The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Week 12

It has been a crazy week in football with so much happening on and off the pitch. On this week’s good, the bad and the ugly we feature Maradona, River Plate, Liverpool, Tottenham and, of course, Joey Barton. Click on the links to find out more about these stories

Good

Liverpool beat Chelsea 1-0 at Stamford Bridge to end the London side’s 86 match unbeaten home record to move top of the Premier league table. Xavi Alonso scored the winning goal in a game in which the Reds were always in control. Can Liverpool go on to win their first title in 18 years after such a morale-boosting win?

What a difference a week makes in football! Spaniard Juande Ramos was fired by Tottenham last weekend and replaced by Englishman Harry Rednapp who had been in charge of Portsmouth. In his first match Tottenham win their first game of the season and then three days later earn a 4-4 draw with old rivals Arsenal after a remarkable comeback. To cap it all off the club announce plans to build a new 60.000 seater stadium. Still bottom of the Premier League but maybe the corner has been turned.

Since only picking up one point from their first two matches, La Liga side Barcelona have moved into second place after demolishing Almeria 5-0. They then beat Benidorm in the Copa del Rey to stretch their winning streak to ten matches. Good times for Pep Guardiola and the Catalan fans.

I can’t believe it, but hats off to Joey Barton for his performance against West Brom for Newcastle on Tuesday night. Spat at, booed and jeered when he appeared against Sunderland at the weekend, he stepped up and took a crucial penalty which put struggling Newcastle into the lead. Apparently he grabbed the ball from Obafemi Martins he was so confident. That took guts. Good for Joey and the victorious Magpies.

He is back. 48 year old Diego Maradona is to be appointed the new manager of Argentina which has caused shock waves around the footballing world. Though many doubt he has the experience to be a successful international manager, I for one think it is an inspired decison. Maradona is held in such high esteem among fans, journalists and more importantly, the players, that his presence alone will inspire them on. Put your money on Argentina to collect the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Bad

Maradona is set to become Argentina’s next coach, a move which could end up in tears. The former footballing genius has had serious health problems in the past, and you have to wonder how he will stand up to the stress and strain of one being under the spotlight in Argentina – with its notoriously passionate fans. He may have been a great player, but it’s been nearly fifteen years since he last managed a side, Racing Club in 1995. Can he hack it? Tears and heartache ahead I think.

Staying in Argentina it has been a bad week for Argentinian powerhouse River Plate after their 1-1 home draw with Newells Old Boys saw them drop to the foot of the table. Their fans jeered them off the pitch and manager Diego Simeone was so incensed he hurt his hand punching the dug out wall.

Ugly

Damon has already congratulated Joey Barton for not appearing in the ugly section but it was the fans of Sunderland who did so this week after they invaded the pitch and fought with police after their first victory over Newcastle in 8 years.

Brazil and Argentina are great footballing rivals, so it’s no surprise there is a lot of passion when their club teams meet in competitions such as the Copa Sudamericana. However, things got a little out of hand when Palmeiras hosted Argentinos Juniors in a quarter-final game and had two players sent off in the last two minutes and started fighting with the opposition. Juniors won the game 1-0 but it was an ugly finish for the Brazilian side.

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