UEFA, which has waved its paw at the Financial Fair Play debate for far too long, has finally found its claws after banning Manchester City from the Champions League — but the ensuing fight is now going to be bloody and extended.
Manchester United, Chelsea, and Tottenham were all left scrambling forforwards on what was a damp squib of a transfer deadline day as last-minute panic left United desperately trying to seal a deal for random target Odion Ighalo.
Down with the bunting, box up the tinsel. The league is over and we can all relax in the afterglow of our trophy gluttony. No late-campaign jitters, sleepless nights worrying about goal difference and whether our little star will shine brightest. It’s over and everyone knows it is.
Separated by a few feet in the Goodison Park directors’ box, and several decades of experience on their managerial CVs, Carlo Ancelotti and Mikel Arteta viewed a drab and dour stalemate which offered little insight into which appointment will ultimately prove the right approach from these two slumping giants of the English game.
The pressure is on Unai Emery to deliver at Arsenal this season. Failure to finish in the top four or win a trophy could signal an abrupt end for Arsene Wenger’s successor at London’s biggest club. Wenger’s early success and general brilliance ultimately afforded him 22 years running football affairs so replacing him was always going to be a challenge despite fortunes waning towards the end of his reign.
Hey, remember in the old days when the catastrophists were warning that VAR would be the Y2K of football, not just ruining the game as a spectacle but worse — far, far worse — doing away with all those ‘talking points’ so beloved of pundits, whether in a studio or on a bar stool?
If Ole Gunnar Solskjaer thought he had written the biggest moment in Manchester United’s European history when he scored the winning goal in the 1999 final, Marcus Rashford wrote one that may prove to be every bit as significant in the 93rd minute of an astonishing last 16 tie in Paris last night.
It was hard to imagine that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is entering the most pivotal spell of his brief, and spectacular, reign as Manchester United’s interim manager as he sat, as relaxed and on-message as ever, at his beloved Old Trafford yesterday.