Last week in British football.
A new feature that I have taken to doing is telling you, the readers, about the greatest stories across British football in the past week. There have been numerous Premier League fixtures, the FA Cup quarters, a round of European football and there have also been numerous draws and international squad selections.
At the start of the week, on Monday, Liverpool travelled to Molineux for a Premier League encounter under the lights. The Reds won 1-0, with thanks to a Diogo Jota goal that Rui Patrictio would’ve kicked himself for not getting to. The Portugese forward joined Jurgen Klopp’s side at the tail end of the Summer transfer window, showing the level of talent that he had immediately. However, he has only just come back from injury so scoring against his former club will do wonders for him for several reasons. What probably scarred this game though is when Conor Coady smashed into the Wolves keeper, leading to him being concussed and needing immediate attention. The game was stopped for around ten minutes but manager, Nuno Espirito Santo, said that he seemed okay in the dressing room after the full time whistle .. he was up, talking.
A round of Champions League and Europa league fixtures came in midweek. Manchester City and Real Madrid both progressed into the UCL Quarters on Tuesday night, with a win at the Etihad against Borussia Monchengladbach and a win at the Santiago Bernabeu against Atalanta respectively. They were the 5th and 6th team going into the final 8, the first four had done what they had to do the previous week (Liverpool, PSG, Dortmund and Porto).
Chelsea and Bayern Munich were the final two to progress into the UCL Quarters, on Wednesday night, beating Atletico Madrid and Lazio respectively. Thomas Tuchel has seemed to do wonders with his team, Chelsea, since taking over from Roman Abromovich. There were questions about whether it was right or not to replace Frank Lampard on the touchlines but he has pushed any criticism aside as the Blues now look like a team capable of beating any level of quality. Robert Lewandowski, as always and former Stoke forward Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting were the two goalscorers for Die Rotten at the Allianz.
Four Brittish sides had Europa League fixtures to play on Thursday night, Arsenal and Manchester United progressed into the Quarters with a 1-0 defeat at home to Olympiacos and a 1-0 victory over AC Milan on Italian soil. Mikel Arteta’s men had won 3-1 away the previous week thus they were through even if they had performed woefully this time round. Paul Pogba scored the goal for Ole’s men, replacing Marcus Rashford at half time. However, Spurs and Rangers failed to progress. Elsewhere, Spurs had travelled to Zagreb in the hope of progressing following a 2-0 win in the first round and Rangers were pitting their wits against Slavia Prague at Ibrox. Amazingly, Spurs had managed to fail in their task of progression as Zagreb beat them 3-0 with the game going to extra time. A few days previous, their manager had been imprisoned for fraud thus inevitably there were jokes placed on social media that the wrong manager had been found guilty of that. On a more serious matter though, Prague’s win in Glasgow was scarred by one of their players being racist to midfielder Glen Kamara and this sparked fury as everyone who has heard this news agree that something has to be done about this. A minority of Prague fans also racially abused Glen on social media, he soon put out a devastating statement on his account which put his emotions and feelings of anger towards those who run social media companies on display.
On Friday night, Marcelo Bielsa’s men beat Scott Parker’s survival chasers 2-1 at Craven Cottage. Fulham had to win to place the pressure onto the teams around them, Newcastle United in particular. However, Steve Bruce certainly didn’t help himself on the weekend. This was a good game in the Capital, the funniest moment though? When Luke Ayling’s goal was ruled out for offside after he had celebrated like a rockstar, taking his long hair out of a bow and using his hands and arms like he was playing a guitar.
On Saturday, Southampton and Manchester City both progressed into the FA Cup semis with wins over Bournemouth and Everton respectively on the road. Pep’s men have looked relentless all season and they took that to Goodison Park where they scored two late on to keep the hosts away from a trophy for 26 years and counting. Southampton beat Championship promotion chasers Bournemouth 3-0 at the Vitality stadium. In the Premier League, further doubts and aggression was placed onto Mike Ashley (The Toon owner) and Steve Bruce (Newcastle manager) after Newcastle were beaten 3-0 by Brighton. It doesn’t look pretty up North, it hasn’t for quite some time now and you do have to feel for the supporters. Fulham, on the other hand, have a real chance of staying up if they can string a few good results together.
The final day of the week, Sunday, saw Chelsea and Leicester City progress into the FA Cup Semis with wins against Sheffield United at the Bridge and Manchester United at the King Power. Ole and his team will be kicking themselves as this was a real chance of progressing, it now leaves the door for a trophy only open to the Europa League. In the Premier League, West Ham played Arsenal and were 3-0 up at half time. Mikel Arteta must have sparked a flame at half time as the Gunners were on top throughout the second half and got the three goals back for the game to finish in a draw. Jesse Lingard was on the scoresheet again, he’s been on fire since signing for the Hammers in January. Spurs put all emotions aside to beat Villa 2-0 in Birmingham, Jose Mourinho (manager) said that this performance was ‘sad’ in his post match meeting with the press. Should it take a 3-0 defeat in Zagreb to spark this level of fight and talent to be put on show? The Portugese gaffer doesn’t think so. In Glasgow, Scotland the Old Firm Derby at Celtic Park finished 1-1.
My moment of the week –
Tottenham’s defeat against Dinamo Zagreb, that will take quite some time for people to forget about.
Thank you for reading,