It was an early Christmas present for Barça fans, while Madridistas discovered coal in their stockings, as Barcelona won 3-0 in this season’s first La Liga version of El Clasico. After a scoreless first half in which Karim Benzema hit the post, and Cristiano Ronaldo had a chance in the box that he missed, Luis Suarez opened the scoring in the second half. The game was effectively over at the 63rd minute, when Dani Carvajal was sent off after using his hand to deny a certain goal for Barcelona in the box, and then Lionel Messi converted the subsequent penalty. This makes Messi La Liga’s all-time leader in goals scored against Real Madrid, with 17 of them in his career. This result takes Barcelona 14 points clear of Real Madrid, and 9 points clear of Atlético Madrid in second place. It would take quite a collapse for Barcelona to give up the title now. There are also now rumors that Zinedine Zidane will be fired if Madrid don’t again win the Champions League this year. Such talk would be crazy at any other club, but at Real Madrid, it’s just par for the course.
After a thorough investigation of the fight that took place at halftime of the playoff game between the New York Red Bulls and Toronto FC, Sacha Kljestan has been suspended for an additional game for his role in the altercation. Kljestan will miss the season opener of next year. This news comes amidst rumors that Kljestan could be on his way to Los Angeles Football Club. It will be interesting to see if news of this suspension affects any potential moves for Kljestan, though it probably wont since the suspension is only for one game.
England has long been criticized for its league not having a winter break, unlike most of the top leagues around Europe. While there is probably merit to the criticisms, there are usually entertaining games over this period. Arsenal and Liverpool played out that way this year, with the teams playing to a wild 3-3 draw at the Emirates stadium on Friday. Liverpool were up 2-0 early in the second half, before Arsenal scored three goals in five minutes to go up 3-2, the second goal involving a really bad failed save attempt by Simon Mignolet. Liverpool eventually equalized to make the game 3-3, and it ended that way. This game was fascinating from a neutral perspective, but surely stressful for fans of either team. Zito Madu of SB Nation describes what watching the game was like from an Arsenal fan perspective.
All of us who celebrate Christmas enjoy giving and receiving gifts. And in the Premier League this year, all teams not named Manchester City could certainly use a gift. Iain Macintosh looks at what would be a good Christmas present for teams in the Premier League.
From all of us at Angels on Parade, we wish everyone a Merry Christmas! Did you get what was on your wishlist?