Dear reader, football is a funny old game as people have said over the years. Riddle me this, Batman. How can Peppy G’s quintuple chasing Man City side beat all before them in the Premier League yet stumble when they face exactly the same teams in the Champions League?
Maybe last night’s 1-0 defeat to Tottenham at the slightly-better-than-the-old-stadium was penance for Guardiola trying to claim that City are in fact chasing five titles this season, not four.
Five? As a good friend said to me, ‘have they won the LDV Trophy whilst we weren’t looking?’ And that could well be the first and last time that old tournament gets a mention in this column.
Pep, like many a foreign coach, sees our traditional Community Shield as more of a Super Cup than the ‘friendly’ curtain raiser it is viewed as over here.
And, like many a foreign coach, he is wrong.
You’re up for four, Pep. Four.
And, unless you can turn things round at the Etihad, this chat becomes utterly redundant.
City did have the chance to take the lead, after all. A somewhat-dubious-but-I-guess-if-you-go-by-the-letter-of-the-law-but-was-it-a-clear-and-obvious-error VAR assisted penalty was given for ‘handball’ by Danny Rose, Hugo Lloris batted away Sergio Aguero’s spot-kick to maintain his odd record of not letting in a penalty in 2019.
Harry Kane managed to do his ankle yet again in a clash with Fabian Delph in another classic case of the more you slow down a replay of the incident the more deliberate it looks. At normal speed, it looks like Kane is looking to leave one on Delph but got it wrong.
Kane could well be out for the rest of the season and England’s Nations League sojourn in the early summer.
But, there was still football to be played and would you look at that. No Kane and Spurs go and win a game of football. Ederson managed to go all retro, giving us a mirror image of Peter Shilton’s efforts against Poland back in that game in the ’70s.
Up in Liverpool, King Kloppo’s men got the job done early with goals from Naby Keita and Roberto Firmino. Porto had their chances to make the second leg a little more challenging but, realistically, you’d expect Liverpool to progress from here. One of the more interesting tactical changes from Jurgey-lad was Mohamed Salah’s new role as the enforcer. Even with VAR taking a good look, Salah got away with a full set of studs on Danilo’s shin. Still, it’s nice to see variety in his game.
The day before, Chelsea saw off West Ham pretty easily thanks to a bit of Eden Hazard wizardry. But don’t panic Chelsea fans. Never forget, you have all those talented kids desperate to play more football and fill Eden’s shoes when he does one to Madrid this summer.
You know you’ve had a bad season when the only time you make the headlines as a professional footballer is for getting caught drink driving. Danny Drinkwater’s error of judgement lead to two reactions when the news broke. Firstly, surely the clue was in his name and, secondly, is he still at Chelsea?