TUESDAY’S BIG STORIES
He’s only been in charge 76 days, but it appears Everton fans are already starting to forgive Rafa Benitez for his role in Istanbul 2005.
You could not blame them if they felt a bit stale ahead of the new season. Not only had Carlo Ancelotti snaked his way back to Real Madrid, but their answer to Cristiano Ronaldo, Jack Grealish, Romelu Lukaku and Ibrahima Konate moving to top four clubs – the group they desperately want to join – was to sign the triple threat of, err, Andros Townsend, Demarai Gray and Solomon Rondon.
Well who’s laughing now? OK, probably still Chelsea, Liverpool and the Manchester clubs – only a whopping and unexpected points penalty can stop them locking out the Champions League spots. But at least Everton have hope and momentum again.
When Townsend picked up the ball inside the Burnley half, five minutes after providing the assist for Michael Keane’s equaliser, the stage was set for his signature trick: beat two players, then cannon the ball into a third. But not this time. The 30-year-old ducked onto his left foot and seriously just watch the video for yourself:
So who do Everton fans owe for this unlikely resurgence? Rafa? Moshiri? James?
“I have to give a shout-out to my mum because during the week she sent me a compilation video of all my goals,” Townsend told Sky Sports.
“She clipped them all together and she told me I need to believe in myself again. I think you saw that with this goal here.
“It was rolling back the years. I’ve got that in the locker, I just need to be able to produce it on a consistent basis. Hopefully with the manager here I’ll keep getting in the right positions and score more goals and get more assists for this historic football club.”
Mama Townsend, we salute you.
8-2: the sequel
There is an unavoidably juicy clash as the Champions League returns tonight with Barcelona playing Bayern Munich for the first time since that match.
Ominously, Barcelona are even weaker than they were that night in Lisbon.
Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Arturo Vidal have all departed while Bayern look as strong as ever and have already racked up a 12-0 win this season.
It’s also worth keeping an eye on events in Switzerland. Young Boys entertain Manchester United in the early kick-off on their annually controversial artificial pitch, so expect at least one “Manchester United sweat on injured [star player]” headline by 8pm tonight.
Image credit: Getty Images
It’s stretching the definition of retro big time, but there’s only one match we can revisit today:
IN THE CHANNELS
It’s 2040. Paul Pogba’s agent is hyping up a move to Real Madrid, but refusing to rule out a switch to Paris Saint-Germain. The window closes. He’s still a Manchester United player.
Everyone’s favourite theme tune returns. We’ll have live text commentary of Young Boys v Cristiano Ronaldo (17:45) and Barcelona 2-9 Bayern Munich (20:00), plus the less exciting Chelsea v Zenit and Malmo v Juventus (both 20:00).
Marcus Foley will still be a Eurosport player well beyond 2040, so settle in Warm-Up fans, it’ll be a long ride