I love a last minute winner, I do. Imagine my joy when I was treated to two yesterday and one of them was able to be filed under “100% Spursy”. You have to love that. But, before you join me in pointing and laughing at Tottenham, let’s head to Anfield!
That was great thinking by Mo, wasn’t it? It must be hard to catch the eye of a football club with more money than sense, especially when they already have Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani in their front three. But, credit to Salah. He came up with a creative way of showing how he would link up superbly with the Brazilian superstar and the French wunderkind by assisting PSG‘s late equaliser at Anfield last night.
There is something special about Anfield on a European night in a way that only Old Trafford can really match (you know, in the old days when United were actually decent to watch at home in Europe) and Liverpool vs PSG actually lived up to some of the hype.
It was nice to catch a rare glimpse of Daniel Sturridge in a starting XI and it was he who opened Liverpool’s European account for the season before Mr Reliable James Milner doubled the advantage from the penalty spot. But, Anfield needs drama on these nights to make it worth the admission fee so Liverpool were always going to ship a couple – even if PSG’s first should have been chalked off for offside (do we have VAR in the Champions League? I genuinely cannot remember). PSG’s equaliser was clinical but not as clinical as Bobby Firmino’s winner deep into injury time, a fine goal for a one-eyed bandit.
Yet, aside from the fact they managed to draw themselves level, how bad are PSG? I mean, seriously. This is a club who have spent as much if not more as Manchester City in recent seasons and for what? A group of superstar strikers who find putting a shift in a little beyond them. Tuchel is a fine coach but I cannot see him pulling Neymar to one side and suggesting he might want to track Trent Alexander-Arnold once in a while.
As for Jurgey lad, he is convinced that there is ‘no mountain Liverpool cannot climb’ and that their progress is ‘very cool’ in standard Klopp Aretha Franklin appreciating style.
Tottenham kicked the English interest in the Champions League Group Stage in one of the weird early kick-off slots and their trip to Inter was, apparently, their best performance of the season. Considering Spurs have lost to Watford and Liverpool and only beaten a poor United side 3-0 away, being the best performance of the season is not a difficult accolade to win.
Tottenham managed to lead at the San Siro, despite their incredible reluctance to do anything other than pass the ball square from a goal kick and invite masses of pressure by doing so – does Poch fine them if they knock it a bit longer from a restart? Sure, they had an element of control for a brief period of time but nobody can really complain that Inter came away 2-1 winners. Except, that is, maybe Pochettino himself who accused journalists of ‘disrespecting the players’ when being quizzed over his selections for the match. Set-pieces were mentioned repeatedly and the players do appear to have a bit of a mental block when defending them so whoever Spurs’ next opponents might be should get on the blower to Tony Pulis tonight and see if he fancies doing some moonlighting for 48 hours.
Sometimes an assistant manager should be seen and not heard and this could well be what Manchester City fans are currently thinking about Mikel Arteta.
24 hours before City’s Champions League attack starts with a home match against Lyon, Arteta told the BBC that ‘we (City) have the best players in the world’ and increased the levels of expectation ten-fold considering this is a competition City need to win and haven’t come close to yet. Granted, Arteta did suggest that Real Madrid probably should be favourites rather than Peppy G’s boys – but that makes it feel like Arteta hasn’t bothered watching Madrid yet this season.
‘David de Gea’ and ‘new contract’ are words that we used to hear in the same sentence a lot when Real Madrid were in the market for a new shot-stopper. The subject reared it’s head again yesterday as United prepare for their game on astroturf against Young Boys. De Gea’s deal runs out next summer and the club do have an option to extend for another 2 months but the keeper couldn’t sound less arsed as to whether he is staying or going.
Jose went a bit weird in the same press conference, bringing Roger Federer into the fact that United are playing in Switzerland on a pitch he feels gives the home team a big advantage. He suggested RogFed sometimes plays on his non-favoured surface and has to win. Clearly, Jose hasn’t seen Federer at Roland Garros.
The surface means that Antonio Valencia’s bad knee will not be up to it so Diogo Dalot may finally make his United debut before, no doubt, being killed by Jose after the game and dropped down below even Eric Bailly on the picklist.
For many years Arsenal had to ward off the attention of bigger European clubs for their star players – it doesn’t happen as much these days as they don’t really have any players worth taking. Yet, at boardroom level AC Milan wouldn’t mind being just a bit more like Arsenal so they’ve taken Ivan Gazidis to Serie A and asked him nicely to sort out the big financial mess they are in. Is this a chance for Arsenal to bring in a new man to take the club forward? Of course not! They can save some money by not replacing him and split the job across two other people. Just being back Arsene to do it, that would be great.
There seems to be a trend of finished English central defenders interesting Russian football clubs right now and I want to know why. First, John Terry was wanted by Spartak Moscow before turning them down. Now we are hearing that Steven Caulker, once of Tottenham, Liverpool and England could be off to Arsenal Kyiv. Why the club think that Caulker might be the first English player to go to Russia and succeed is beyond me.
And that folks, that is it for today. Long live the Champions League last minute winners!