I thought Glasgow Celtic played well in the first half last night. Didnt concede in the first 20 mins ( the golden rule ) , had an out ball and it seemed a plan . We were doing fine , ahead via a well taken pounce on a weak defender by Odsonne. But the half time instructions by the opposition coach changed the game in his teams favour . When his side got the ball wide his men were ordered to attack the box in numbers . They listened , they followed instruction , they won. They were not a million miles better at all and the gulf in class wasnt huge . Home advantage helped them a lot and their plan worked . Should give them a sterner test in Glasgow .
One word on the opponents though , fair play to them for giving their Israeli striker the platform . That faith is being repaid bigtime ( 7 in 6 so far in Europe ). For a team with money he could easily have been pushed down the pecking order maybe for someone from a “ sexier “ nation . Pat on the back .
I was really looking forward to the Pool away to Napoli and I was not disappointed despite only a solo goal . Its nice having no skin in the game knowing its going to be good although most of us Im sure would want one team to win more than the other , if even by a little .
I also on these pages just last week tipped the Pool for the title and wanted to see their mettle tested against opponents they were not soo comfortable with .
Add into the mix the passionate crowd ,,,Napolis fluid attacking play honed by now Chelski boss Sarri and you had a thigh rubber . LIke I say , for the purist , she didn’t disappoint.
The entire English media are united in stating the EPLs best defender is Virgil and one lapse of concentration from him cost his team all three points in the final minute of time last night .
Now rather than an experienced defender , Virgil has hand selected Gomez as his partner so as he can mould and direct his play , and not be victim to the hard wired responses to situations of the other defenders he had to choose from . Its clever and its working by and large , but hinges on Virgils decision making and communication .
In the last minute he was dragged out to the wing , the decision that would cost them . The ball in was perfect but I posit if Gomez had went to the wing and left Virgil in the middle , not the other way about , his pace and leg reach would have probably stopped that ball reaching the scorer . Its a mute point and we will never know but Virgil will surely think strongly about staying right in front of his precious goal mouth and keeper than shepherd anyone out towards the by line .
He is very very good , but that was a rookie mistake sorry . Better to get it out of the way in the groups though.
The good news for the Pool is they looked great until Kieta went off and it took a mistake and perfect pounce on that to undo them . That should be comforting as this team is nowhere near peaked yet and should keep learning . They are on the right track . No doubt about it .
Anyway to the blue half of Manchester on their Euro escapades , and it wasnt all smooth sailing despite the 3 points being bagged by Manchesscity .
Afterwards we heard the words I want to focus on ,,,
Pep said reaching the quarter finals would be good enough and he’s not sure if they could win it .
The owners said they wanted a historic quadruple 2 years ago .
Right back Walker said in August Pep and team are aiming for the quadruple .
Now after a defeat to Lyon and a near defeat to Naggelsman’s Hoffenheim he has changed his tune . And also it was an old hand that pulled him out of a hole , 32 year old Silva who ran the most of any City player and will be jaded for Sundays big game no doubt .
And then Pep refused to discuss the ref as he has a suspended sentence over him for abusing a ref after a game. The top dog is talking about refs now also . Thats a sign hes either feeling pressure or he is actually aware that the refs suck . If its the latter as a person with a lot of sway in world football he should speak up on behalf on the entire sport and become and ambassador for better if you will . Is he ?
Yeah right . Hes feeling the heat. If the league alone was enough then he would not have got the job as he wasnt needed, they were already there . Same as Bayern where he didnt deliver the target as it was only the big one he was tasked with.
The fans though could well be the swaying factor,,,if they dont win the big cup but are playing well and lift the title I expect the fans would be happy with that , I dont see why personally.
The owners might hesitate to question him if everyone else is happy but at some stage that must stop and they should ask “ when are you giving us the star above the badge ? “
He is downplaying expectations clearly and some might think that is right , but I would say the best coach in the world ( apparently ) with a hell of a squad should be talking up his boys and aiming at their first star publicly .
That “ Im the Man ! “ factor is usually the difference at elite levels of most sports if not all .
Maybe thats why Im not soo keen on him . Big them up Pep and you will have a better chance !
So both the above meet this Sunday at Anfield in what truly meets the definition of thigh rubber .
Jurgen has came out on top recently and I expect it to continue . Liverpool will want a win in this little series of three fast games having got the draw and tasted defeat . And at home , they will go for the throat . Jaded City wont cope with the system and the Kopites. Salah wouldnt chose this game to spring back into goal scoring mode would he ?
Defeat could see Pep start to lose a grip of his lifeline , the title . I know which one of the 2 managers I would rather have for my team .
Speaking of 2 men , fellow fans of combat sports dare not miss this Saturdays Las Vegas showdown .
Daegestans undefeated ground and pound beast Khabib will finally get the shot he has sought for years although he may not have chose the wisest route . Calling out Mc Gregor didnt work as Conor had other fish to fry that would land a much bigger payday , so “ the mad rat “ made it personal by finding Conors boy , and giving him a slap with some taunting and throwing the video up for the world to see . It worked and now he has his man where he wants he , or so he says . After running his mouth very loudly the mad rat went suspiciously quiet when faced the one he was calling for . A bit pale also . Im thinking hes not really ready for the “ show “ when it begins and Mac tends to conduct the show rather than dance to its tune .
Prediction,,,devastating early knockout for the Dubliner . Looks pissed he does. Wouldnt wanna be yer man I’ll tell ya .
As the oul sayin goes ,,,
Its not the Dub in the fight , but the fight in the Daeg !
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