Dear reader, just because you have passed your driving test does not immediately mean you are a good driver.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær may well officially be at the wheel of the Manchester United bus as of last week but it is already looking like he needs a little bit more road time. The Premier League run-in motorway needs to be driven carefully, though it might help Solskjær if he had a vehicle that wasn’t a knackered chassis with some rude-boi customisation on top.
Manchester United travelled to FA Cup semi-finalists Wolves last night and lost, an outcome that they could well have faced at Old Trafford at the weekend against Watford.
United led early through Scott McTominay who, bizarrely, was United’s main goal threat over the course of the match. At this point, it looked like that although Wolves were allegedly at full strength on paper, minds were pretty much at Wembley. The goal did seem to remind Wolves that they were playing a top-six side, however. And we know what happens when Wolves realise they are playing a side that might put one or two of them in a shop window.
Not that it was Wolves doing anything particularly special that turned the game around. Oh, no.
The equaliser came from David de Gea passing the ball in a straight, vertical line to Fred. Fred utterly failed to control the ball and was pounced on. Moments later Jota had equalised. Fred, if you remember, cost Man United £52m plus performance extras. So, in other words, a flat £52m.
Solskjær needed to make a change and he did, bringing on Phil Jones who went on to assist Chris Smalling for the winner. Oh.
Mike Dean, having been very patient for many weeks, finally got to knock up his 100th red card in Premier League football. Ashley Young, a candidate for two yellows most weeks, kindly obliged Dean midway through the second half. What was a shame for me was there was no grand celebration from Dean. No t-shirt under the referee shirt with a message to loved ones. No fist-pump. Nothing.
Dean has dished out more red cards than any Premier League side has ever received themselves – his closest rival is Everton, with 93. Which surprised me, actually. I’d have thought Arsenal were nailed on for a ton given the Patrick Vieira years.
Either way, Solskjær has been in charge permanently for a mere week or less and already Paul Pogba has gone missing, been linked to Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid and gone missing again. Who’d have thought it, eh?
Last night also saw us wave goodbye to Fulham FC as a Premier League side for the time being. Fulham without a doubt have one of the most eclectic, weird mix of players since QPR were last in the top-flight and look how that turned out.
Scott Parker’s men were sans nous as they went down 4-1 to Watford.
Credit to their fans, though. Gallows humour was in full force as André-Frank Zambo Anguissa passed a ball into touch almost impossibly and the fans started to sing, ‘and that’s why were are going down’.
One of the longer running paternity test scandals of recent times drew to a close yesterday when Pep Guardiola finally admitted that he ‘is not Benjamin Mendy’s father’. This revelation came off the back of Mendy, hardly a regularly available sort, being seen outside a Manchester nightclub at 03:30 on Sunday morning – I mean, did the clocks changing make that better or worse? I can never remember.
Mendy and Peppy G have had a frustrated father and errant son type relationship since City shelled out over £50m for the left-back. Guardiola, clearly a little peeved, claimed that his players are ‘old enough to know what they should and shouldn’t be doing’. Quite, Pep. Quite.
Speaking of players having a night out and getting into trouble for it, Jordan Pickford is being called in for crisis talks with Everton manager Marco Silva.
Pickford was, allegedly, involved in a scuffle in Sunderland on Wednesday night. It is thought that a man in his mid-20s tried to go round Pickford and Pickford dragged him to the floor. Pickford is expected to put the incident down to a ‘lapse in concentration’.
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has asked fans to stop asking for him to be sacked for the ‘good of the players’. Here’s an idea, Maurizio. Why don’t you start getting the players playing well ‘for the good of the fans’, eh?
It’s been a while since we commented on some scurrilous transfer rumours.
United, clearly aware that they might need to get rid of half the squad this summer and let Ole buy some replacements, are drawing up quite the
short long list.
Borussia Dortmund and England wonderkid Jadon Sancho is still very much top of the list after one decent season. Youri Tielemens, currently knocking it in behind for Jamie Vardy at Leicester, is also wanted by Solskjær who hopes to persuade Monaco to break any agreement with Leicester and let the lad travel to Manchester.
Barcelona and Philippe Coutinho have both agreed that it’s not really working out as they hoped and his preferred next destination is Old Trafford. And that may not be it from La Liga as far as United are concerned as they’ve finally accepted that Jones and Smalling might not be up to it for much longer and, in their humble, Raphael Varane might be.
Oh, and they’d also like Benfica’s whizkid João Felix, please and thank you.
Arsenal are acting like they might have some cash to splash this summer, keeping tabs on Cagliari’s Nicolò Barella who is being valued at way more than Arsenal are likely to spend on him.
Both Inter and Milan want Chelsea’s Pedro which is hilarious – imagine Sarri doing without Pedro. Or Willian for that matter.
Is that it for today? I think it is.