Controversy out of Barcelona today where fans of RCD Espanyol are livid over the city’s decision to adorn the famous statue of Christopher Columbus with a giant replica of the team’s new shirt design.
The two sides meet this weekend in El Derbi Barceloní. With the Blaugrana already having clinched the La Liga title, the Champions are now setting their sites on equaling Real Madrid’s record mark of 100 points, which the capital side achieved last season. To reach the feet Barca will need to defeat Espanyol at Cornella-El Prat and Malaga at Camp Nou on June 1st.
For 11th place Espanyol, this weekend’s match afforded them little to play for until their neighbors decided to inflame the rivalry. Barcelona’s city council permitted the statute after receiving money from the club as part of a publicity stunt. As part of the deal, the shirt was signed by some of the Barcelona players and is set to remain in place from until June 9th.
The city’s decision to permit Columbus to wear the kit chafes the fans of Los Periquitos, who believe Barca receives far more than their fair share of support from local institutions. Espanyol fan groups, through an official statement, have already said that as a result of the statute they plan to turn their backs and whistle when their team perform the traditional guard of honour to welcome the newly crowned champions on to the pitch.
One Espanyol fan group in particular, @PERICOZ, went so far as to send a Tweet of encouragement to the pigeons of Barcelona to “do what you have to do” on the shoulders of Columbus.
So what do you guys think? Are Espanyol fans serious with this complaint? If so, do they have legitimate beef or is it just sour grapes?
One thing is for sure, it can’t be easy to share a city with the likes of the Catalan giants.
League Cup roundup: Man City, Everton, Stoke knock off Championship clubs
There will be no lower league wonder story in the League Cup semifinals.
Southampton and Liverpool’s marquee matchup in the quarterfinals of the League Cup will hit your screens on Wednesday, but three other Premier League teams booked their spots in the semis with Tuesday wins.
Man City last won the League Cup in 2013, while Stoke last won in 1972 and Everton has never hoisted the Football League Cup. As for Wednesday’s quarterfinalists, Southampton’s last League Cup final came in 1979, while Liverpool most recently won in 2012.
Middlesbrough 0-2 Everton
The Toffees got two goals in eight first-half minutes, with Gerard Deulofeu scoring a goal off a magnetic dribble and shot in the 20th minute and Romelu Lukaku adding another in the 28th.
Manchester City 4-1 Hull City
Steve Bruce‘s Tigers still have plenty of power from last season’s relegation campaign, and planted men behind the ball in hopes of springing an upset on Manchester City. The defense was broken in the first half by Wilfried Bony after just 12 minutes. Kelechi Iheanacho scored late, before Kevin De Bruyne put home two more. Andrew Robertson provided late consolation for Hull.
Stoke City 2-0 Sheffield Wednesday
The Potters got a wonderful left-footed volley goal from Ibrahim Afellay on the half-hour, and that was about all they’d need against the visiting Owls. Phil Bardsley hammered in a low free kick late to insure and ensure the victory.
Given that status, will he be attractive to other Liga MX clubs? Could he fit the plans of an MLS club? At age 23 and without consistent playing time for club, could a European stop be in the mix?
Transfermarkt estimates his value to about $1.6 million, and he comes with valuable international and CONCACAF Champions League experience. It will be interesting to see his destination, should the reports be true, as we continue to weigh what it means to be a U.S. international on the world stage.
Manchester City host Hull City at the Etihad Stadium with Manuel Pellegrini‘s side hoping to have David Silva back in the starting lineup but Joe Hart is still out injured so Willy Caballero will continue in goal. Steve Bruce‘s side drew 1-1 at the Etihad last season when they visited City before being relegated from the Premier League. The Tigers are fighting for instant promotion back to the big-time and knocked out Leicester City on penalty kicks in the last round.
Everton face a tricky trip to the Riverside Stadium as Roberto Martinez and the Toffees play Middlesbrough. Aitor Karanka’s side lost in the play-off final to Norwich last season but are looking good for promotion this term as they sit second in the second-tier and knocked out Manchester United on penalty kicks in the last round. Can Everton sort out their defensive frailties?
A third PL club has a tricky test coming up on Tuesday as Stoke City’s reward for beating Chelsea on PKs in the last round is a home game against Sheffield Wednesday. This will be no stroll in the park for Mark Hughes‘ side as the second-tier Owls comfortably knocked off Arsenal in the last round and this game has “cupset” written all over it.
Below are the fixtures for Tuesday as you can click on the link above to follow all the games live.
League Cup quarterfinals
Manchester City vs. Hull City – 2:45 p.m. ET
Middlesbrough vs. Everton – 2:45 p.m. ET
Stoke City vs. Sheffield Wednesday – 2:45 p.m. ET
Sponsors were originally promised places on the FIFA reform committee. But instead of being invited into meetings discussing the overhaul of the organization, they have only been offered seats on an advisory board which is yet to be appointed.
The sponsors’ letter was sent from Adidas, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Visa and Budweiser brewer Anheuser-Busch to FIFA’s ruling body ahead of meetings this week.