Despite what you may think - there’s a world of football outside Aston Villa. Jake’s here to find his voice, air his thoughts and have a glance of the goings on outside of Villa Park.
A week of international friendlies capped off by a very dull weekend club-wise. Villa continue their boring form that has been going on since the slaughter of the Wolves. Seems at this point the playoffs are a given, I kind of hope now Fulham can overtake Cardiff so we don’t have to go through them in the playoffs.
Now, into the recap of the week as a whole. The not-qualified US squad played Paraguay in a friendly, and this super young American squad actually didn’t look half bad. The average age I think was like 22 years old, and the youthfulness showed in the play. The energy level was one that I haven’t seen from the US in forever, and that could be because of the competition to get noticed at this age, but it also could be a forecast into how we start to play, hopefully getting rid of Big Kicks FC, like we used to play. Young MLS star, Tyler Adams had a game to note, earning the penalty for the sole goal of the game, slotted home by Bobby Wood. Former World Player of the Year, George Weah had his 17-year-old son, Tim, debut for the red, white and blue, as the PSG kid hopes to follow in his dad’s footsteps, and by all means I’ll be okay with that.
Brazil got “revenge” for the World Cup embarrassment (okay I know it was nowhere near the same level but you know what I mean), as Gabi Jesus shows what he can do and Brazil beat Germany 1-0 in what I can see as being the World Cup Final this summer, pending the bracket working out.
Spain’s A/B team whooped Argentina’s B-side 6-1, in what looks like a big deal, but then if you take a look at who was missing, you understand that the term “friendly” seriously applied in these lineups. I expect better from Argentina, obviously, but when a 33-year-old from the Argentinian league gets his first international cap, I don’t think they’re going to compete much with the Diego Costa’s and Isco’s of Spain’s friendly squad.
A blank middle of the week was wrapped up Friday with Championship games, basically all of which, the result hurt Villa.
Saturday morning, President-elect of Egypt, Mo Salah (once again, not really, but over 1 million people in Egypt crossed out both nominees for president and wrote in Salah) scores yet another clutch goal for Liverpool as they squeak by Palace’s early pen and win 2-1.
The middle of the day was all over the place, from league to league. West Ham skunked Southampton, who might surely be headed down now. Manchester United got the job done against Swansea. Real Madrid also skunked Las Palmas, but the real story out of Spain is the 2-2 draw from Barca and Sevilla. Barca down 2-0 after the 50’, Messi subbed on in the 58’ and of course, the game flips on its head and Suarez and Messi net goals a minute apart in the 88’ and 89’, respectively, to rescue the point and keep the gap between them and Atletico at 9 points, and then to Real at 13 points.
From that gap to the Premier League gap, Man City run rampant on a flat Everton team, and set up the chance to clinch the title super early, this weekend as they host the Manchester Derby. That’ll be one to watch and see if Manchester will turn completely blue this season.
Also in the middle of the day, we talked about Villa and their chances now, it just sort of seems like we’re okay with the place we’re in, and focusing on the playoffs, but it would surely be nice to have a good run of form before they start... At Hull it looked like we were trying to get a lucky goal and squeak by with a 1-0 win, but if not we were okay with the 0-0 draw. Ask my roommate, in the 30’ I looked at him and said it was going to end 0-0...and it did. Let’s see how these next few matches/weeks go for us at Villa.
I’m just gonna mention it to say it for those in the back that missed it, but Bayern absolutely embarrassed Dortmund, although I thought it was the battle of the two top teams in Germany. If Bayern do this to the “second-best team” (I put it in quotes because they are 4 points behind Schalke now, so they’re technically third-best), then they must really be that much better than the league they are in. Wild.
Okay now onto the most exciting part of my Saturday, the MLS... or I think it might actually officially be the MLZ now. Yep, not kidding, the best part of my soccer Saturday was watching soccer in the States, the inaugural LA rivalry game - El Trafico, LA Galaxy, with new signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic (you might’ve heard of him), versus the new kids on the block LAFC, with the likes of Carlos Vela on the side. Vela and LAFC go up 3-0, which they thought would be good enough of a gap while Zlatan was still on the bench...WRONG. Galaxy pull two back, and then it’s Zlatan time. He comes on and scores a crazy goal, even for Zlatan. Off the bounce, volleyed from what looked about 40 yards, over the keeper and equalizing the game in the 77’! Crazy debut from him, doing what he does best, rescuing points...wait...he’s not done. In the 93rd, he uses his brains to not chase the ball as he was offside, and instead get himself into the box where he is most dangerous, and does what I expected, and out-jumps the defender to head home the winner. 4-3, Zlatan has delivered, Los Angeles
Back overseas Sunday morning, Arsenal score 3x after the 75’ and beat Stoke, in a game that looked like Arsenal were already past and focused on their Europa game. Arsenal played weird football most of the match, but got the result and are now on to battling their way into the Champions League next season. Auba with a brace to continue finding his form, and Lacazette comes back and nets the last goal, the second penalty of the game and they win 3-0.
Closer towards the battle for that final Champions League spot, Chelsea lost at home to Spurs, due to Dele’s second half and Eriksen’s bang. A few questionable moments for backup keeper Caballero and Morata’s opening goal was out-shined 3-1 by Tottenham, who now see that gap at 8 points. Looking solid for Spurs odds to be in the CL next season.
That’s really it for this past week, anything I missed must’ve not been exciting, if you want to see those scores, look at a scoreboard because I can’t say it enough, that’s not what I’m here for!! Let’s hope this next week in football picks up, and I’m sure it will because of European competitions. Stay tuned for my next post, previewing the week to come! Reach out to me in the comments!