Normal service resumes!

The all too familiar #ManchesterUnited of the last 3 years reared it’s ugly, boring head again as an insipid 1-0 loss away to #WestBrom compounded by the uncharacteristic and entirely reckless red card (2 yellows in 3 minutes?) to #JuanMata, leaving them in 6th on the table after a breathtaking fightback by #WestHam from a 2-0 deficit at 10-man #Everton to win 2-3 moved the Hammers up to 5th. While United were toothless and inferior from the sending off, the reality is that they looked no better while they had all 11 men on the field, with little in terms of energy and creativity. #Liverpool were quite unlike them as they came from 1-0 down and with 10-men at #CrystalPalace to win 1-2 thanks to a late #Benteke penalty, leaving them just 3 behind United in 7th. The energy and creativity that the 10 men of Everton, Arsenal and Liverpool showed, made #VanGaal’s men look especially bad as they just gave up after being reduced to 10. What is it about this game week – Everton, Arsenal, Liverpool and United all had a man set off, mostly from a genuine brain-fart.

With #Tottenham and 10-man #Arsenal sharing points in a 2-2 at the #Lane thanks to a late #Sanchez goal, the game week belonged to unlikely leaders #Leicester, who won away at #Watford 0-1, thanks to a brilliant strike by POY candidate #Mahrez, sending them 5 clear at the top and continuing favorites to pull off one of the miracles of the modern #PremierLeague. #ManchesterCity thrashed the utterly useless and relegation-bound #AstonVilla 4-0 at home and with a game in hand, still remain 10 points behind the Foxes.

The #Klassiker in the #Bundesliga was a fabulous affair in the first half and then fizzled into a 0-0 draw as leaders #Bayern kept their 5 point lead intact at #Dortmund, while in the #LaLiga both #RealMadrid and #Barcelona flexed serious goalscoring muscle as a 4-goal #Ronaldo helped Real to a 7-1 thrashing of #Celta and the usual #Messi / #Suarez goals gave #Barcelona a 0-4 stroll at #Eibar, while in the #SerieA the unbelievable come-back run by champions #Juventus continued unabated in a 0-2 win at #Atalanta, leaving them 3 clear of #Napoli.

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The soft underbelly!

Like clockwork, #Arsenal’s title challenge almost always comes undone by March and almost always by their soft spine, letting in soft goals against generally average opposition (3 by a #United ‘B’ team 2 days ago and 2 by #Swansea today) and operating with goal-shy strikers. Today’s 1-2 loss at home to the visiting Swans means the #Gunners have lost their last 3 games in a row and sit 6 points behind leaders #Leicester. They go to #Tottenham this weekend and after today’s 1-0 upset loss away to #WestHam, title-chasing Spurs will be a very tough place take any points from for #Arsene’s men. His usual season ending blame game has already begun – too many games, bad calls, United’s ‘B’ team still cost millions and so on.

#Liverpool got sweet revenge against #ManchesterCity for their #CapitalOne final loss the other day by thrashing the Citizens 3-0 at #Anfield, seriously denting their title hopes – they are now 10 behind Leicester, albeit with a game in hand. What’s more worrying for them however, is that #ManchesterUnited have now drawn level on points with them in 4th after their hard fought 1-0 win at #OldTrafford against #Watford thanks to a sublime #Mata free kick. The Hornets could have scored 3-4 goals if they had any semblance of their early season finish and #VanGaal’s young pups suddenly find themselves in the top 4 race again – for now. #Stoke climbed up to 7th thanks to a #Shaqiri goal, defeating #Newcastle 1-0 and leaving them firmly in the relegation zone.

Over in the #Bundesliga, mighty #Bayern were upset by #Mainz at the #Allianz arena 1-2 and #Dortmund won away at #Darmstadt 0-2 to *gasp* come within 5 points of the Bavarian giants, bringing an entirely false premise of a title race.

#RealMadrid finally got a 1-3 win at #Levante helping them reduce the gap at the top 9 points from #Barcelona, an almost meaningless endeavor to be honest, but a win they so desperately needed.

And finally, high drama in the #CoppaItalia semi-final second leg in Milan, thanks to #Inter coming from a 0-3 first leg loss at #Juventus to beat them 3-0 after extra time and take the tie to penalties, only to lose 3-5 after a penalty miss by #Palacio. What would have been an unlikely go at silverware for #Mancini’s men will likely now end up being yet another frustrating and disappointing season, unless they can turn their current form and make a run for the #ChampionsLeague spots.

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