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Sam Barclay Woodlands '07

Soccer Senior Writer.
Born and raised in Basildon, England. Huge Tottenham Hotspur fan!

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106

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135

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110

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107

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103

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Joined:
August 10, 2014
Last login:
January 18, 2016
Posts:
158
Comments:
67

It was another intriguing El Clasico, as they usually are, given the vast array of top class talents that both sides possess. The Ronaldo v Messi duel wasn’t as prominent as previous meetings, despite the Madrid winger scoring his seventh goal in eight visits to the Nou Camp and the diminutive Argentinian showing glimpses of his outstanding ability. Neither star took control of the match or outshone the other, largely because of the stop-start rhythm that marred an otherwise exciting spectacle.

This fixture has a reputation for mixing the incredible talents with head-shaking histrionics and play acting, which was in overdrive tonight. Eleven yellow cards were shown; ranging from horribly miss-timed tackles to the shameful rolling around under any touch from an opposition player. A match that was threatening to become an end-to-end thriller eventually petered out into a tame second period thanks to the pettiness.

But in terms of football, Gerard Pique and Jeremy Mathieu were the stand out performers for the hosts with rock-solid displays, while Luka Modric and Karim Benzema played very well for Real. The same can’t be said for Gareth Bale however, as the Welshman was non-existent after half time and couldn’t effect proceedings going forward. He wasn’t helped by Dani Carvajal dropping deeper to counteract Neymar’s pace on the break, which left him isolated on the right wing for a majority of the match.

in Barcelona Edge El Clasico To Go Four Points Clear
3/22/15, 6:46 PM

Another terrific night of Europa League action with Everton impressing in particular. Their demolition of Young Boys in Switzerland will surely see them into the last 16 as the Toffees have four away goals in the bank. Lukaku was back to his best after a rough time in front of goal, while Gareth Barry had his best performance for a very long while in midfield. Its a mystery as to why Everton can’t replicate this performance in the Premier League, although the amount of room they were afforded tonight is not becoming of the domestic league.

Mario Balotelli’s upturn in fortunes continued as he notched another winner, but the manner in which he ripped the ball away from captain Jordan Henderson has caused quite a stir. To be fair, if you’re going to do that then you have to score and he did, so in my eyes he did the right thing. Balotelli has an incredible penalty success ratio and to roll it in for the winner only further justifies his actions. The uproar is nothing more than people jumping on it because it is Balotelli.

For Spurs, they should be taking a handsome lead to Fiorentina next week after a terrific opening thirty minutes. Soldado was excellent upfront and his goal was a measure of what he can bring. But a series of misses from Bentaleb, Paulinho, Soldado himself and most notably, Chadli, left the door open for a sucker-punch which Basanta delivered. If ever a player didn’t deserve to score then that was it as the Argentine was torn apart for large spells and never really got to grips with Townsend or Walker.

in Europa League: Last 32 First Legs
2/19/15, 5:53 PM