Wednesday's big stories
Tottenham do it again
Tottenham have hardly been swashbuckling this season. They have, though, ground out result after result to sit third in the Premier League and top their Champions League group.
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It is not very Spurs. It is - to coin a phrase - very un-'Spursy'. The term 'Spursy' gained traction after it was, to the best of the Warm-Up's knowledge, coined on a popular Tottenham-focused podcast. 'Spursy-ness' can be best described by the fixture between Tottenham and Manchester United in September 2001. Spurs took a three-goal advantage to the break courtesy of strikes from Dean Richards, Les Ferdinand and Christian Ziege.
Sir Alex Ferguson's half-time team talk comprised three words, they were:
"Lads, it's Tottenham."
Second-half goals from Andrew Cole, Laurent Blanc, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Juan Sebastian Veron and David Beckham and it indeed was 'Spursy' as Glenn Hoddle's side crumbled in the second half, losing 5-3.
Spurs have been less 'Spursy' in recent years, increasingly becoming a force in the Premier League and Champions League, but still for the majority of the time playing the Spurs way. However, an undercurrent of 'Spursy-ness' remained - there were semi-final losses, final losses, collapses in the league. Basically, no silverware.
This season feels different. They are sturdy defensively and increasingly showing the knack of coming from behind to win late. There have been two examples of this alone this week - against Bournemouth and, now, Marseille.
Now, there are a few issues to this. The first being they are showing a worrying tendency to go behind. The second is they have won absolutely nothing yet. Thirdly, and quite importantly, Tottenham are currently playing a brand of football that much of its fanbase are dissatisfied with.
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However, it may be of some solace to that fanbase that Spurs' ability to strike late has almost certainly complicated Liverpool's hopes of salvaging something from what has already been a dreadful season.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg's late, late strike moved Spurs from second to top of their group. This means that Liverpool - who finished second behind Napoli in Group A - now face the unenviable task of potentially playing Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Porto or PSG in the round of 16. Now, there is a caveat to add here: Real Madrid and PSG currently are yet to be confirmed as group winners, but sit top of Group F and H, facing matches against Celtic and Juventus, respectively.
Had Spurs finished second, Eintracht Frankfurt would have been added as a potential opponent. The reason for this is - as per UEFA's rules - a club can't play a team from their group or from their own association in the round of 16. Thus Liverpool are unable to face Tottenham, Napoli, Chelsea or Manchester City. On the balance of probabilities, Tottenham just made Liverpool's Champions League campaign infinitely harder.
The real test of the death of 'Spursy-ness' comes over the weekend, though. Liverpool travel to Tottenham having failed to win on the road in the Premier League this season and on the back of a shocking run of Premier League form, after losses to Nottingham Forest and Leeds United.
As any Spurs fan will tell you, this is usually an away banker. Should Tottenham win, it would provide a substantial blow to Liverpool's season and their hopes of the top four. Thus if Tottenham send Liverpool into a knockout game with one of European football's powershouses and beats them in the Premier League, they could completely derail an already poor season.
But, perhaps more importantly, it would move Tottenham past the era of 'Spursy'.
Harry Kane should be banned...
...from ever dancing again.
Just kidding. Joy is joy, whatever form it takes.
Real Madrid* have a bad idea
A new book called ‘Messi vs Ronaldo’ by Jonathan Clegg and Joshua Robinson has quite the revelation in there about Real Madrid and Florentino Perez.
The book claims that Perez considered moving the storied Liga club from the Santiago Bernabeu to a new abode. Nothing too revelatory there, lots of clubs - including city rivals Atleti - have moved home. However, Perez, the book claims, wanted to move the ground to the middle of a theme park called 'RealMadridLand'.
‘RealMadridLand’ would have rollercoasters that would replicate famous Real Madrid goals, with the training ground in amongst it all too. It would be a multi-purpose home for the club.
The project collapsed owing to accounting issues, with Perez needing 75% more than the €1.4 billion he had secured. The project would have cost €2.5 billion apparently.
There were also question marks whether the project - apparently conceptualised to increase revenue streams - would break even.
Apropos of nothing, Perez was the driving force behind the ill-fated European Super League.
Callum Hudson-Odoi left Chelsea to join Bayer Leverkusen on loan over the summer. However, he bears no ill will to the club as he told The Athletic's Raphael Honigstein.
"No matter where I was playing, I was always trying to do my best and help the team — it’s not always about myself. I never argued; I just got on with it. But in order to get the best out of yourself, you have to play where you can feel most comfortable and do what you can do best.”
He is also positive about Thomas Tuchel too.
“I would never bad mouth or say anything bad about him. He was always a good guy, a good man, on the pitch and off the pitch. It was just… with so many great players in the team, you have to obviously fight for your position and work your hardest. It was definitely difficult at times with him but you have to get on with it and do what you can.”
Ce sont les meilleures équipes
Es sind die allerbesten Mannschaften
The main event
Les grandes équipes
Une grande réunion
Eine grosse sportliche Veranstaltung
The main event
Les grandes équipes
Ils sont les meilleurs
Sie sind die Besten
These are the champions
Les grandes équipes
- - -
Will bellow out for the final time for a few teams this evening as the Champions League group stage comes to an end.
We will have live minute-by-minute comments from the following matches Real Madrid v Celtic, Shakhtar v Leipzig, AC Milan v RB Salzburg, Chelsea v Dinamo, Copenhagen v Dortmund Juventus v PSG and City v Sevilla.
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