Dear reader, I apologise for my absence yesterday. Like goals in the Champions League round of 16, I felt the need to have Tuesday off and make a reappearance in style on Wednesday night. Yes, I know you are reading this funny football news on Thursday, but I promise you I am glued to the TV for the entirety of the day before to make this happen just for you.
Liverpool didn’t get the blistering first-leg display against Bayern Munich that they wanted and, given their away form in Europe this season, probably needed. Niko Kovac’s team seemed more than happy to leave Anfield with a 0-0 but midfielder Gini Wijnaldum didn’t think it meant the Germans had the advantage for a single second. “Is it a better result for them? Why? I think it is a good result for both,” he said, somewhat grumpily.
Liverpool were without most of their defence so a clean sheet was alright, I suppose.
Man City nicked it in injury time last night against Schalke, Raheem Sterling forcing certain newspapers to give praise through very gritted teeth. But Peppy G‘s men will be without Fernandinho in the home leg so is a 3-2 lead going to be enough?
City are also being linked to new players galore this morning and, because they are quite fashionable at the moment, they are all English.
West Ham’s Declan Rice (yes, I said English), Crystal Palace’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Leicester’s Ben Chilwell are all on Pep’s radar and each of them could be tempted into putting the brakes on their careers by heading to the Etihad.
Maurizio Sarri is still trying to convince people that it’s not his tactics that have Chelsea in all kinds of dire straits. Ahead of the League Cup Final on Sunday, Sarri is still blaming his players for a lack of ‘determination in both boxes’. Before they get beaten at Wembley, Sarri has to make sure that they don’t lose to Malmo tonight to completely guarantee he will actually be at Wembley himself otherwise Gianfranco Zola might become the first interim manager with gallstones in the game’s history.
Chelsea are believed to be lining up their next manager despite telling Sarri that if he wins against City he’ll be alright until the end of the season at least.
Zinedine Zidane and, believe it or not, Frank Lampard are the two men neck-and-neck for the poisoned chalice. Don’t do it, Frank. Not yet.
Arsenal boss Unai Emery has made it clear that it is up to Mesut Ozil if he wants to be part of his oh-so-successful Arsenal revamp. Ozil has, apparently, missed nine matches through ‘illness’ in the last year; quite a statistic. I think most of us would be in front of HR explaining ourselves in the real world.
The thing is, Emery is clearly cutting off his nose to spite his face right now. Would Arsenal be any worse with Ozil in the side? I doubt it.
Anyway, Emery is far more interested in finding a way to put his band back together in London, given that he is still chasing Sevilla’s Ever Banega and Roma’s Steven N’Zonzi. He’s also thought to be keen on Burnley’s Nick Pope as Petr Cech’s replacement as number two keeper. You watch them end up with Joe Hart.
Ashley Young says Manchester United have ‘massive belief’ heading into their showdown against Liverpool this weekend. It could be one of those rare moments in time where City fans want United to win and you know what? They actually could.