Let’s get right into it.
Can you believe Phil Jones is still only 26? He has been at Old Trafford for what seems like 20 years and has seen himself become a massive hit amongst supporters of.. literally everybody but Manchester United. The man of many faces went full Phil Jones on Wednesday night in Valencia when he became the first player to score an own goal in the Champions League since err, Phil Jones way back in 2011. United had already qualified for the next round meaning the 2-1 loss did not matter too much.
An almost unrecognisable Barcelona side lined up for Tottenham’s massive game at the Nou Camp. Seeing the Barca team sheet surely instilled some more belief into the Spurs camp, as they were fantastic on the night. The performance prompted Spanish football expert Guillem Balague to claim:
“It was without any doubt one of the best performances of a foreign team in the Camp Nou for many many years.”
Steady on. I think the Celtic side of 2016 where they were on the wrong end of a 7-0 scoreline ensures they keep that crown. Criminally under-played Lucas Moura cancelled out Ousmane Dembele’s opener to send Spurs through.
There was some better news for Spurs yesterday as well, with the news that Heung Min-Son’s solo goal against Chelsea won November’s Goal of the Month. That’s a funny way for the Premier League to spell Junior Hoilett. How the Cardiff winger never picked up the award for his stunner against Wolves is beyond my comprehension.
Napoli star Dries Mertens was enemy number two among Liverpool fans before Liverpool hosted Napoli, after mocking Liverpool’s infamous ‘This is Anfield‘ sign. He would be number one if the fans ever ended their grudge against Sergio Ramos. It’s time to move on, Reds. You lost, get over it!
Liverpool went into the game knowing they had to beat Napoli 1-0, or better it, to earn a passage through to the next round. Egyptian cult hero Mo Salah made certain of that when he achieved what he has not done all season, and scored in a huge game. I know I am pretty obsessed with this bloke, but let’s talk about James Milner. The right side, the left, defence, attack, midfield, James Milner has completed the whole set. With Trent-Alexander Arnold and Joe Gomez out, he was asked to fill in at right-back and as per usual, looked a natural.
After Tour De France winner Geraint Thomas was bizarrely snubbed for this year’s BBC SPOTY award, I make a motion that Milner is up for nomination.
For already qualified Manchester City, the match against the seventh-placed Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga, offered a chance for the City team to restore some pride after their first league defeat of the season last weekend. You know, because it’s unacceptable for any Pep side to lose one game of football. Credit to Hoffenheim, they made City work hard for the win.
Here’s a stat for you, because who doesn’t love a good stat? Sane’s two goals meant that he became the first German to score twice against German opponents in the UCL since Carsten Jancker for Bayern Munich against Kaiserslautern in March 1999.
Oh, how I envy Olivier Giroud. Handsome, strong, fellow scorpion kick aficionado, great at headers, now he’s great at free kicks. It was his equaliser that prevented defeat in their Europa League dead rubber against MOL Vidi.
Arsenal’s qualification for the knockout round meant their home match against FK Qarabag was also a dead rubber. Striker Lacazette scored the only goal in a match that won’t live long in the memory for anybody but the array of youngsters on show that night, and Laurent Koscielny. The latter made his first start since May and comes back at a time, that Unai Emery has just lost Rob Holding for up to nine months due to a serious knee injury.
And to end this week’s TWTWTW, one-time Arsenal triallist Yaya Toure could soon find himself back in England, after having his contract at Olympiakos cancelled after only five appearances. The club must have forgotten his birthday.
Have a great weekend everyone.