Football is a lovely old game, isn’t it? And here we are, complete charlatans writing daily columns pointing the finger-of-fun at our wonderful game and making six people, teams or incidents the object of our satirical schlepp each Tuesday evening. Why do we do it? You mean, because we can isn’t a good enough reason?
Let the slating begin!
#1 Pep Guardiola
He’s a hard taskmaster, that Peppy G. Manchester City only beat newly promoted (how long until we can lose the prefix ‘newly promoted,’ please folks?) Fulham 3-0 at home, so the Catalan demanded that the following day’s rest was cancelled and everyone reported in for an extra training session to put right the things that so clearly went wrong at the Etihad. Hang on a minute, Pep. You won 3-0. And you have a tough Champions League game coming up in the next 48 hours. Those documentary cameras weren’t hanging around by any chance, were they? By all accounts, Pep called in the mascots the next morning as well to critique their performances. Considering they were sisters in the late 90s, who have had Season Tickets since 1930, I feel that was going a little OTT.
#2 David Silva
I mean, Pep must have been fuming at David Silva, for example. All Silva did was turn up for his 350th City appearance and score his 50th Premier League goal for the club, ending a move that had only 50 or so passes in the build-up. Jesus, David. At least try. And we don’t mean Gabby Jesus, incidentally.
#3 Wes Morgan
A long, long time ago Wes Morgan was the beast-like captain of a team that shocked the world by winning the Premier League when the odds were over 5000/1. He led a team that were considered to be relegation certainties to the title with his commanding performances in the centre of defence. However, if you had seen Wes (and Harry Maguire as well, to be fair – worth £65m to some people, is Harry) down at Bournemouth at the weekend, you’d understand why he ended up being capped by Jamaica and not England. Ryan Fraser and Callum Wilson made Morgan look more Captain Calamity than Captain Cook as they sped into a four-goal lead and Morgan ended his afternoon beating Maguire in the race to two yellow cards.
#4 Sol Bamba
For a brief moment in time, Sol Bamba will have felt invincible. Any doubts he might have had around whether he was good enough to play in the Premier League will have disappeared. He will have thought he might have scored the winning goal away to Chelsea. He might have even got a “well done” from Colin at the end of the match. The only problem for Sol was this – he scored too early. Cardiff led Chelsea at Stamford Bridge midway through the first half, meaning there was more than enough time for Bamba to come crashing back down to Earth a little like Bambi (yes, I know) on ice. Sol managed to deflect an Eden Hazard shot into his own net and then gave away the penalty that Hazard converted for his hat-trick. Sadly for Sol, that meant he left the ground with a negative balance.
#5 Wilf Zaha
Other than, say, Hazard at Chelsea, is there a player that is more important to his club right now than Wilf Zaha? You just have to look at the last couple of months to get what he is to Crystal Palace. Over the summer there was, understandably, a lot of interest in prizing Zaha away from Selhurst Park once again because, frankly, he is on a different planet to the rest of them. Zaha eventually decided to stay, possibly recalling what happened last time he chanced his arm at a bigger club. Wilf then got given a new deal, putting him on well over £100k a week if you believe reports – but that’s fair enough as he could well keep Palace in the top flight single-handedly and you cannot expect cult players to remain loyal to their hometown team for free. But then Zaha went and invested in the women’s team when they didn’t have enough money, boosting his superman status. And then, if that wasn’t enough, he put his groin back together in time to waltz past half of Huddersfield and score the winning goal at the weekend – and boy, what a goal it was.
500 career goals for Zlatan now and he was never likely to do it with a two-yard tap-in, was he? Of course not. Zlatan notched up the big 5-0-0 with a spinning taekwondo kick to flick the ball home in MLS at the weekend. Even now, even now is an older, more crap caricature of himself, he is box office.