Football’s biggest talking points from the last week.
The past week has seen so much happen in the ‘beautiful’ game, we’ve had a club legend lose his status as manager .. possibly even at more clubs than one. We’ve had a round of European football where Ronaldo’s and Messi’s side failed to progress into the next round of the Champions League but was replaced by Haaland’s and Mbappe’s. Two Papa John’s Trophy Finals were played and someone lost their job due to a poor performance whereas the other losers left the pitch feeling proud and the North London Derby which caused a little bit of a stir.
On Monday, Derek McIness departed Pittodrie with Aberdeen placed 4th in the Scottish Premiership table after one win in their last five games. The Paisley-born gaffer has been doing his role at Pittodrie since 2013, following spells at St Johnstone and Bristol City. In the time that he has been at the club, the only honour he has earned was the Scottish League Cup in 2014. The Dons will be hoping to add to their trophy room sooner rather than later. Elsewhere, David Moyes’ team beat Marcelo Bielsa’s comfortably at the London Stadium on the same night that Everton lost 2-0 at Stamford Bridge.
Tuesday saw the start of this week’s European games. Four Champions League ties across two days followed by a round of the Europa League. Juventus were knocked out by Porto, on away goals, at the Italian Allianz Stadium as Haaland shined on foreign shores against Seville scoring a brace to send BVB through to the quarters.
The following day another footballing great was knocked out of the superior competition, Lionel Messi and FC Barcelona themselves. It was PSG that beat them, due to a 4-1 hammering in the first leg, as Mbappe and Messi were on the scoresheet at Le Parc des Princes.
So, are we experiencing a change of the guard as Haaland and Mbappe show what they’re all about .. the Frenchman has been well known about since before the Russian 2018 World Cup and the veteran duo failed to reach the UCL quarters for the first time in 16 years.
On the final day of the week’s European football, Dean Henderson made a major mistake in net for Manchester United when he blundered a header from Simon Kjaer in the dying stages of a relatively drab game at Old Trafford. Amad Diallo was another name on the scoresheet, proving his talent when his head met the long glorious ball that was fed to him by Bruno Fernandes but the youngster had a lot of work to do himself from this position in the box. Henderson’s mistake sparked debate as it has been known for some time now that there is a debate of it is time to replace David De Gea in net, with the Spaniard on paternity leave at this present time. My opinion? I’d have Henderson in net as he’ll only improve and any mistakes he has made recently don’t even compare to the mistakes that DeGea made when he first came to the Premier League.
Friday saw Villa dropping points late on at St James Park, not much to say about that one other than Dean Smith’s side probably should’ve won as they doubled their counterparts shots on target. On this day though, there were strong rumours that Sheffield United legend Chris Wilder was on his way out of Bramall Lane.
The rumours were confirmed by an official statement on Saturday, sparking great debate as Wilder has been influential to the club in recent years taking the Blades from League One to the Premier League in the space of three years. United fans took to social media to state ‘I’ve had a look at the next possible candidates to become the new manager. The best candidate? Chris Wilder’ before slating the knowledge of the game that the club’s chairmen and owners had.
Elsewhere Salford beat Portsmouth on penalties in the Papa Johns Trophy final, which should’ve been played last season. However, they dominated throughout the course of the game and with Pompey fans already wanting Kenny Jackett out of the club this feeling grew stronger. He must’ve known that pressure was on him, the experienced gaffer making three subs at half time and none of the plans he had for these on-pitch replacements came to fruition.
On Sunday, a league one side did manage to beat their league two opponents in another Papa Johns Trophy final at Wembley. Sunderland beat Tranmere 1-0. Normally, after a play off final defeat there is a great feeling of disappointment and frustration. The overwhelming feeling was one of pride though, some people saying that it was the best of performances in their 40 years of supporting the Whites. Keith Hill’s men pretty much dominated throughout without scoring as the Stadium of Light outfit capitalised on a lapse of concentration.
Leicester shamed Sheffield United 5-0, as Kelechi Iheanacho bagged a hat trick and gave an emotional post match interview in which he thanked all mothers around the world for caring deeply about their children .. Kelechi’s mother passed away when he was 14, adding another depth of emotion to the words he said.
Arsenal won the North London Derby but it was Lamela’s rabona goal and sending off that stole the major talking points from that one as Aubameyeng was left out due to ‘disciplinary issues’ for the hosts. Jose Mourinho will start to look all around him, stating pre-match that he didn’t look at Arsenal as they are below Spurs in the league table and he only looks up not down.
Portsmouth did eventually sack Jackett, it was about time that happened really as fans expressed their feelings of delight in the comment sections beneath everywhere that the club statement could be found.
Possible moment of the week that I haven’t mentioned?
Kevin Ellison’s celebration in front of Derek Adams as Newport County beat Morecambe 3-1 with Ellison’s goal being the third. In recent times, Adams has treated the forward unfairly as he had spent just under ten years at the club and then when the manager came in he froze the player out due to concerns about his age. Apparently, he wasn’t allowed to train etc. It is nice to see that the former Tranmere bagsman has been able to overcome this dark period of his career to come back stronger and turn the feelings of anger onto the manager himself as he had to travel home with major social media criticism and a league defeat in the back of his mind.
42-year-old Kevin Ellison celebrates in front of Derek Adams, does age really matter in football?.