Tuesday, October 7 th, 2014
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Football migranti. Pellé's fantastic scissor-kick, Cerci struggles to integrate
The bomber from Lecce impressed with a spectacular goal vs QPR. In the meanwhile, Balotelli, Borini, Cerci and Immobile had a featureless weekend
by Jem Bosatta
Mario Balotelli & Fabio Borini, Liverpool vs Everton (H) 1-1
In Daniel Sturridge’s absence through injury, Balotelli has made himself into a regular first team member of Brendan Rogers’ league lineup and on Saturday made his fourth start in a row in the Merseyside derby. The match was predictably fraught with tension as it always is between those fierce rivals and Balotelli was frantically active, taking ten shots (six more than the next contender) but failing to score. Four were blocked, four were off target and only two got Tim Howard’s gloves dirty. However, the work rate exemplified is promising for the media bad boy. Fabio Borini still hasn’t convinced at Anfield and this week was pushed off both the first XI and the substitution priorities, with Rickie Lamberts  replacing Balotelli late into the game instead of Borini coming on.

Graziano Pellè, Southampton vs QPR (H) 2-1
Pellè’s fifth of the season stole headlines, stunned the internet and most importantly won his team the match after a neat Charlie Austin equaliser for the Londoners. Finding himself just inside the box with his back to goal and with a defender on his shoulder, he received a downward header from team-mate Dusan Tadic which he flicked up to head height and flipped himself over spectacularly to scissor-kick into the far corner. It has to be seen to be believed; it seems like the Italian giant is already bound for the Goal of the Season shortlist.

Emanuele Giaccherini and Vito Mannone, Sunderland vs Swansea (H) 0-0
Sunderland have not scored in 266 minutes of league football and Giaccherini’s injury has done nothing to help that, not yet even available as a substitute. The Tynesiders are also yet to win a league match. To Mannone’s credit, he has not conceded in 232 minutes against some impressive goalscoring names and he is yet to surrender his place on the teamsheet to Costel Pantilimon, the summer signing from Manchester City. Having said that, he only had to make on save on Saturday.

Ciro Immobile, Borussia Dortmund vs FC Schalke 04 (A) 1-2
Jurgen Klopp’s Lewandowski-less Dortmund side have gathered seven points from six games, are on a goal difference of -2 and sit at 12th in the league. The Pole’s replacement from Torino FC, Ciro Immobile, has only scored one league goal all season and this week was substituted in the 57th minute, having mustered only three shots. So far he is yet to fill his predecessor’s (admittedly large) boots.

Thiago Motta & Marco Verratti, PSG vs Toulous (A) 1-1
The French champions had to settle for their fifth draw of the season, meaning they are still in fourth position after eight matches. Coach Blanc experimented with the formation this week, leaving Motta on the bench and putting Verratti at the base of a midfield diamond with Cabaye, Matuidi and Pastore. Verratti once again was the best passer on the pitch, covering his half and the central area effectively and even registered his first assist when he fed Bahebeck in the 33rd minute from deep in the middle of the midfield.

Motta emerged in the 72nd minute with two other substitutions but could not affect a disappointing scoreline for the Parisians. Blanc’s choice to select his three French midfielders ahead of Motta may have been to rest his legs for midweek or perhaps to answer dressing room splits between the French and the rest – or the criticism levelled by Jeremy Menez only recently, who said “to play regularly at PSG you have to simply not be French”…

Alessio Cerci, Atletico Madrid vs Sevilla (H) 4-0
Cerci is having similar integration problems to those his Torino ex-partner in crime Immobile, except that while Klopp is eager to continue to play the latter, Madrid boss Diego Simeone is unforgiving in his treatment of the former. Rumoured physical problems coupled with lacklustre performances off the bench this week meant he didn’t even make the bench against Sevilla – and look how well the team did without him.


Tuesday, September 30 th, 2014
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