Messi strikes again as Barca crushes Getafe

Updated 11 February 2013
0

Messi strikes again as Barca crushes Getafe

MADRID: Lionel Messi notched up his 35th league goal of the season as an understrength Barcelona strolled to a crushing 6-1 home win against Getafe that put them 12 points clear at the top of La Liga yesterday.
Alexis Sanchez and David Villa made the most of a rare place in the starting lineup with goals either side of Messi’s strike and Andres Iniesta, Cristian Tello and Gerard Pique were also on the scoresheet as Barca racked up a 20th victory in 23 matches to move on to 62 points.
Atletico Madrid have 50 points in second place ahead of their game at Rayo Vallecano, four ahead of third-placed Real Madrid, who thrashed Sevilla 4-1 at the Bernabeu on Saturday. “We are not going to repeat all the praise we have showered on him (Messi),” Barca sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta said in an interview with Spanish TV broadcaster Canal Plus.
“Alexis and Villa gave us a lot of speed and created spaces and showed they are also capable of putting the ball away,” the former Barca and Spain goalkeeper added.
“Some of the players who don’t feature so often were very impressive.” Barca’s interim coach Jordi Roura, standing in for Tito Vilanova who is recovering from throat surgery, rested several key players for Getafe’s visit to the Nou Camp, including Spain trio Pedro, Cesc Fabregas and Sergio Busquets.
Unusually, Barca had been handed the midday kickoff slot but the unfamiliar starting time failed to dampen the players’ hunger for victory in front of more than 85,000 fans thronging the giant arena and enjoying the sunshine.
Alexis struck in the sixth-minute, Messi made it 2-0 seven minutes later and Villa put the game well beyond Getafe, who are 12th on 29 points, with a third just before the hour.
As Getafe started to wilt, Messi surged forward and laid the ball off for substitute Tello to curl in a fourth 11 minutes from time before a mistake from Jordi Alba let in Alvaro Vazquez to pull a goal back for the visitors in the 83rd minute.

Iniesta, who caused Getafe constant problems with his pace and guile, picked up a loose ball and fired in from close range in the 90th and Pique rounded off the party in the second minute of added time with a tap-in from Thiago Alcantara’s unselfish layoff.


Why even the #WengerOut brigade should lament Arsene Wenger's exit from Arsenal

Updated 20 April 2018
0

Why even the #WengerOut brigade should lament Arsene Wenger's exit from Arsenal

  • The Frenchman revolutionised the game in England across all leagues, not just the Premier League.
  • After initial success he found the going tough in the second half of his reign, but will still go down as an all-time great.

Over the past few seasons it has been fashionable to view Arsene Wenger as some sort of figure of fun — a man living in the past, left behind by the modern game, but too stubborn to realize it.
In time, though, even the most ardent, frothing-at-the-mouth #Wenger Out believer would have to agree that the Frenchman will go down not just as one of the best managers Arsenal have had, but also among the greatest in English club football.
As with any caricature, there is a hint of truth in the picture created, crude as it sometimes is. Yes, Wenger’s past few years at the Emirates have been painful to watch. Yes, he was stubborn when it came to both activity in the transfer market and belief in his methods and tactics. Yes, it is fair to say he leaves the club, on the pitch at least, in a bit of a mess. And, yes, he should have left two or three years ago.
But if there is one thing that any sane fan should remember about Wenger’s 22 years as Arsenal boss, it is this: He was a game-changer, a manager who oversaw not only a revolution of the Gunners, but also of the English game.
As soon as Wenger landed in England in 1996, he banished Arsenal’s Tuesday drinking club and munching of Mars bars — in their place came stretching sessions and broccoli. Hardly profound or radical in today’s game, but this was the era when change in English football invariably meant no pies and pints on a Friday night.
The technical, passing, possession football that is now the norm for any side with ambitions to remain in the Premier League, let alone win it, and the idea that eating vegetables rather than a tub of lard would help player performance, were brought in by Wenger alone.
He won the double in his first full season in charge, signed unheralded foreign talent such as Emmanuel Petit and Patrick Viera — who went on to become world-class players — and created teams that were a joy to watch, culminating with “The Invincibles” of 2003-04, who won the Premier League without losing a match.
The irony is that the one-time revolutionary ended up being viewed as a throwback, a stuck-in-the-mud anachronism; a manager who harked back to a time when playing with the owner’s chequebook was not seen as the only path to success and when paragraphs were favored over 140 characters.
And that perhaps explains why so many Arsenal fans seemingly wanted him gone: Wenger is not of the Twitter generation, of instant opinions for the 24-hour news agenda and of hype over humility. The man who was once seen as the future stuck to principles that were deemed as belonging to the past.
It is clear there is a lot of bad blood at the club — a ridiculous Facebook post by an Arsenal fan claimed Wenger’s announcement he was leaving made it the “greatest day in Arsenal’s history.”
But for all the bluster and nonsense, Wenger’s legacy will be that of “The Invincibles” — one of the greatest club sides of modern times; of beautiful football played at pace and with artistry; of being a decent, yet flawed, man who was never anything but articulate and courteous.
Having been in charge of Arsenal for 22 years, he is undoubtedly the last of a kind, and in the era of trigger-happy owners, short-term fixes and sensationalism over stability, that is something everyone, even the #WengerOut brigade, should lament.