Real Madrid - Barcelona: EL CLASICO
The defining game of the SPL on steroids took place at the Santiago Bernabeu this weekend, and although plenty thought that Real could pull off a win (even I did), Barcelona dominated the galactic match. While some may chant Messi's name, or Pedro's (the two goal-scorers), I proudly chant Xavi's name, the Spaniard who for me is the best midfielder currently playing. After setting up Messi with a sublime chip in the 33rd which the Argentinean controlled and coolly slotted home, Xavi proceeded to dominate the match with what could be called a "buttery" display of passing. Pique had little trouble containing Ronaldo, and Real Madrid had trouble creating and finishing the few chances they had. After the interval it was my favorite midfielder that did all the tough work again, Xavi played a wonderfully weighted ball to Pedro who finished past Casillas, crushing any Real hopes of a comeback. Although Barcelona didn't dominate the match to the extent they did at Arsenal in the first half of the first leg, or other matches, the Catalans realized that much wasn't needed to beat a rather disorganized Real Madrid. Barcelona now take first spot in La Liga, three points ahead of Los Blancos, but basically four due to the head to head result being in Barca's favor.
In Italy, Roma are top of the Serie A after taking advantage of Inter Milan's 2-2 draw at Fiorentina, Inter have a tough schedule ahead and will face Fiorentina away again in midweek, then go against Juventus, followed by Barcelona in the following midweek. Roma on the other hand got a 2-1 win over Atlanta mostly thanks to Atlanta's goalkeeper Consigli not being able to hold an average shot by Vucninc. The Roman's doubled soon after with a header from Cassetti, but they risked being scored on twice by Tiribocchi who could only tuck home one goal. AC Milan haven't taken advantage of Inter Milan's slip up yet again, they were only able to draw 2-2 against Catania, who to their merit played a great match, but AC Milan came back from two down in the second half thanks to a double by Boriello. Bologna Lazio was filled with fantastic goals, and the match ended with the grand scoreline of 3-2 for Lazio, this is surely a match to check out the highlights for because some fantastic long range goals were scored by both sides.
In England, while Chelsea advance to the final of the FA Cup after beating Aston Villa 3-0 at a slippery Wembley pitch, Manchester United were only able to draw 0-0 against Blackburn, without Rooney United were lifeless, and the chances were few and wasted. There were two other 0-0's, Liverpool vs Fulham ended with a goalless draw, and so did Wolverhampton vs. Stoke, and a match which could've ended 0-0 for West Ham was saved by Ilan's goal as the Hammers won 1-0 against Sunderland. Manchester City look comfortable in fourth spot after thrashing Birmingham 5-1 as Tottenham lost to Portsmouth in the FA Cup semi-final 2-0, letting Pompy go on to the final against Chelsea. Another big scoreline affected the relegation zone, Burnley came back from a goal down against Hull City to win 4-1, and the last goal was a peach by Elliott, a wonderful curling free kick which nestled itself into the far corner.
In Spain, Atletico Madrid continue their erratic season after losing 3-0 away against Espanyol, although they aren't performing well in the league, Atletico are doing well in the Europa League and are set to play Liverpool in the semi's. Valencia lost against Mallorca 3-2 as the gap between the two teams is only 5 points now, Mallorca are looking for Champions League football next year, and this result was important for their chances. Sevilla drawn on points with the Islanders after beating Malaga 2-1 thanks to a late goal by Lolo.
What do you think of this week's results? Was Xavi as buttery as I thought he was, and is he the best midfielder in the world for you? Comment below!