Michael Owen has managed to forget just how brilliant Mo Salah was and is. Man City may have to accept they ‘wasted £100m’ on Jack Grealish.
Paris Saint-Germain proved a few people wrong on Tuesday evening with a victory over Manchester City that showed grit, steel and individual brilliance. Dave Kidd was at the Parc des Princes to be thrilled for The Sun:
‘It was the sort of match Pep Guardiola probably wouldn’t have minded losing all that much.’
Reckon he might have been a bit bothered, you know.
‘It was football as an art form. Football as showbiz. They could have staged it at the Louvre or the Moulin Rouge rather than here at the Parc des Princes.
‘And especially given that Manchester City and PSG will both surely qualify from this Champions League group anyway, Guardiola might have allowed himself to stand back and admire the gorgeousness of Messi’s goal.’
Well that result put them third in the group. They might still be one of the favourites to advance but not sure Club Brugge agree that Manchester City will ‘surely qualify’. Way to underestimate a team that probably deserved to win against this excellent PSG team before beating Leipzig away.
The rest of Kidd’s match report refers to ‘testimonial football played at a thundering tempo’, ‘the spirit of playground football’, ‘a spot of cabaret’ and ‘some sort of YouTube highlights reel from start to finish’.
Not sure a quite important Champions League game should be described as if it was a meaningless exhibition match, really.
Hit the road, Jack
Jordan Davies did not receive the memo about this being ‘testimonial football’ played in ‘the spirit of playground’ futility. His opinion piece for The Sun details how Jack Grealish is not Lionel Messi.
It is breaking news indeed that Grealish has to show ‘more than glimpses’ as ‘nights like these are ones that cannot pass you by’. He will be grateful for the timely reminder.
And ‘take notes’ from Messi – perhaps the greatest player in the history of the sport – is absolutely sound advice, to be fair.
But Grealish did create two chances, complete three dribbles and even make three tackles in 67 minutes, playing a key part in Manchester City’s best opportunity. Doesn’t really sound all that bad for his second career Champions League appearance away at one of the world’s best teams. Certainly not enough to dedicate 587 words to it.
The Daily Mirror website seems to agree as Jacob Leeks says ‘it will be the performance of Grealish that will leave Guardiola feeling that he now has a problem on his hands’.
He states his case convincingly:
‘Grealish started on the left wing in the French capital, but failed to have a shot on target in the entire 90 minutes.
‘He was also caught offside twice and lost four of his defensive duels on a tough night for the 26-year-old.’
Are you listening, Pep? Your boy lost four of his defensive duels. Pathetic.
Guardiola, of course, ‘will be left hoping that Grealish can figure out a way to perform in these types of Champions League matches if he is to avoid looking like he wasted £100m.’
One game. His second ever in the Champions League. Against Paris Saint-Germain. Away. When Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez also ‘proved to be ineffective’. And when Grealish scored in his previous match in the competition. But the fella is running out of time ‘to avoid looking like (Pep) wasted £100m’.
Charlie Wyett had his eye on Liverpool for The Sun and watched some ‘laughable defending’ from Porto contribute to a 5-1 Reds win.
‘Equally, it also helps when Mohamed Salah is in your team,’ he writes, adding that ‘his blistering form also serves as a warning for Manchester City with the teams meeting at Anfield this Sunday’.
Is Salah no longer ‘a flat-track bully’ akin to Mesut Ozil? And are Liverpool no longer ‘the great bottle jobs of English football’? Interesting developments, for sure.
Mediawatch could not quite figure out which Tottenham player had anonymously told Wyett that Nuno’s relationship with some Tottenham players was ‘at absolute rock bottom’ and the Portuguese was left ‘furious’ during their final training session before the north London derby.
Then came the final line of that report:
‘Another curious aspect of the day was there was no place in the matchday squad for Harry Winks.’
Ah. The absence of Harry Winks was definitely the most pressing selection issue for Spurs at the weekend. FFS. It wasn’t even the most questionable omission of a homegrown midfielder.
Back to Liverpool and Salah, with Michael Owen and Rio Ferdinand’s debate on BT Sport catching the eye of the Daily Mirror website.
Both pundits were asked who they would pick between the current Salah and Luis Suarez at his peak if they could only have one for a single season. They chose differently, which was handy. But Owen’s argument for Suarez was a little weird.
“The season Luis Suarez played under Brendan Rodgers. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life, as a one-off season, he was unbelievable. As a one-off season, obviously he’s been doing it for four years now, Mo Salah, we’re talking about one of the greatest players in the world. But your question was in a one-off season. That one that Suarez or any of the four that Mo Salah has had…there’s no comparison.”
Luis Suarez in 2013/14: 37 games, 31 goals, 14 assists, one Premier League runners-up medal.
Mo Salah in 2017/18: 52 games, 44 goals, 14 assists, one Champions League runners-up medal.
Reader, there is a comparison. And it shows Owen up ever so slightly.
‘OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER admits his £400MILLION transfer splurge has left him under pressure to deliver trophies’ – Neil Custis, The Sun.
But ‘the progression under Solskjaer is there for all to see’ and talk of him losing his job is ‘absolute rot’, right?
Hell, The Sun website even carries a story that claims Manchester United’s next eight games ‘could see Ole Gunnar Solskjaer face the chop’. The author is clearly blind to the progression that is there for all to see at Old Trafford.