Are you offended by this gesture? Please email your complaint to thefa@youarenotdoingagoodjobfightingracismandeveryonebutSirAlexcanseeit.co.uk Image: Michael Regan/Getty Images Europe.
Only in football can the refusal to wear a t-shirt cause more of a furore than a fan running onto the pitch during a televised game and heroically smacking the unsuspecting opposition ‘keeper in the face.
Here’s our round-up of the European leagues, with a generous side of scorn and a hot, lemon scented towel.
You’ll need that.
England – Premier League, Championship
Shola, has anyone ever told you what happened to Steve Morrow? No? Nevermind. Image: Stu Forster/Getty Images Europe, scmp.com.
If the FA were hoping to draw a line under the racially charged damp squib that was their international break, Sheffield Wednesday’s 1-1 draw with Leeds was not the most auspicious of starts, with fans exchanging taunts about child abuse and murder, before Chris Kirkland was assaulted by a marauding ‘fan’, who upon identification, turned out to be banned from every football ground in the country.
Having proved themselves untrustworthy to carry the TV torch, the Championship popped the bits into a carrier bag and handed it to the Premier League. The lunchtime kick off had expansively coiffed Spurs boss Andre Villas Boas face former club Chelsea, and after the historic victory at Old Trafford recently, there was a real sense his team could do a job against the European Champions. It was a valiant effort, but 4-2 to the visitors was a fair result given Gareth Bale’s last minute withdrawl and Juan Mata making excellent use of the suddenly spacious midfield.
Meanwhile, Rio Ferdinand was warming up at Old Trafford for Manchester United’s game vs. Stoke City in a DHL t-shirt. This is important, because he should have been wearing a ‘Kick It Out’ campaign t-shirt, as confirmed by his boss the day before. Apparently, Sir Alex is not sympathetic to Ferdinand’s skepticism that the FA are really trying to work against racism in the game (see Suarez/Evra, Terry/A Ferdinand for more details) and is more concerned that Ferdinand embarrassed him.
In actual football news, West Ham trounced Southampton 4-1, Edin Dzeko saved Manchester City’s blushes with two late strikes vs. West Brom and Arsenal’s inconsistency in front of goal enabled Norwich to pick up their first win of the season. Delia was thrilled.
Germany – Bundesliga
Speaking of horses… Image: Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images.
Borussia Dortmund’s poor form in the Bundesliga continued, a 2-1 defeat to rivals Schalke 04 being the least of their problems. 200 people were arrested in pre-match clashes with fans that required water cannon, horses, dogs and probably the most savage attack elephants the police could find, to bring it all back under control.
Dortmund are currently twelve points behind title rivals Bayern Munich, who are comfortably astride the top of the table after battering Dusseldorf 5-0. Promoted Eintract Frankfurt are just five points behind them after beating Hannover 96 3-1.
Spain – Liga BBVA
Me? Why do I always have to sort it out? Image: MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP/Getty Images.
Radamel Falcao’s goal was the difference between three points and one for Atletico Madrid on Saturday, and not many people would argue against the assertion that he’s the reason Los Rojiblancos find themselves sharing space with Barcelona at the top of the table. Barcelona picked up their points the hard way though – a 5-4 victory over Deportivo La Coruna, whose desperation to haul themselves out of the relegation places was only curbed by a Leo Messi hat-trick.
Valencia did manage to pull off a points snatch; late goals from Tino Costa and Nelson Haedo Valdez giving their team a vital 3-2 victory and Athletic Bilbao a huge problem. They’re seventeenth, despite retaining the services of Fernando Llorente in the transfer window. He’s reportedly heading for Arsenal in January, but didn’t make it off the bench at the weekend. The two incidents are not believed to be linked. (They are).
Italy – Serie A
Massimiliano Allegri. Got Teeth, may Chatter. Image via forzainterforums.
The SideEyeSport office suspects that the wider Massimo Allegri’s grin gets, the closer he is to the sack. He looked like he had moved into full, uncontrollable rictus on Saturday before AC Milan were defeated 3-2 away at Lazio, and given that Milan have once again emphasised their backing for him, expect Hellraiser-level teeth baring before Saturday’s home game vs. Genoa.
Inter are joyfully capitalising on their rival’s poor form, Antonio Cassano and Rodrigo Palacio scoring in their match vs. Catania. They’re in fourth, just about in touch with leaders Juventus, who wrestled three points off Napoli to stay top.
If we missed a league you follow, give us a prod and we’ll stick it on our to-do list. Whether we actually get there or not is another matter, but at least you’ll feel better about it.