TUESDAY'S BIG STORIES

We never doubted you, Dave

When Manchester United fans unveiled a banner heralding “The Chosen One” and a silhouette of David Moyes, they had it spot on. They just went eight years too early. At the wrong club.
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And to be honest, we should have seen it coming. He may have been binned off by United after 34 league games, sacked by Real Sociedad, steered Sunderland into the Championship and moved aside by *checks notes* West Ham in 2018, but he was always just one more job away from hitting the jackpot.
The jackpot, it turns out, is in east London, at the same club who decided to bin him off most recently. West Ham are now genuine contenders for a place in the Champions League. In normal circumstances that would be a ridiculous sentence, but they have a special advantage. Not only do they have the Chosen One, they also don’t have their fans.
You see, the mood around West Ham has been pretty miserable since the owners callously knocked down Upton Park and squeezed a football pitch between a running track. And while the supporters have settled into the familiar pangs of being a Hammers fan, their presence hasn’t always promoted the most – how do we say this without getting threats? – harmonious atmosphere.
Then lockdown happened. Results almost immediately improved as, with a backdrop of empty seats, West Ham could go about their uninspiring football without fear of retaliation. Walking clichés Mark Noble and Jarrod Bowen helped build a tidy, effective side that would forever be destined for mid-table mediocrity.
Except the Chosen One wasn’t done and in came the tasty offensive football first promised in Manchester. Now Jesse Lingard has been added to the party, Said Benrahma is showing glimpses of his undoubted talent and even their bulldozers, Tomas Soucek and Declan Rice, are occasionally exciting. The latest win over Sheffield United sees them in a share of fourth and dreaming, quite rightly, of a spot in Europe. They’ll just have to hope the doors remain shut until May.

FOUND: German screamer

If only Frank Lampard had studied German at school (congratulations again on the GCSE in Latin though, Frank). It turns out that all Chelsea needed was an aggressive German-speaker to fire up the misfiring Timo Werner.
“It’s helped me that someone can scream at me in German,” Werner told BBC Sport about Thomas Tuchel after the 2-0 win over Newcastle.
“He’s a really good guy, has a good idea of the football we want to play and when we have more and more training sessions with him we will get better and better.”
You would think in a £47.5 million deal, someone might have thought to check to see if Werner would actually respond to a Romford lad shouting “put the ball in the f****** net”. But Lampard’s loss is Tuchel’s gain and, after lurching from title contenders to top-eight rejects, Chelsea are back on course to finish the season with West Ham in the top four.
Inspired by Werner’s words, the Warm-Up is hastily learning Portuguese on Duolingo in case it all goes wrong for Nuno at Wolves.

The orange ball!

You’re probably expecting an in-depth analysis, and the odd witty remark, about Bayern Munich’s 3-3 draw with Arminia Bielefeld, but why would we bother when we can just give you photos?

Amos Pieper of Arminia Bielefeld scores their team's second goal

Image credit: Getty Images

Manuel Neuer in the snow

Image credit: Getty Images

More snow fun

Image credit: Getty Images

Lovely stuff, we're sure you agree.

IN THE CHANNELS

Gloriously unfortunate.

RETRO CORNER

Bebeto, the Brazilian behind that baby celebration, is the star of today’s Retro Corner. Sit back and bask in six minutes of samba.

COMING UP

The Chaaaaaaaaaaaaampions is back! Two absolute corkers for you tonight: Barcelona v PSG and Leipzig v Liverpool.
West Ham fans angry about being blamed for the club’s failings, please direct hate mail to Marcus Foley on tomorrow’s Warm-Up
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