Ah, Thursday. And not just any old Thursday, folks. Oh no. This is a post-Champions League Matchday Two Thursday which is the best kind of Thursday.
Unless you are Tottenham and Liverpool, of course. Then it’s a bit rubbish, really.
Over the years, questions have been asked as to whether Messi could do it on a cold Tuesday night in Stoke. Well, last night he at the very least proved that he can do it on a cabbage patch in London on a Wednesday night. What the hell was going on with that Wembley pitch at the ‘home of football’ in the biggest match played there of the season so far? It was a bit of an embarrassment, really.
What was also a little bit embarrassing was Hugo Lloris mad dash out of his goal in the opening few minutes leaving his net totally open for Barca to take that dreaded early lead. Breatherliser, anyone? Fingers have also been pointed at Kieran Trippier for not cutting out the through-ball from the Argentine genius – fingers from the very same people pondering as to why the Poch left him at home when Spurs travelled to Inter last month. The consistency of it all.
Tottenham showed some of that ‘character’ we all like to see when 2-0 down and 3-1 down, nearly getting it back to 3-3 but it’s all very well showing that C word when you’ve already screwed up and you have nothing to lose.
Having had to go into the match with Victor Wanyama and Harry Winks in midfield it was no surprise to learn that Spurs are cranking up their interest in the PSG midfielder Adrien Rabiot. There are plenty after him though and he might want to see the state of the new White Hart Lane playing surface before making his final decision.
On the subject of screwing up, Jurgey lad has his hand in the air and is taking the blame for Liverpool’s 90th-minute defeat to Ancelotti’s Napoli in Naples last night. Liverpool were surprisingly placid and things were made worse by Naby Keita having to go off injured with a bad back. Still, at least that gave us the wonderful vision of Jordan Henderson warming up with the captain’s armband already ON. I wonder if he sleeps with it on his arm at night?
Manchester City skipper believes that Sunday’s big clash between his team of Champions and Liverpool will be decided by ‘small margins‘. Personally, I think it will be settled by Mohammed Salah who will quieten his doubters.
Chelsea’s Ross Barkley made an interesting point yesterday, saying that Maurizio Sarri is responsible for his recent upturn in form and that he did not receive enough coaching in his youth. Let us not forget, his manager as a younger man was David Moyes so let that be a warning to the younger players in the USA or, possibly, Aston Villa after they binned off Steve Bruce yesterday.
Danny Welbeck seems to be as popular as Aaron Ramsey at the Emirates and any talk of a new deal for the front-man has gone very, very quiet. Almost as quiet as the atmosphere at the Emirates on matchday, you could say. Welbeck could finally find his more appropriate home at any one of a whole host of mid-table Premier League clubs. What do you mean he is already at one?
We can’t let a whole column pass without mention of Manchester United. They’ve been working on ways of making the matchday experience more ‘welcoming and inclusive’. Now, don’t get me wrong – I am all for anything like this but I cannot help feeling sacking Jose, getting a decent manager in, playing slightly more forward-thinking football and actually winning matches is going to have a better chance of achieving that remit than making some toilets gender-neutral. I mean, can’t they do both?
We’ll be back tomorrow, probably, with some Europa League baiting and some Terrible Tips for the Premier League action.