In the world of football this week, Spygate has dominated the news. Once a strange looking man was caught in the bushes spying on Derby County last week, Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa confirmed that this particular man was working for Leeds. Derby manager Frank Lampard was understandably furious and made his feelings known before his side’s defeat at Elland Road.
There is no law to say that he can’t send personnel to watch how other clubs prepare to face Bielsa’s Leeds. But does it mean it’s right? No chance. Stuart Pearce believes Leeds should face a points deduction, which makes a lot of sense because no law was broken. Meanwhile, Ian Holloway has said if the spy had been watching his side train that he’d have “kidnapped him, duct taped him and thrown him back in Bielsa’s office!” Never change, Ollie.
Leeds United supporters were put on tenterhooks on Wednesday when Bielsa called an impromptu press conference, fearing Bielsa was going to resign. Instead, he spent an entire hour walking the assembled journalists through a powerpoint presentation where he essentially revealed Derby’s tactics. Fantastic.
Marcelo Bielsa 2-0 Frank Lampard.
To a lesser extent, there has been drama off the pitch at Cardiff City as well. And there certainly wasn’t any drama on the pitch during the sleep-inducing 0-0 draw at home to Huddersfield, who played us off the park.
The fact that they couldn’t create any goal scoring opportunities despite their dominance was eventually too much for David Wagner, who later left his role as Huddersfield manager.
Cardiff manager Neil Warnock deflected the attention from his team’s performance with a rant on the predicament of Brexit, where he finished by pontificating: “To hell with the rest of the world.”
So naturally, the Malaysian-owned club, run by a Cypriot banker, went searching for new player recruits in France where they earmarked the Argentinian Nantes striker Emiliano Sala as the man to solve the club’s profligacy in front of goal. Cardiff and Nantes have agreed on a £15m fee for a 28-year-old with unflattering viewpoints from French journalists. (Nurse!)
The deal leaves Nantes in crisis, with speculation that manager Vahid Halilhodžić may resign. Never seen Sala play but I’m pretty sure he’s the best Sala in the league.
Their next opponents Newcastle come off the back of a narrow 2-1 defeat at Chelsea, which Barca target Willian’s beauty proved to be decisive. Newcastle’s squad wouldn’t look out of place in the Championship.
Their most talented player Jonjo Shelvey is like a tuxedo where he is only used for special occasions. Barring three or four others, the rest of the squad is Championship fodder.
Yet, according to Rio Ferdinand, the refusal to strengthen the squad isn’t owner Mike Ashley’s fault. He described the Toon as ‘yo-yo club’, despite them being relegated six times since their formation in 1892.
Burnley vs Fulham, another massive game last week for those of us who are aware that there are football teams operating outside the top six in the Premier League. The Clarets of Lancaster (A little bit of unrelated Americanisation for you) were the winners of this one, coming out on top 2-1 courtesy of the benevolence of two Fulham players scoring own goals.
David De Gea‘s feet were the hero of the day when Marcus Rashford’s strike was enough to steer Manchester United to victory at Spurs, in what was Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first real test since becoming the temp. The Spanish keeper’s performance was widely hailed as the best goalkeeping performance that they have ever seen. It was good.
But he was outshone a day later by Man City’s keeper Ederson. Clearly bored of watching his teammates endlessly pass the ball untroubled in the Wolves half, Ederson took matters into his own hands playing a few one-twos with Fernandinho near the halfway line.
Whose feet is better? To be honest, all this mention of feet is making me feel nauseous.
Have a great weekend everyone.