A lot of VAR chat around in medialand today. Annoyingly, though, most of it is reasonable enough because that penalty decision really was ridiculous. Doesn’t mean there isn’t nonsense to be found, though…
O Captain! My Captain!
A game that featured a genuinely startling result-changing VAR intervention deep into stoppage-time doesn’t particularly stand out as one that needs conspicuous clickbaiting, but maybe that’s just Mediawatch giving away the fact we lack The Sun’s imagination and commitment to the task.
If it were us, we’d simply – as The Sun have themselves done elsewhere – round up all the people going ‘ROBBERY!’ and losing their minds over what a terrible decision it was and leave it at that. We might, on one of our weaker days, allow ourselves to indulge in a little bit of wildly hypocritical think-of-the-children faux-outrage by calling Alan Shearer’s self-censored tweet about it a FOUL-MOUTHED RANT. That sort of stuff.
But that’s probably about as far as we’d want to go with it all.
The Sun, though, are always working, always looking for new angles, and crucially ways to make those angles sound interesting in a headline even if they are crashingly, tediously dull.
PSGEE-WHIZ: TNT Sports commentator spots PSG’s rarely-seen unusual move against Newcastle for final seven minutes of clash
A rarely-seen unusual move? Sounds saucy. And The Sun are so pleased with that clunky and cumbersome and frankly tautological phrase they use it again in the intro. An intro that, crucially, goes no further to explain what precisely this move, both unusual and rarely-seen as it may be, actually is.
TNT SPORTS commentator Darren Fletcher spotted a rarely-seen unusual move by Paris Saint-Germain in the final moments of their Champions League clash with Newcastle.
The reason for that becomes clear in paragraph two, because it is too dull for words. Too dull even for caps lock to enliven it any.
That’s as Kylian Mbappe appeared to REMOVE his captain’s armband.
He did WHAT? He appeared to REMOVE what now?
The Sun then spend a bit of time catching us all up on the other events of the night, including that trifling hoo-ha with the penalty, before getting back to the meaty stuff. The sudden disappearance of Mbappe’s armband being quite literally the entirety of this tale means a degree of repetition is necessary to drag it up towards the word count.
However, the Ligue 1 champions appeared to spearhead last night’s comeback in a very unusual manner.
That’s because for the final seven minutes of normal time, as well as the eight of added time, they appeared to play WITHOUT a captain.
Commentator Fletcher revealed on the mic that Mbappe, who had been skippering PSG in Marquinhos’ absence, had seemingly removed the armband by the 83rd minute.
You’ve told us this already. Although also now admitting that despite the earth-shattering nature of this armband discard, you don’t actually know precisely when it happened; only when Fletcher happened to notice it.
It remains unclear why the World Cup winner may have taken it off, with Fletcher speculating he possibly found it uncomfortable.
Please, someone, get to the bottom of this mystery. We shan’t be able to sleep until we know the truth.
The next sentence is genuinely baffling, though.
But with Mbappe going on to rescue PSG from the spot, with the armband back ON, the move clearly worked out.
Wait… what? If he had the armband back on when scoring the penalty, how does the earlier temporary removal of said armband show ‘the move clear…’ Ah, you know what. Just forget it.
Bit of blue
Quite a lot happening in football today. Manchester United have a vital Champions League game tonight. Arsenal can secure top spot in their group. And then there’s the continued fallout from Newcastle’s late and wildly unfair heartbreak at PSG.
But what is, according to the Daily Star website, currently the sixth biggest football story of the day?
RED FLAG: Man Utd fan lifts her top and flashes her boobs outside front of City’s stadium to ‘prove Manchester is red’
Yes, if you’re wondering: this is considered the day’s most significant piece of Manchester City news ahead of a comeback from 2-0 down to ensure they’ll top their Champions League group.
We’ve quite enjoyed not having to write about Mason Greenwood for a bit, but he’s been doing enormously competent work for Getafe and that means there will be transfer attention.
Mason Greenwood targeted for huge transfer from Man Utd by three European clubs – but Getafe are back of the queue
‘Huge’ is it, The Sun? Which European super-clubs are involved here, then? We know this story is rock solid, because all the information in it comes from ‘Our source’ and the brave investigative reporter who’s managed to pin that source down – in a startling piece of nominative determinism – goes by the name ‘Sun Reporter’. What are the odds?!
Anyway, it’s Valencia, Real Sociedad and Getafe themselves. Huge.
It’s fair to say Manchester United are in a spot of Champions League bother. They are bottom of their group and pretty much definitely need to win at Galatasaray to have any realistic hopes of progressing.
But it’s still not quite as bleak as the Manchester Evening News make out with this headline:
Manchester United must do two things they have never done to keep Champions League dream alive
We will cheerfully overlook the fact that technically they could remain in mathematical contention with a draw, but we’re still going to say ‘two things they have never done’ is an unnecessarily alarmist way of describing ‘beat Galatasaray away’.
Because really, the ‘two things’ are that one thing. Or at least, thing two is so indelibly linked to thing one as to make no difference.
Because the first thing United have never done that they now must is, yes, win away at Galatasaray.
The second? Score a goal away at Galatasaray. Feels like it’s covered in thing one, guys.
And that’s before we even get started on whether the phrase ‘never done’ is really fair about a 130-year-old club that has played quite literally thousands of matches but only three – a 1-0 defeat and two goalless draws – that could have altered this bleakly unprecedented scenario.
What a happy coincidence that news of Liverpool’s no doubt long-standing interest in RB Leipzig striker Lois Openda should reach the Daily Star upon the very night he scores two goals against Manchester City. Serendipity, thy name is football transfer bullshit.