By Mac Izu Nelson
It was another amazing weekend in the footballing world and the cream of the crop was Manchester city’s narrow 2-1 victory over Arsenal.
As the match ensued, I also bore witness to the Spanish league slug fest that was the match between Leganes and Eibar. It was a match riddled with mediocrity, and goals conceded from sloppy mistakes. It only served to pronounce what is already a gulf in class and entertainment value, between the English leagues and other leagues.
But before all the Sunday drama, before my La Liga stimulated torpor and headaches, was Saturday. Saturday saw premier league leaders Chelsea stretch their lead at the top, garnering a total of 43 points from 17 matches played. Elsewhere, champions Leicester city rallied to come from two goals and a man down against Stoke city, to earn a point at the Britannia. Later on, Van Arnholt continued David Moyes’s Sunderland resurgence as he scored the only goal to give Sunderland the much needed 3 points, earning plaudits for his performance afterwards. Saturday in the premier league ended with Manchester United securing all three points against an abysmal West Bromwich Albion. The Swede, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, scored both goals as the chase for the golden booth intensifies.
Elsewhere in the Italian league, Ac Milan played out a very drab draw with Atalanta F.C. Juventus continued their fine season by securing a 1-0 victory against dark horses for the title, AS Roma while Empoli beat Cagliari 2-0.
In the German Bundesliga, Friday saw Borrusia Dortmund draw 2-2 away to Hoffenheim. I was particularly impressed by the performances of Ousmane Dembele and Mario Götze. Ousmane was electric in the final third, making incisive runs that created space for his team mates. The space he created by one of such runs was capitalized on by Pierre Emerick Aubemeyang for Dortmund’s first goal. Despite being a man down and despite the late onslaught by Hoffenheim, Dortmund rallied to hold on for a well deserved point although the remain well off the pace in the hunt for the title.
Saturday in the Bundesliga saw RB Leipzig continue their fine form with a 2-0 win over Hertha Berlin, while Augsburg secured a 1-0 victory over Borussia Moenchengladbach. On Sunday, Bayern Munich regained top spot as they beat Darmsdadt 0-1, while Bayern Leverkusen, surprisingly, lost to Ingolstadt 1-2.
In La Liga, Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid beat Las Palmas courtesy of a well taken Saul Niguez strike while Sevilla continued their stupendous season by walloping Malaga 4-1. On Sunday, Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Andrés Iniesta were in sizzling form as Barcelona produced a masterclass in attack to beat Espanyol 4-1 thereby narrowing the gap to Real Madrid who has a game a game at hand to three points.
Then Super Sunday came, carrying in its goodie bag the much anticipated spectacle that was Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City against Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal. The first twenty minutes of the match saw Arsenal spring right off the blocks. In those early minutes, they were on the front foot, harrying Manchester city’s defensive duo, and the ponderous Fernando.
It was no surprise when in the fifth minute, Bellerin ran almost forty yards before laying the ball off to Alexis Sanchez. Sanchez produced pure football pornography as he deftly spun his markers before laying a pass off to Theo Walcott who artfully slid the ball into the bottom corner of the net.
The second half saw a complete shift of tides. It was Arsenal’s turn to be overwhelmed and this writer watched with an unimpressed smirk when Leroy Sane was allowed to ghost past the wide eyed but unseeing Arsenal defenders.
For City’s second goal, the midfield maestro that is Kevin De Bruyne produced a jaw dropping cross field pass which nestled at Sterling’s feet. Ten seconds later, Peter Cech was picking the ball from the back of his net. The match ended 2-1 in City’s favour amidst some controversy regarding poor officiating.
Tottenham, also fought back from a goal down against Burnley to win 2-1 with goals from Dele Alli and Danny Rose securing victory.
Finally, on Monday Liverpool drew the curtains on the football weekend by coming up top in the Merseyside derby against Everton. The first half was a thoroughly nauseating affair that played out without a single shot on target (only the second time that is happening this season). In the second half, the match came to life when Firmino’s volley was saved. The match looked to be hurtling towards a draw but in the 94th minute, Sadio Mane produced a tap in after Divock Origihad earlier hit the post sending the cloud to raptures.
And thus ended another amazing footballing weekend. Cheers.