The Early Sub: Cool/Not Cool Weekend (La Liga, Ligue 1, FA Cup, Serie A)

In a another weekend where most sides played league games (against for England). Plenty of shocking moments was laid upon our lap this weekend. Lot’s of stuff to go through, so let’s take a look at who had a good weekend and who had a bad weekend.

Good Weekend: Real Madrid

Real Madrid took care of business over the weekend after crashing to Celta Vigo in Copa Del Rey competition. Real stomped Real Sociedad in a 3-0 showcase that featured yet another Cristiano Ronaldo goal against Sociedad which makes 10 goals in his last 5 against Sociedad. Madrid has also been dominate against Sociedad at the Santiago Bernabeu, winning 8 straight games against their La Liga foes. Los Galacticos sit 4 points clear of the rest of the table after Sunday’s results with Barcelona and Atletico drawing and Real’s clear victory.

Bad Weekend: PSG

PSG had the opportunity to take control of Ligue 1 with a victory over Monaco in Paris. Paris took control late with an Edinson Cavani goal in the 81st minute but an injury time goal from Bernardo Silva at the death saved a point for Monaco and the draw keeps Monaco at the top of the Ligue 1 hill. Adding salt to the wound, Nice got their win over Guingamp which puts them tied at the top with Monaco. Paris have to settle for 3rd.

Good Weekend: Manchester Utd

The Red Devils unleashed their wrath on Wigan on Sunday. In a day of upsets in the FA Cup, United stayed disciplined and soundly topped Wigan convincingly to advance in the fabled English competition. In addition to United’s terrific all around performance, Bastian Schweinsteiger made a rare start and was brilliant. An assist in the first half and a goal in the 2nd half prompted Mourinho after the game to state that Schweinsteiger is staying on the Europa League squad, and that he’s staying at United. Ashley Young is different matter where Watford, West Brom, West Ham, and China call his name. In my opinion, West Brom or China seem like the best options for him. West Ham wouldn’t be so bad either, Watford wouldn’t be too fun though.

Bad Weekend: These Clubs: Watford, Hull, and Leeds

Some of England’s giants fell to minnows over the weekend. Watford were humiliated by Millwall, and Hull were toothless against Fulham. Probably the most embarrassing of all, Leeds United, a Championship side, fell to non-league side, Sutton United. Madness my dudes.

Awful Week: Liverpool

Sheesh. I didn’t think they needed him that much. Like Wolverhampton? Is this real life? Is this the same Liverpool that suffocated Manchester City on New Years Eve? The same Liverpool that was just within earshot of Chelsea and the top of the Premier League? I mean Sadio Mane leaves for a few weeks to play the African Cup of Nations and Liverpool becomes ineffective, slow, and just out of it. Their only win of 2017 has come over Plymouth Argyle of League 2 (which is the 4th tier of English soccer) and they’ve been eliminatated from two separate cup competitions. Luckily for Liverpool, Senegal got bounced from AFCON and it looks like Mane is going to make it back for the Chelsea match.

Good Weekend: Juventus

Nice win for Juventus on a weekend that saw Roma get beat by Sampdoria and Milan fall to Udinese, Juventus soundly swept Sassuolo aside as Juve open up a 4 point gap in the table. Roma was right on Juventus’ tail being only a point behind but their stumble to Sampdoria will have to become overcome. As of now, Juventus can breathe in the Scudetto race.

Bad Weekend: Barcelona

Phantom goal and Suarez magic in the 90th minute aside, Barcelona looked magnificently below par at Real Betis on Sunday. Barcelona had a chance to go top of La Liga before Real’s game with Sociedad but failed to do so with their draw to Betis. In addition to their poor performance over the weekend, Madrid’s win over Sociedad has opened up a 4 point gap in La Liga with Real looking like they have it figured out once again.

Good Weekend: AFCON Semifinalists

Cameroon defeats Senegal in emotional PK’s as Sadio Mane suffers heartbreak by missing a PK and bowing out in the Quarterfinals. Cameroon advances to the semifinals. Egypt defeated Morocco 1-0 in the last round to reach the semifinals. Meanwhile, Ghana weathered the Congolese Storm as the Black Stars advance to the African final four. Burkina Faso advances to the semifinals with a sound 2-0 victory over Tunisia.

Bad Weekend: West Ham

Finally after a prolonged, ugly and emotional fallout, Dimitri Payet has been sold back to Marseille for 25m pounds. Payet returns to Marseille about 6 months after signing a new contract with West Ham that included a loyalty bonus for signing the contract and staying. West Ham fans surely feel betrayed but it was apparent that Payet’s mind and heart wasn’t in East London and he longed for a return to the South of France. There he will be more content and could be more willing to reach the same form he had last year that captured the imagination of the Premier League.

 

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