It’s not so bad…
When not giving entirely unsolicited advice to Gareth Bale, winner of two Champions League winners’ medals and scorer of 50 goals in 90 La Liga games (‘I want to see him kick on in terms of his personality, his technique, his physique, his dynamism and aggression, becoming a talker, a leader, a bit less nice’, writes a man who very much knows how not to be nice), Stan Collymore is revisiting his views about Manchester City.
After denigrating the ‘a***-kissing nonsense’ about Pep Guardiola in a previous column for the Daily Mirror, Collymore is back after the historic win over Barcelona this week:
‘While some people seem to think it was the night they finally became a major force in the Champions League, I still think they have some way to go.
‘For me, City need to reach three or four semi-finals, a couple of finals and win the competition, maybe even twice, for the likes of Lionel Messi and Thomas Muller to really consider a move to the Etihad.
‘For now they remain in that tier just below the Champions League elite, alongside the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, Wolfsburg and Malaga.’
Right. So for City to be recognised as a ‘major force in the Champions League’ they have to reach criteria met by only five teams in the near-25-year history of the competition. Should they manage to mimic, say, Bayern Munich and win two Champions League titles over 13 seasons – assuming they win their first next year – they might then be a tempting prospect for the 42-year-old Lionel Messi. Well it’s definitely something to aim for.
For now they remain exactly like Wolfsburg, who have reached the knock-out stages of the Champions League once (and finished eighth in the Bundesliga last season) and Malaga, who have been in the Champions League once. Four seasons ago.
Stan: A slight return
Stan Collymore also has a warning for Eddie Howe:
‘I HOPE Eddie Howe doesn’t become the English Roberto Martinez, whereby he doesn’t realise that keeping clean sheets and keeping things tight are just as important as playing expansive, easy-on-the-eye football.’
Number of clean sheets kept by Bournemouth this season: 3.
Number of PL clubs who have kept more clean sheets than Bournemouth this season: 4
We think he realises.
Say it proud
Robbie Savage has been answering some tweets about Manchester United.
@Nicmyster: Need a regular solid defence with ACTUAL defenders, not makeshift defenders
SAV SAYS : “I agree – you wouldn’t play a centre forward in goal, so I don’t go along with the concept of makeshift defenders.”
Yes. Because playing Daley Blind at centre-half, where he started 31 Premier League games last season, is exactly – and we mean exactly – the same as playing Marcus Rashford in net.
Sign your name…
You may not have heard of Lyall Thomas. Or @SkySportsLyall, as he is known on Twitter. Like Madonna and Rihanna, he only needs one name.
You will never actually see Lyall Thomas on Sky Sports because Lyall Thomas works for the Sky Sports website. According to his LinkedIn profile, Lyall Thomas ‘works predominantly on investigative news stories specialising in football, while providing written content for the web, mobile and tablet platforms; including news, previews, reports and live blogging’. He is also ‘available for freelance writing’.
Basically, he’s a star.
So when Tottenham fan Tom Lee asked Lyall Thomas to get him a signed teamsheet…
— Tom Lee (@tommolee123) November 3, 2016
Mediawatch is just a tad disappointed that he didn’t sign it @SkySportsLyall. Think of the brand, fella.
The unspoken rule when putting together a combined XI is to make sure you have at least five players from each side. Especially when each set of supporters think you’re a numpty (we’re trying to swear less; how’s it going?).
So we can only assume that Sol Campbell put together his combined XI, realised he hadn’t picked many Tottenham players and panicked…
— Nicholas Godden (@nicholasgodden) November 3, 2016
Thankfully there are no right-wingers at either north London club who have scored eight goals in a revelatory season.
Paul Merson’s guide to football form
Now Liverpool may indeed beat Watford 3-1 on Sunday. But Liverpool will not beat Watford 3-1 because Watford ‘haven’t been firing lately’; Watford have lost one of their last seven Premier League games and are seventh in the table ahead of Manchester United.
Nine places below Watford are West Ham, who have lost four of their last seven Premier League games. So how are the Hammers doing, Merse? ‘They’re getting better and better.’ Of course they are.
Ask a simple question
This is Paul Scholes' team sheet from tonight's Man Utd game. Fascinating…what tells you he was getting slightly frustrated… pic.twitter.com/M2Qg1Et40O
— Jake Humphrey (@mrjakehumphrey) November 3, 2016
‘Is this PROOF Scholes wants Mou out?’ asks Goal.
No, it’s proof that Paul Scholes likes drawing boxes.
Quote of the day
“Seeing this is overwhelming. Mind-blowing. The robots, the workers, the production line. Most importantly what a workforce, showing us you need a team to get to the end goal” – David Moyes takes his squad to a Nissan production line. And presumably signs a robot or two.
Recommended reading of the day
Mike Henson on Denilson and a career that never left the departure lounge
Based Tuned to Red on on Philippe Coutinho taking Liverpool corners
Steve Brenner on on an Englishman in New York