening goal. A gift from Valdes. Certainly, had Ronaldo found the net to make it two nil when he only had the Barcelona keeper to beat, the game would probably have taken a different steering as Real would have taken a quite unassailable lead at that point of the match.

So what to make after the Clasico result? With one match still in hand, I still believe that Real hold a minute advantage at this stage. Barcelona have got the World Club Cup competition to address and it remains to be seen how its players will be affected by the congested fixture. It will be a case of which of the two avoids losing points to the rest of the league before the decisive match at the Nou Camp. But clearly, the mental and point advantage that Madrid were enjoying before their defeat has mostly vanished and it is a case of them trying to maximize points by going on a long winning run again.

In the EPL, Man City lost to Chelsea and allowing neighbours Man Utd to bridge the gap to 2 points. The Red Devils look set to start a winning run again after dispatching Wolves. Having Rooney regain his scoring touch must have been a great welcome and will be all too important for them given that they have lost Chicharito for quite a long time. It's still advantage Man City though for many reasons; more complete squad, Utd lost their best defender Vidic for the season, return leg will be at Etihad Stadium.

I still strongly think they are deserving favourites for the title although Utd will not go down without fighting. Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal will only be distant contenders, in my opinion.

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