If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at email@example.com
What’s the difference between Vardy and Suarez?
Be interesting to see how many condemn Vardy’s actions as tainting the performance in the same way Suarez’ were for Barcelona. I don’t wish to piss on Leicester’s chips, they did incredibly well, and I was rooting for them the whole way, more point out the hypocrisy. People pile on Suarez because it’s Barcelona and it’s him, who to put it mildly has previous, and to put it realistically is a d*ck, but both actions were equally done to gain an unfair advantage while their team were in a desperate situation. Suarez arguably had more call to resort to desperate measures – his team had two goals to score in five odd minutes! Regardless of millions spent, Barcelona had to pull off a seemingly unfathomable task, and did. Claiming the whole thing is bunk because of a few refereeing decisions seems suspect to me.
It doesn’t really wash with me that Nasri shouldn’t have followed up, or that Leicester were massive underdogs (so were Barcelona in the circumstances), or that both received fair punishment. Vardy instigated the confrontation, then play acted, knowing the implications for Nasri. Nasri didn’t headbutt him any more than he headbutted Nasri. It’s hypocritical to brush this under the carpet, but claim Suarez ruined the game. Anyway, enough chip pissing. I don’t want it to taint the performance, I enjoyed it start to finish and think they played excellently. Just an acknowledgement that gamesmanship is gamesmanship, regardless of how much you like the team or person doing it.
…The match is still going on, but that Nasri/Vardy ridiculousness has just prompted me to write in for the first time ever.
Yeah, Nasri probably deserved the sending off, but Vardy turned in a quintessential performance to make sure it happened. The shove, then the second shove, then the lean-in, and the exaggerated recoil–Hollywood ought to be calling.
Wish he weren’t such a shithouse but that’s kinda like asking water not to be wet.
Winston, Connecticut, USA
What a performance from Leicester. It had all the ingredients that made them a title winning team last season. Jamie Vardy and his sh!thousery. Leicester pressing the opposition all over the pitch. Lightning fast counter-attacks. Wes Morgan scoring a goal off his knee. N’Golo pushing them on (from the stands) and the fans getting right behind the team.
But as Leicester celebrate the win, it’s difficult not to remember Ranieri and think that the performance reeks of betrayal. Seeing Vardy race around the pitch like that makes you wonder why he wasn’t doing that a few weeks ago. Where was all this fight from the players when the man that took them to this very competition was still around?
You have to be very happy for the Leicester fans, because they must be having the time of their lives. But it also feels fitting that this game was on at the same time as ‘Mutiny’ on Channel 4.
We acted like dicks but who cares?
I don’t think I’m exaggerating to say that was the best game of football I’ve seen live. Simply phenomenal from Leicester. Had the perfect game plan and pulled it off emphatically. Atmosphere was electric from start to finish. Drama with the penalty and red card. Nervy finish to see it through, I’m still shaking!
Even from where I was sat I could see Vardy went down like a sack of shit from the Nasri incident. We also timewasted and generally were a bit of a dick at times, but I really can’t care about that right now.
To beat Sevilla over two legs is just a ridiculous achievement. I didn’t give us a chance before the first leg, so I’m absolutely delighted to be in the draw for the quarters! Really has given the club a lift after a really disappointing season all round, for many reasons.
I wrote in a while ago that I thought we have massively flattered to deceive in this competition so far, and some good results have put an overly positive narrative on some pretty lacklustre performances. All I wanted to see was that when we get knocked out, we do so playing at our best, with the kind of performance we saw last year. Last night if we went out playing like that I’d have gone out happy.
I guess I’ll settle for another round of the same!
Ben (Barcelona please!!), LCFC
Random giddy outpourings
Wow, just wow. Leicester City manage to make the quarter-finals of the Champions League at the first attempt. A very subtle two fingers to those who said we’d wreck the coefficient. A slightly less subtle laugh at progressing further than Spurs and Arsenal.
This result was only possible due to Schmeichel playing out of his skin in this competition & especially in this tie.
Of the remaining teams in the draw I’d love Barca but would only really want to avoid Manchester City. I’ve been predicting we would get Atletico every round, so would not be surprised in the slightest to see them drawn on Friday.
This really does feel like the next chapter of the fairy tale. Being a fan makes your keenly aware this could all be over with one slip but…I believe.
Steve Phillips, random giddy Leicester fan
Greatest European performance by an English side in years. And it’s by little Leicester City. And weren’t we supposed to ruin the UEFA coefficient and embarrass England in Europe?
Now anyone but Man City in the next round please! We’ve already beaten them this season, let’s give someone else a good go…
Toby (champions) Mitchell
…So, can Leicester fans start complaining about how Tottenham/Arsenal/etc. are bringing down the coefficient?
Leicester are embarrassing Arsenal
Leicester’s Champions League exploits really should serve as a reminder to Arsenal that is time to part ways with our manager.
It’s Leicester’s first season in the CL and they’ve managed to do what we haven’t managed to do for the past seven seasons. Add the fact Liverpool’s sporadic runs in the tournament and their actual winning of it in 2005, Spurs getting further than us a few years back the first time they qualified and you see why our record over more than a decade of qualification is so piss poor.
It was only the other day I was reminded of the defence that actually managed to make our one and only final. Yeah, we had Sol Campbell but we were also calling on the likes of Senderos and Flamini at left back as Cole was out injured. That defence kept 10 consecutive clean sheets, which I think is still a record for the competition.
And how did they manage to do that? Well, that was the season Martin Keown was working with our defence. Fast forward a decade and we have Spain’s brightest young thing at right-back and a World Cup winner and Euro finalist alongside him. These guys are miles better individually than that defence of ’06.
And the only time Gibbs has ever looked like a proper defender was when he first broke through from the youth team. And who was coach of that youth team? Why Steve Bould of course, who for my money is the greatest centre-back I’ve ever seen play for the club. Why doesn’t our manager give him free rein over that defence so they are organised properly – I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve bellowed at Gibbs asking him who he’s marking?
We really can and should be doing better in the Champions League. The first step is qualifying for next year’s competition. The second is not renewing the manager’s contract.
Well done Leicester – you’re doing your country proud – something I haven’t said about Arsenal in years.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
…While my mind was dwelling on the Leicester result this evening, I couldn’t help but think that someone above has quite the sense of humour and Leicester’s remarkable achievements are all just another plot device used in the tragicomedy that is modern-day Arsenal.
Having not won the league for 12 years or progressed past the CL round of 16 in 8 years (what with stadium bills and sugar daddies etc) they then are forced to watch Leicester pop up out of nowhere to win the league at a canter armed with little more than bargain basement players and mental strength. Wenger then tries to buy Vardy and Kante who of course both turn him down. And now finally Leicester, stripped of their best player, their hero manager and their confidence, strut along into the CL quarter finals at the first time of asking even as Arsenal are dumped out yet again.
And managed by Shakespeare? Come on!
The question a lot of people are asking
With Leicester almost inevitably poised to snatch a last-minute Champions League win against Barca in a tumultous final and Judas similarly positioned to be holding up two fingers to future United fans after this season’s UEFA final, what are the implications for next years Champions League qualification?
Can England have six teams in the competition? Alternatively, does it go the other way under new rules and they’ll only be left with the top two then qualifying? Anyone have any insight?
(The answer is that no, England are not allowed six teams. But they are allowed five. So if Leicester and Manchester United are both triumphant, fourth place will instead be only enough for a Europa League place – Ed)
Jose Mourinho: The outdated one
Before I begin, I still love Mourinho and what he has done for Chelsea. He will remain a blue for me my entire life, no matter what. But recent events force me to question him on several grounds. If there was an award for contradicting your own opinions, Jose Mourinho would win it every year.
When Lampard decided to go to ‘a direct competitor to Chelsea’ (Manchester City), the ‘love story was over’ as put by him, but Jose still expects Chelsea fans to remember the three titles he has won us, despite his regular and unwanted scathing attacks on our style of play, and how it would be difficult to beat any team that plays like us. We were known for parking the bus under Mourinho. That was his style and we were together proud of it. Ironically, he recently took a dig at Chelsea and their style of play under Conte, and indirectly implied that it should be easy for us to win the league, given our defensive counter-attacking style.
No credit must be given to the fact that a manager with no PL experience has lifted a team from 10th (16th where Jose left us) to 1st in just months. Jose, on the other hand, one of the most experienced PL managers of our time, has spent 150 Million and has arguably taken United a step backward. One thought, if it is so easy to win using this brilliant counter-attacking defensive formula, he really could have utilised it last year, instead of embarrassing himself and the club week after week. And why not use the formula now with his struggling United side if it is so easy to implement?
It is ironic when a man who poured sand on the Stamford Bridge turf to disrupt Barcelona’s free-flowing style of football in 2006, calling it “routine maintenance aimed at improving the drainage system”, today complains about someone else’s style of play. Well it is not ironic anymore, it is not even intelligent, it is just purely stupid – and most managers today have been able to call his bluff.
In 2015, Mourinho called upon referees to protect Hazard, once after the PSG game and also once after playing Tottenham, or else Hazard would leave the Premier League if players kept fouling or kicking him. This is what he exactly said
However, this was his reaction when one of his players got sent off for doing the exact same thing to the exact same player
It is hard to tell what Jose was smiling for, the fact that he is about to be thrashed by Conte again, or because his excuse generating machine does not need to be put to use as he already has a great one.
In 2015/16, Jose said this after the Chelsea VS Arsenal game: “He (Diego Costa) played like he has to play and that is why you have full stadiums and you sell football to television around the world for millions and millions. Because the game has to be played like that, OK? Man of the match, for me.” On Monday evening, Mourinho repeatedly complained about Cahill’s tackle, and how it deserved a booking. Now compare that to what Costa did against Arsenal, which did not warrant a booking in Jose’s books, in fact, Costa deserved to be rewarded Man of the Match.
Before the game on Monday, Jose tried his best to draw Conte into a verbal battle, and portray a scenario where his team is the unlucky one, already overburdened with fixtures and that Conte has only the FA Cup to look forward to, whereas Jose’s plate is too full. He then took a direct dig at Conte’s defensive style of play, but Conte however was unmoved by Jose’s words and refused to be drawn into his mind games, stating mind games don’t win you games and talking should be done on the pitch. Mourinho’s as a manager has always heavily relied on these mind games and off field tactics of his. So what has changed in one year? Has the man who is known to be a champion become a bad manager, or simply, is his bluff now being called out by smarter, younger managers like Conte who won’t let Mourinho’s mind games play on their head.
Instead of being drawn into a verbal battle with Jose or letting his words put pressure on him, Conte instead did really do the talking on the pitch. In fact, Conte beat Jose at his game by stating “United have the best squad in the league” at the end of the game – thereby implying you suck because of your manager! Jose’s tactics are outdated and his words which used to sound like a breath of fresh air years ago today sound monotonous, much like an old classic which you have watched so many times that it does not enthral you anymore. He must change, or we will soon lose one of the most brilliant and charming football managers of our generation.
Riwaz Duggal (CFC, Mumbai)
Who tries driving to Selhurst Park?
Re Hall of Shame – Crystal Palace
‘The only ballache of Selhurst is its location, or more exactly getting to and from the location. It is certainly the worst ground in the Premier League in terms of access, and probably the entire country, the only club where you can be sat in your car three miles from the centre spot with close to two hours until kick-off and still miss the first half-hour.’
I used to regularly hear this guff from my fellow Coventry fans when I lived in London, and frankly it’s bollocks. A 15-minute train ride from Victoria to Selhurst or Thornton Heath, followed by a 15-minute walk to the ground along streets positively lined with welcoming hostelries – it’s one of the best located football grounds in the country. If you’re stupid enough to try and get to a London football ground by car, then that’s your problem.
Tim Russell, Bangkok, Thailand
Praise for Storey (who can’t even drive)
Just a quick note to say I LOVE the Premier League Hall of Shame series – last week’s Chelsea edition was funny even for a Chelsea supporter, and the section on the Crystal Palace club shop made me laugh out loud at my keyboard.
Tim Colyer, Chelsea fan, London
PFA awards time
Seeing as this is around the (ridiculously early) time of the year that players have to vote for their team of the year, I thought I may as well get the ball rolling for the mailboxers:
CB: David Luiz
Player of the year: Kante
Young player of the year: Dele Alli (even though he doesn’t make the team)