PARIS IS LEARNING
The Fiver feels unclean. Admittedly this is not an unprecedented state of affairs, literally or figuratively, but we’ve got to write about something so that’ll do. You see, we feel guilty about our relationship with Big Cup. On the one hand, we loathe everything it represents, and are 110% disgusted by the Even More Greed Is Even Better proposals to make elite football even less jeapordous. But then we watch a game like Bayern 2-3 PSG, making funny little moaning noises throughout, and it makes us feel so darn euphoric. Deriving such visceral pleasure from something we essentially detest is the closest the Fiver has come to having one of those lovebuddies we keep reading about it in Granny Fiver’s lifestyle magazines.
There’s another layer of guilt to our pleasure. Because although the first leg of the quarter-final between Bayern and PSG produced five goals, 37 shots, 16 corners and 472 little Fiver moans, deep down we know some of the gegenpressing and Big Chance Conversion left a fair bit to be desired, and that makes us feel sad.
In the pursuit of emotional clarity, and because The Man has ordered us to do so, we plan to sit down for tonight’s second leg and leer at our big screen with a slightly gormless expression. The match, a repeat of last year’s final in case you’ve been at a digital retreat on the Kerguelen Islands for the last nine months, is impossible to call, even though PSG have three away goals. PSG’s home form this season has been ropey, and in the previous round they flirted with blowing a 4-1 lead against Barcelona. They will also know that with a bit more luck last week – and a lot more Lewandowski – Bayern could be 48-3 ahead on aggregate.
But there will be no Lewandowski tonight either. Both teams have fairly grotesque injury lists, which adds to the thrilling feeling of unpredictability that makes us feel so guilty. PSG’s biggest loss is their captain, Marquinhos, but they do have the trump card of world football: Kylian Mmmbappé, who roasted Bayern on the counter-attack in the first leg and should have ample opportunities to do the same tonight. If he scores a hat-trick, PSG might just sneak through.
Tonight’s other game should be a formality: Chelsea have a 2-0 lead over Porto from the away leg, although both matches are being played in Seville. But Thomas Tuchel will be slightly wary, having lost a similar lead against Manchester United two years ago when he was PSG manager. If it happens again he’ll be filthy. We know how he feels.
LIVE ON BIG WEBSITE!
In case you didn’t notice above, there’s Big Cup action on tonight, both starting at 8pm BST. Rob Smyth will be MBMing PSG 2-4 Bayern (5-6 agg), while Barry Glendenning is on Chelsea 3-1 Porto (5-1 agg).
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I always get fed, I can assure you of that” – Noah Solskjær might as well have said ‘my captors are treating me well’, even if his statement to Norwegian media was meant to dampen the little war of words between his father, Ole, and José Mourinho, after Manchester United’s weekend win over Spurs.
““You just had to do it, didn’t you? Barely as I’ve just about got over the 16 years of bitterness at Pedro Mendes’s shot from the halfway line at Old Trafford being disallowed and Spurs being denied a certain last-minute winner, you went and published a picture of Roy Carroll (yesterday’s Quote Of The Day) at about the same position inside the goal from which he made his heroic ‘save’. With presumably the same smug grin on his face. Thanks a lot, Fiver” – Tim Clarke.
“Re: Justin Kavanagh and Antoine Griezmann’s exceptionally accurate child creation (yesterday’s letters). I’ve done the maths so no-one else has to – these are the major events approximately nine months prior to the birth of each child: 11 July 2020 – “thigh injury” against Real Valladolid which ends his season. 15 July 2018 – wins the World Cup Final. 28 July 2015 – scores for first time in the season against Real Oviedo. I guess 2020 was hard for everyone” – Luke Justus.
“I hate agreeing with Mourinho. I mean, I really, really hate it. But he ain’t wrong. Bread IS bread. And, most of the time, cheese usually is cheese. But he’s still gonna get fired in a few weeks, isn’t he?” – Mike Wilner.
“Re: recent stories on refereeing. Many moons ago I was playing in goals in an amateur league match deep down in the west of Ireland. The referee that day was huge, the kind of fella who was probably sinking 10 pints a day during the week and gallons of porter at the weekend. Needless to say he couldn’t keep up with play. Our opponents took a corner and managed to get a shot away towards my near post. The referee who had taken up a position near the post out of sheer laziness, managed to deflect their shot from going wide with his beer gut back into play from which they scored. To add insult to injury he gave me a yellow card for pointing out his fat belly had provided the assist” – Eoin Balfe.
NEWS, BITS AND BOBS
Forest Green are pondering appointing the Football League’s first woman manager, having booted Mark Cooper through the door marked Do One.
Manchester City are poised to swoop for Fluminense’s teenage sensation Kayky, who has been billed as the ‘new Neymar’. No pressure then. Talking of which, Jadon Sancho will not face City for Dortmund tomorrow due to ongoing thigh-gah. Which might have given Pep Guardiola some confidence.
A 49-year-old man has been charged with racially abusing West Brom’s Romaine Sawyers online.
The decision to bar clinically extremely vulnerable supporters from the League/Fizzy Cup final is “direct discrimination”, according to a group of disabled Tottenham fans.
It was Big Sam’s turn to be in a right funk over VAR, as it meant a 4-0 win over Southampton ended up being only 3-0. Asked whether the technology was making football a laughing stock, he chuntered: “I’m afraid so.”
In other unsurprising Premier League news, Brighton created a load of chances and didn’t score from any of them. As per.
Lucy Bronze is a doubt for England’s friendly against Canada this evening with groin knack.
And Florentino Pérez has been re-elected Real Madrid president for a sixth term in an election contested by … *checks notes* … no one else.
STILL WANT MORE?
Tuesday marks 10 years to the day since the Women’s Super League as created, so Suzy Wrack listed the five biggest moments so far.
Meanwhile, Suzy also sat down for a chin-way with Kelly Simmons, the head of the professional women’s game, to see what’s next for female football in the UK.
Oh, and if it’s your thing … you can follow Big Website on Big Social FaceSpace. And INSTACHAT, TOO!