Is there any football on today?
What, you thought you had a break? Why do you think you deserve a break?
We can talk about that later, but for now: the Champions League is back! Crack open a Heineken, put on the Handelian anthems. If you want the full menu, proceed here. If you’d like something more a la carte, might I suggest the nerdist Arsenal vs Napoli? Or we have the slightly more refined Porto vs Atletico Madrid, a great opportunity for you bandwagon jumpers from the weekend (it’s a big bandwagon).
There’s also the potentially intriguing Ajax vs Milan, but Frank De Boer’s sad sack post-Eriksen period might take some of the fizz out. I would go with the guaranteed goal fest/heart-warming coal miners tale: Celtic vs Barcelona. All kickoffs come at 2:45 PM EST.
What’s the big story today?
It appears the allegedly skint Glazer family have decided to give David Moyes £50m in January to turn the club’s fortunes around by bringing on Ander Herrera (yay!) and Leighton Baines (yay?), as a sort of summer transfer window mulligan. From the Indy:
After Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat to West Bromwich Albion contributed to United’s worst start to a campaign since 1989-90, there is an acceptance that the club should have bought out Moyes’ contract at Everton as soon as they appointed him – giving him six extra weeks to prepare for the frantic summer transfer window.
Wait wait wait, I thought this was all chief executive Ed Woodward’s fault? Did City require Pellegrini to be in place before making four key signings early in the window? It seems the line on how this stuff works changes from day to day, and paper to paper.
Any other interesting news?
It’s a bit old now but still cranking the news gears. Jose Mourinho got testy yesterday when questioned over Kevin De Bruyne’s healthy scratch from Chelsea’s Champions League squad:
With Kevin I didn’t like the match he played against Swindon in the Capital One Cup, and I didn’t like the way he was training. But you only ask about the guys who were not selected. Thank you.”
With that he left, leaving Lampard to field questions in what was a confusing episode especially as Mourinho had been so willing to debate why he had left out Mata, for example, and his desire to develop and coach the squad’s young players.
Y’all know my love of analytics, but I’m willing to guess that team performance may not be intimately linked with the tetchiness of the manager in press conferences. The idea he’s “feeling the pressure” because he was questioned a few too many times about his squad selection is more than a little bit funny. The self-regard of some beat dudes in England often amazes.
Shakhtar Donetsk coach trolls Moyes. Mircea Lucescu believes he knows what’s wrong with Man United. Cool.
Here is a giant French hamburger named after Zlatan. Click away, sheeple.
Any cool videos and stuff?
Some La Liga goal porn:
Any interesting reads?
Gary Lineker, the bland-faced BBC Match of the Day talking torso (and quite good former England striker), has often been unfairly lumped in with his far more ludicrous colleagues like Shearer, Hanson, Lawro et al, former footballers given bags of cash to sit and air whatever dribs and drabs they picked up on the football in between being insufferably chummy with one another on studio couches. Lineker’s taken a lot on the chin as far as MotD is concerned, but he makes a good point in an interview for the Guardian:
“You cannot get involved in debate on MOTD. You can do it on Sky because they’ve got hours and hours. We’ve got a couple of minutes. It’s a very disciplined show. Our primary purpose is to show the action and the analysis is very secondary. We have lots of people who would prefer no analysis. We have lots of people who would prefer more analysis. We have to find a balance.”
The thing is MotD is still a top-shelf round up show…I mostly watch it on PERFECTLY LEGAL PLATFORMS, AS SHOULD YOU. But these platforms give me the choice to flip through the bits of crap analysis that seemed stuffed in there because they’re a holdover from the days where viewers had two channels and whatever awful tabloid was getting shoved through the mailbox to tell them what to think about the football.
I do get Lineker’s point on balance, but I think the show would be served well with an acknowledgement that its methods lack a lot of imagination. Why not do the analysis as part of the highlights package? Lose Motty, get on some trusted former manager to talk us through it in tactically minded way live announcers cannot? Probably too time consuming.