There was another management change this week, when Mauricio Pellegrino’s long time coming sack finally materialised following their 3-0 trouncing at Newcastle. And I’m in two minds about it all. On the one hand, I believe the FA should implement some sort of rule which guarantees a full season out of a newly appointed manager. There hasn’t been any managerial stability at Southampton since Nigel Adkins secured back to back promotions from League One to the Premier League 5-6 years ago. So the club’s lack of goal scoring prowess and poor results only delayed the inevitable. On the other hand, I don’t watch them every week unlike their supporters. So I suspect witnessing a side that are experts in not scoring can’t be too much of an enticement to continue with the manager. Hopefully, Mark Hughes turns them around. They have got themselves a good one there.
Despite recently signing a contract extension, Jose Mourinho hardly endeared himself to Manchester United supporters on Tuesday night with his strange tactics for the Sevilla game, and the post-match comments regarding United’s failure in the Champions League knock out stages. Starting Marouane Fellaini ahead of Paul Pogba or Juan Mata left us all perplexed, given the tree is best used as a last resort option when they’re chasing games or to see them off.
He insisted he had no regrets despite succumbing to a 2-1 defeat and exiting the competition. But he did attempt to deflect some of the criticism aimed at him by referring to the loss as no shock due to his Real Madrid and Porto sides knocking United out at Old Trafford in the past.
By the way, if you have not seen Fellaini’s new haircut, please do. Mickey Mouse springs to mind.
Over the course of the two games, the mighty Manchester United could only muster 4 shots on target over the two legs against a side with a negative goal difference in La Liga. When Pogba came on with the game still goalless, social media was rife with jokes at his expense due to his £89m price tag (Happy belated birthday Paul!) and failing to make a positive impact. While this substitute failed to change the game, Sevilla’s super sub Wissam Ben Yedder did. He bagged two goals within four minutes of each other, leaving United with a mountain to climb. Romelu Lukaku did get a goal back, however it only proved to be a consolation.
It was all rosey for Marcus Rashford and co. last weekend however, when the United number 19’s early double saw off the Scousers. The game was so good, I had to watch it all which delayed leaving for the Cardiff vs Birmingham match (The Bluebirds are going up). Back to the game, and the second top scorer in the league Mo Salah was neatily folded in Ashley Young’s back pocket, while poor Trent Alexander-Arnold was given the runaround by Rashford. Liverpool could take comfort with the fact they’re still in the Champions League, where they may fancy their chances of progressing after being drawn to play Manchester City in the Quarter Finals. I guess as it happens, United supporters still received a good draw in the final 8.
At the Nou Camp, and magic from Lionel Messi proved to be far too compelling for Thibaut Courtois. The Belgian number one looked to be so mesmerised by the sight of the little magician, he kept forgetting to keep his legs closed prior to shots being taken. Chelsea gave a very good account for themselves to be fair. Unfortunately for them, Barca’s star player showed up while their’s (Eden Hazard) did not. In the couple of minutes from kick off it took for Messi to nod Barcelona in front, Chelsea only touched the ball twice.
One of the most universally liked players to ever grace the Premier League lit up the Britannia Stadium on Monday night. The genius that is David Silva struck twice to see off Stoke City and ensure that three more wins will see them win the league. It was a game that could have saw them win by more, however nobody was clinical enough to finish off Kevin De Bruyne’s delicious balls into the box. His delivery is generally that good, he could be a midwife when he stops playing.
In the Europa League, Arsenal sealed their place in the next round after defeating AC Milan 3-1. A shocking dive from Danny Welbeck earned a penalty in which he converted. They were largely untroubled from then, despite Hakan Calhanoglu’s long range strike. Grant Xhaka’s potent left foot proved too much to handle for Gianluigi Donnarumma, before Welbeck capped off his fine performance with his second goal near the end.
Have a great weekend everyone.