WEDNESDAY’S BIG STORIES
Real Madrid excel again
Real Madrid are in the midst of a mini injury crisis, have an aging squad in need of a refresh and made zero summer signings.
And, against Liverpool, without his first-choice defensive pairing of Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane, and Lucas Vazquez stationed at right-back, Zidane restricted the Reds to just one shot on target and that was Mohamed Salah’s goal. Simultaneously, they tore Liverpool apart with a combination of possession-based and incredibly basic and direct football.
The performance evidenced the fact that Zidane is not wedded to a prescribed philosophy, and perhaps that is where his greatness resides. The man himself puts it down to the hunger of the players:
This is the good thing about this team – they always want more and more. These are players with a lot of experience, players who have won a lot, but they still want to win more. And this shows you the spirit that these players have.
It seems a simple take on the sport. In fact, perhaps his ability to simplify the game is why he is so successful, but – as it is difficult to pinpoint/quantify what makes him a great coach – not lauded. It is inexplicable. But, make no mistake, there is genius in his management.
One man had a bad night…
This here is a goal:
The referee elected not to give this goal as a goal – and, what was worse, he decided to blow his whistle before Jude Bellingham scored, meaning VAR couldn’t steam in and save his blushes.
It was a perplexing decision, as evidenced by this tweet from the German club Borussia Dortmund who were on the end of this travesty.
Jadon Sancho made a fair point, too.
If there is one mark against Guardiola it is his propensity to over think the Champions League. However…
‘Just win the game’ – Guardiola reveals City gameplan
Bielsa a big fan of Guardiola
Marcelo Bielsa is a football revolutionary. He changed the game. One of his disciples is Pep Guardiola.
Bielsa, Guardiola will be pleased to know, is a fan, as evidenced in the below quotes.
What he knows how to do is extremely difficult for me to try and I’ve already given up, but I have genuine admiration for what he does. Interpreting the novel decisions that he incorporates into a game is already a way of falling in love with football.
It would be interesting to get Bielsa’s view on Jude Bellingham who was excellent in Dortmund’s loss.
Assistant referee a big fan of Erling Haaland
Roy Keane will be absolutely fuming about this.
To be fair, this is not a good look. A bad night for the officials at the Etihad.
His drive and focus was excellent. When we were in the hotel, he was spot on with his food choices. When we had down time, he was resting or working on injury prevention plans — he was working constantly, chasing a dream. His first dream was to play for his hometown club and 24 hours a day, he was chasing that.
Andi Thomas, a well-defined genius, will be here tomorrow.