Good day and welcome to Black & White, my ramblings on a couple of topics that have made the news this week. The Champions League is back, Wilfried Zaha is having a bit of a moan and there was a rather predictable Monday in the Premier League. Let’s get to it.
Champions League double up
There’s still a lot to be said for a Champions League night, though I do think it has suffered a little bit on these shores for ITV losing, firstly their one live game a matchday, but also any form of highlights. It’s not that BT are doing a bad job, obviously getting Gary Lineker on board was an excellent move and the presentation is spot on, it’s just not in every home. Anyway, the change this season sees the fixtures split between kick-off times, so we get some at 5:55 PM and some at 8 PM. To be honest, I’m all for it, it happens with the Europa League anyway and it means I can watch Inter Milan vs Tottenham and PSG vs Liverpool. What’s not to like? Obviously, it’s all about making more money but if you have a product that people like, why wouldn’t you try to find ways to keep it fresh? I don’t have a horse in the Champions League race but it does look like it might be an open field this season now that Ronaldo has moved on from Madrid. The group draw has been pretty decent too, overall, I am looking forward to the Champions League if you couldn’t tell. Bring on that fancy music.
Why always Wilf?
Wilfried Zaha was in a bit of a mood on Saturday, upset that defenders don’t get sent off for kicking lumps out of him. I actually thought the tackle at Huddersfield was a yellow card tackle but there’s no excusing Capoue nearly removing his calf from his leg the other week. Zaha’s main problem is that he keeps reacting and seeing as he single-handedly carries Crystal Palace at times, it’s only natural that opposition fans will get on his back. Add to that, the propensity to take a dive and really it’s no wonder he’s getting booed out of the building. Gary Lineker put it best when he said Zaha should take this treatment as a compliment – fans don’t boo bad players, so really Wilf, my advice is to suck it up and trust the refs to dish out the appropriate justice. Look out for him being awarded a soft pen on Saturday.
Has Mark Hughes ever agreed with a refereeing decision? Nobody was surprised to hear him moan at how “soft” the Brighton pen was on Monday night. I don’t know how he doesn’t spend the entire season in the stands, he shows the officials no respect at all. I mean, neither do I, but I don’t have to. It was some goal from Hojbjerg though in that game, whereas Brighton – shock horror – scored from a set-piece and a Glen Murray penalty. Elsewhere, Jack Wilshere is injured again. Some things never change.
I watched Wolves vs Burnley on Sunday with a quizzical look on my face – how have Burnley declined this much? 1-0 was the most flattering of scorelines for Sean Dyche’s men as Wolves racked up 30 attempts and made sure Joe Hart was the busiest he has been for a while. Burnley’s team is largely the same as last season but about 10% as solid and 100% less threatening. Also, how did Vydra end up there? So many questions. Burnley’s success last season was based around a solid base and nicking goals from set-pieces and such like and they just haven’t been able to repeat that so far this season. They are bottom of the table, but are they in relegation trouble? If you take last season out of the equation, you would look at their squad and think they are in real trouble. But these players have shown they can mix it and are probably just going through a rough patch, following the Europa League. Better teams than them will lose at Wolves, so it’s not the time to panic just yet but it’s amazing how much of a confidence sport football is, sometimes. Maybe the absence of Nick Pope is a bigger factor than we realise?
That’s all from me this week, hopefully, there’ll be more for me to get stuck into next week.