Dear reader, forgive me there isn’t a great deal to talk about today. Just another quiet night in the Champions League really, wasn’t it? No, no. Of course, it wasn’t. Manchester United did what even the most hopeful of ‘Ole’s at the wheel’ fans couldn’t have believed and turned it around against PSG in Paris. And that does provide us with just a tincy-wincy bit of funny football news today.
It wasn’t really a night for right-backs to begin with, was it? You’d imagine PSG manager Thomas Tuchel was all ‘just don’t give them any reason to believe they have a chance’ in the team talk and after 90 seconds Thilo Kehrer threw his team under the bus with a shocker of a backpass.
Romelu Lukaku latched on to it, created himself an impossible angle and squeezed it home. Could he have done that for Jose? You know the answer to that one.
To be fair, that goal was all United saw of the ball for the first 20 minutes as PSG noticed that Eric Bailly was a bit of a fish out of water playing at right back and Ashley Young had no intention of helping him.
Time after time, Bailly was hung out to dry before, eventually, Bernat ran off him to equalise for the Ligue One leaders.
Given that PSG had about 87% possession in the first half hour, you’d be forgiven for thinking that United were going to be brave but leave empty handed, especially after that Marcus Rashford free kick.
Yet, Eric Bailly did manage to do something right (and no, I don’t mean going off injured though that really did help). His stride into the PSG half eventually led to Rashford dipping one at Gianluigi Buffon who spilled it, Lukaku poaching United’s second.
Has there ever been a more cursed Champions League goalkeeper than Buffon?
Solskjaer had said before the game he just wanted United to still be in it with 20 minutes to go. Well, a bit like Muhammad Ali was ‘still in’ the Rumble in the Jungle back in the ’70s United were on the ropes trying to avoid being hit repeatedly.
Chris Smalling actually played like an international class defender, the woodwork was rattled a few times and United brought on the Academy players for fresh legs and yes, somehow they were still in it.
Diogo Dalot, getting one back for the right back union, shot from distance and it struck the arm of Presnel Kimpembe who was, foolishly, turning his back on the shot.
VAR was consulted. Now, tell me that VAR does not add to the drama in these moments. We had to wait a good few minutes, each minute becoming clearer that United had a chance coming up to win this.
And they did, and Rashford showed nerves of actual steel to smash the penalty home.
But that wasn’t the end. There was still time for David de Gea to lay a single fist on the ball in the most bizarre effort to punch a ball out of the area in injury time I have ever seen. Luckily, he did the next bit properly.
As I said, not a lot to report on today.
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri believes he will be in charge for preseason next season. Well, Maurizio. Antonio Conte was technically in charge for this preseason if you recall.
Sarri has had ‘positive’ chats with the Chelsea board about ‘plans’. Yeah, we’ve heard that before.
Unai Emery has warned Arsenal players of using ‘tiredness‘ as an excuse before their trip to French club Rennes in the Europa League. No, the reason Arsenal will get knocked out is more down to his constant rotation and dull as dishwater tactics.