Journalists seem to take any opportunity to belittle Jose Mourinho and exacerbate the problems at Old Trafford to the extent he now looks like a broken man. The Portuguese’s press conferences are always something to behold. This week’s media duties in particular, went up a notch.
Following Monday’s improved performance at home to Spurs, albeit suffering a 3-0 defeat, the media attributed all the blame towards the Manchester United manager. That is despite simple chances failing to be converted and individual mistakes costing United the game, not the tactics by Mourinho.
Yesterday, he showed what a humble man he was when he reminded us all he is one of the “greatest managers in world football.” That may be true Jose, but it’s time to nip it in the bud.
A handful of Premier League teams were in League Cup (Carabao Cup just sounds ridiculous) action in midweek. And two of those clubs, Newcastle and Cardiff City, bowed out in the early round at the hands of Nottingham Forest and Norwich City.
Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez came under fire last Sunday for his defensive tactics during the 2-1 home defeat by Chelsea. One of those to have a dig at Rafa was Paul Lambert, whose Aston Villa side once lost 8-0 at the Bridge. And who was his opponent in the dugout? None other than Rafael Benitez. Somebody hire Paul Lambert, please. Television work isn’t suitable for some people, and Paul Lambert is sadly one of them.
Anyway, Newcastle have long had a love affair with cup competitions. It’s just a shame that it’s a one-way relationship, and the cup has refused to entertain Newcastle’s advances since 1969, when the Toon last won a cup competition.
Cardiff have upset the world’s natural balance and finally scored a goal, courtesy of centre back Bruno Ecuele Manga (Stick him up front on Sunday, Warnock). It came at a time when they were already 3-0 down.
Crystal Palace have got the measure over Watford in recent seasons. This time, however, it was Watford who came out on top with a 2-1 victory. The antics by Wilfred Zaha in last season’s fixture certainly added some spice to the proceedings, prompting Roy Hodgson to label mascot Harry the Hornet a ‘disgrace’ for mocking Zaha.
Harry the Hornet vs Roy Hodgson charity boxing match to settle the feud? I’d buy a ticket.
Unai Emery recorded his first win as Arsenal manager when his side fortuitously ran out 3-1 winners over West Ham. Long serving Nacho Monreal opened the scoring against the run of play to calm the nerves. Thursday’s Europa League draw saw the Gunners being drawn in Group E alongside Sporting Lisbon, Quarabag FK and FC Vorskla.
However, the win wasn’t the biggest news concerning Arsenal this week. The manager has confirmed that he has banned Fruit Juice with too much sugar. This is extremely interesting. So I performed a bit of research myself.
According to nutrition researcher Kriss Gunnars, ‘Fruit juice contains just as much sugar and calories as a sugary soft drink… and sometimes even more. The small amounts of vitamins and antioxidants in the juice do not make up for the large amount of sugar.’
Back to the football. And while Leicester City’s non-participation in Europe this season prevented Harry Maguire from scooping UEFA’s European defender of the year award (Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos was the benefactor).
He did however, earn his Leicester City side a dramatic three points with a late stoppage-time winner over 10 man Southampton. The Foxes saw out the week with a 4-0 drubbing over Fleetwood Town in the League Cup.
Mohamed Salah scored the only goal of the game when Liverpool defeated a resilient Brighton side 1-0. In-form centre midfielder/winger/left back James Milner began the sequence which led to Salah breaking the deadlock. His brilliantly timed tackle on Yves Bissouma regained possession for the Reds, who immediately passed the ball to Firmino to play in the Egyptian for a clinical first time finish into the bottom corner.
It appears that the Europa League has become quite a bit of a distraction for Burnley, judging by their recent results in the Premier League. Despite coming from behind twice at Fulham last Sunday, it failed to be enough as the Cottagers came out 4-2 winners. On Thursday night, manager Sean Dyche felt that he couldn’t risk naming his strongest XI during the second leg of their Europa League qualifier against Olympiacos.
Trailing 3-1 from the first leg, it finished 1-1 this time. New signing Matej Vydra’s first goal for his new club ultimately wasn’t enough to prevent the Clarets from bowing out. Fulham incidentally, were in League Cup action during the week. A double from Aboubakar Kamara knocked out Exeter City to send the home side through to the next round.
Champions League Draw
UEFA’s Champions League draw was in motion on Wednesday evening, and it was the best draw in a long time. English Champions Man City’s links with Shakhtar Donetsk in European competitions meant the mythical powers at be pitted them together, alongside Lyon and Hoffenheim.
Meanwhile, Manchester United were drawn alongside Juventus, Young Boys and Valencia. United just can’t seem to get rid of Young and Valencia. Italian giants Juventus will be forced to ask for special dispensation from UEFA to allow Cristiano Ronaldo to play against his parent club.
Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs were handed the ‘group of death’ as they have been paired in Group B alongside Barcelona, PSV and Inter Milan. Last season, they were supposedly in a “group of death’ and won the group. Therefore, I wouldn’t be too concerned.
And Liverpool supporters now have reason to visit the Tower of Pisa. Sorry, the ‘Eiffel Tower’, with the news of the Reds being placed in Group C with Paris Saint Germain, Napoli and Serbia’s Crvena Zvezda.
Europa League Draw
In the Europa League draw, Arsenal will be playing Sporting Lisbon, Quarabag FK and those FC Vorskla rascals from Ukraine. For Chelsea, they’re in a group containing Bate Borisov, PAOK and Vidi FC. The latter sounds like some FIFA streamer’s Youtube channel.
And that’s your lot.
Have a great weekend everyone.