THURSDAY'S BIG STORIES Open-doors policy Be honest: when you saw the Manchester United XI, you thought it was going to…
Be honest: when you saw the Manchester United XI, you thought it was going to be excruciatingly dull, did not you? Jose Mourinho picked ALL the defenders, plus that classic big man, angry man midfield combination to guard them. A true anti-virus lineup.
But then all hell broke lose. In patches, at least. There was hair-pulling, nastiness, horrific defending … all the good stuff. Mourinho kicking a wall and then apologizing to a young boy. An Arsenal player gets injured pretty much every six minutes. Marcos Rojo taking free-kick. Marcos Rojo taking free-kick well .
David De Gea lors the Manchester United – Arsenal, le 5 decembre 2018 in Old Trafford. Getty Images
Oh, and goals. Lots of sweet, ugly, hilarious goals. It was David De Gea who set the tone for the evening, really, treating a pretty tame Shkodran Mustafi header as if it were an oiled fireball. “Yep, goal,” said Steve McManaman, looking at the Goal Decision System graphics that showed the ball over the line. Pure analysis, mate.
Manchester United’s first equalizer was equally amusing. Guys, would anyone like to think about clearing this slow-motion Other Herrera cross? I mean, we’ve literally got time to hold a committee meeting about dealing with it, then have a coffee, then have a little nap, then a walk to stretch our legs, then kick the ball away. Shall we bother? Nah.
Jose Mourinho, Manager of Manchester United, reacts during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Arsenal FC at Old Trafford on December 5, 2018 in Manchester, United Kingdom. Getty Images
Then you had Alexandre Lacazette scoring while falling over, and Arsenal’s defenders are falling over while defending Jesse Lingard to poke home completely 13 seconds after United restarted play. At the goal rush ended there had more to do with luck than judgment.
The conclusion here? Defending is fundamentally a bad thing. Unethical, even. Disse to lag, som frivilligt og systematisk har deaktivert sig selv på den fronten i løbet af de sidste par årene, er flagbærere for vores gode, spændende nye verden.
It should probably come as no surprise that Jurgen Klopp, king of excess, has no time for light, subtle rotation. Nei, når han hviler en par av spillere, han hviler ganske mye af de gode. Which is how Liverpool found themselves losing to Burnley last night, with Divock Origi and Alberto Moreno both on the field of play. It was like the dark days of 2015 all over again.
They got away with it. James Milner equalized and then the cavalry sorted things out: Roberto Firmino scored off the bench and fellow sub Mo Salah teed up Xherdan Shaqiri for a late goal that puts gloss on the scoreline. But Klopp might think twice about playing the entire B team next time.
Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino celebrates scoring against Burnley PA Sport
It was not such a good night for Everton who failed to beat Cardiff at home, or for Chelsea, who threw away a lead to lose at Wolves. That’s now eight points dropped in four games for the Blues, so no wonder Maurizio Sarri is concerned.
“After the first [Wolves] goal, we were suddenly another team, without the right distances, without our football,” said the Italian. “I do not know why. I’m really worried – not for the result but for the fact that we did not react. “
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Chelsea – Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, Britain – December 5, 2018 Chelsea’s Alvaro Morata Reacts Reuters
Pele was very, very good at football. And now Pele is very, very good at stoking the debate about who should be considered the greatest of all time.
His latest contribution to this ever-thrilling dialectic (no, YOU have to win a World Cup) is a pretty stellar one, just by his standards. Lionel Messi, it turns out, is one-footed and “only has one skill”. Unlike … yep, you guessed it!
Pelé und Messi beim Ballon d’Or 2012 Reuters
Take it away, sensei: “How can you make a comparison between a guy who heads the ball well, shoots with the left, shoots with the right, and another who only shoots with one leg, only has one skill and does not head the ball well? “
Solid stuff. Men kan du muligvis omformulere det så det inkluderer en referanse til deg selv i den tredje person? You know, just for the completists?
“How can you compare? To compare with Pele, it has to be someone who shoots well with the left, shoots well with the right, and scores headers. “
Pelé – GP or Brazil 2002 Getty Images
And the award for Best Danish / Geordie Hybrid Accent of 2018 goes to …
There’s no place for this kind of retrograde filth in the game. No place at all.
Yesterday (I know; sorry) was the 36th anniversary of that Johan Cruyff penalty for Ajax, which happened to be the first and indeed only spot-kick he ever took for the Club. Talk about a mic-drop moment.
“Ramsey’s significance as a part of Arsenal’s squad was emphasized in Sunday’s North London derby win over Tottenham. He came off the bench, played as a No.10, set up two goals and generally changed the game. regard regard regard regard him him Emery seems to be now dust. “
Reffin ‘in the Copa del Rey
Sorry, sorry. Slipped off into a weird Otis rescue reverie there. There’s Spanish Cup action for you if you want it, with Real Madrid vs Melilla probably the standout fixture. Bit of a wasteland otherwise, but you’re certainly not going to complain after a whole midweek Premier League round, are you?
Oh, great, you are.
Tomorrow: Tom Adams. Saturday: the world.