I struggled to get through this weeks edition of the Starting XI. A lot of FA Cup matches were played and when Top 4 teams run up the score against league 2 or lower sides it’s difficult finding excitement in that (as a neutral). At the time of posting, I’m looking at updates of whether Jose Mourinho purposefully had Rashford not travel with the team as to “surprise” Chelsea if he’s included in the starting lineup today. That storyline itself has me ready to get back to league action but anyways I’m moving on to the Starting XI.
11 gifs, thoughts and tweets from the latest round of football matches
- This week I’m focusing more on La Liga, so of course that means another game where Real Madrid fall behind early then end up winning the game. I’ll have more on Keylor Navas later but with tough matches still left against Atletico and Barcelona so ensuring they left this game with all 3 points was crucial.
2. After a historic comeback, it’s hard to fault Barcelona for slipping a little in their next match, but being outplayed so much that they lost to Deportivo instead of drawing is pretty bad. I’m not sure what’s funnier the way Depor managed to not score on a 50 yard 3v1 counterattack or the papers linking Neymar’s timely suspensions/injury at this time of year (Stop snitching lol). The title isnt out of reach but the pressure on Real Madrid has lessened considerably.
3. Griezmann scores a fine header to give Atletico the W and just as importantly to give them some space in the 4th and final CL qualifying spot. Villareal are now in 5th and are 4 points back and Real Sociedad are level on points but are in 6th place after losing this weekend.
4. Speaking of the race for 4th place, Sevilla may find themselves there after drawing with Leganes. This is their 2nd draw in a row and with away matches left against Atletico, Barcelona and Real Madrid it’ll be interesting to see if they can stay in 3rd. (Especially with a deep CL run.
5. On to Germany and as I was just about to commend Dortmund for turning the corner, they lose 2-1 to Hertha Berlin. Dortmund were without Reus and had played midweek but Tuchel does himself no favours by rotating his squad yet again.
6. It gets funnier the more you realize how ridiculously lucky/unlucky this sequence is
7. The Bundesliga title race looked like it might be between Bayern and RB Leipzig before the winter break. However with Bayern 10 pts ahead, it looks like another year where they win the title. From here on out, I’m more interested in following the race in Germany for the spots in Europe and the top scorer race. Aubameyang and Lewandowski look like they’ll be taking this one to the wire, the former is ahead by 1 goal. The sleeper candidate would be Anthony Modeste who has propelled FC Koln to the 7th spot with his 19 goals.
8. Liverpool got the win but I think it’s safe to say they aren’t quite over their problems breaking down lesser opposition.
9. I wrote about Nice here, and ended the post by saying they have an outside chance of winning and a good chance of finishing in 2nd. Of course they promptly dropped points with a 2-2 draw this weekend to Caen.
10. The Memphis Depay hype train is decomissioned but I’m lowkey ready for it to start back up again.
11. Keylor Navas giveth away points…
…And Keylor Navas taketh away points
This Week : I’ve mainly been looking up stats for various player & clubs that will feature in upcoming posts which is why I skipped writing last week. From here on out I’ll be posting consistently, starting with a post on a Man City player midweek and then a CL post which will be mainly a review of the matches but also some quick thoughts on the upcoming matches. I’ll have to wait for the draw to post that article but it will be posted sometime on Friday. Thanks for reading!