WEDNESDAY’S BIG STORIES

Manchester City are good at football

It is a given that Manchester City are good at football.
Champions League
Salah confirms Liverpool stay next season, Mane to reveal decision after CL final
25/05/2022 AT 13:58
City are absolutely brilliant, in fact. That was evidenced in their seven-goal thrashing of Leeds. But comment can't be passed on their brilliance without it being contextualised by the financial disparity between the relative haves - Leeds, who are fairly rich - and the have lots - Manchester City, who are obscenely rich.
City have good players. Many of them. Too many, really. Too many for it to be fair.
These two clubs - broadly speaking - play the same brand of football. Their philosophies are underpinned by an intensity that represents a big ask physically on its players. It is - to this observer's eye - the most aesthetically pleasing and effective philosophy in the game. However, having the most effective philosophy is not a guarantee of success - managers generally need to navigate injuries, losses in form and player motivation.
The aforementioned factors are - it can be argued - all the more variable in the hard-running systems favoured by Pep Guardiola and Marcelo Bielsa.
Therefore, for their game plans to bear fruit consistently, squad depth is a must. Manchester City have said depth, and some; Leeds do not.
The Yorkshire club are in the midst of an injury crisis, and it showed against City. Their hosts, on the other hand, had the luxury of removing their first-choice defender Ruben Dias and midfielder Rodri, and replacing them with Nathan Ake - their fourth choice centre-back who cost circa £40 million - and Fernandinho. Yet, closer inspection shows that Leeds were missing six players and City - for varying reasons - five. Yet one was in crisis and the other, evidently, not.
Thus, when the hypothetical question of whether Guardiola would be successful at a club with fewer resources is posed, Leeds probably offer the best answer. He would be, as Bielsa has been, but that success would be limited by the lack of squad depth that those fewer resources would allow.
Guardiola is an excellent manager, but with a player pool as deep as the one he has, it gives him a huge competitive advantage over many of his peers - with some notable exceptions, looking at you, Chelsea. Granted, Leeds are missing some key players - Kalvin Phillips and Patrick Bamford - but the fact that City were also missing some crucial players - Kyle Walker, Joao Cancelo and Ferran Torres - and still put seven past Leeds is illustrative of the fact that English football has a problem of the haves and the have lots.
City have too many players, and it dilutes the competition of the self-styled best league in the world.

Respect

Respect as defined by the dictionary:
  • A feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements
  • Due regard for the feelings, wishes, or rights of others
As the world and their dog now knows, the Champions League draw was re-drawn after a literal balls up. Chelsea and Lille were, remarkably, drawn together again, but everyone else was left - for good and for bad - reflecting on what might have been.
Real Madrid were initially drawn with Benfica, and following the re-draw, will now face PSG. As has been said elsewhere, surely this is the type of draw that European Super League acolyte Florentino Perez should salivate over. Apparently not, according to reports. European Super League grandee not pleased with competition, you say? Well, the Warm-Up is shocked.

'Deplorable, very hard to understand' - Real Madrid upset at Champions League re-draw

Anyway, there is - aside from the actual on-pitch factor - another complicating factor, Kylian Mbappe. The Madrid club will sign the Frenchman. His contract is set to expire in July, and thus can agree a deal with a foreign club in January.
However, according to a report, Real won't announce Mbappe's signing until after the second leg of their last-16 fixture in March. The reason? Respect.
Now due to the meeting of the two sides on the pitch, Madrid will make no announcement until the end of the season out of respect for PSG, and if an agreement is reached between Mbappe and the Bernabeu board, it will remain under wraps.
That's great respect.

Ben White - a good defender and player

Football is a complex game. And the best players make complex decisions quickly. Ben White is an excellent player, but there was a conspiracy theory doing the rounds that the centre-half did not trust fellow summer signing Takehiro Tomiyasu. The reason? Apparently the England international was not passing to him. The centre-half/right-back has put that chat to bed during an interview with Japan DAZN.
"It is because Ben White is a good player. Often, passes from the centre back to the full-backs become 'pressure passes'," said Tomiyasu.
"I play centre back too, and simple passes to the full-backs are actually the last option I consider. If the full-back is not under opposition pressure, I will play the pass, but if the winger is right in front, you’ll end up caught by the press.
So Ben White is a good player who doesn't play passes that put you under pressure.
So there you have it, no conspiracy - White rates Tomiyasu, and Tomiyasu rates White.

Your periodic reminder that humans are pretty bad at votes

If life in the UK over the last few years has proven anything: it is that human beings are incapable of picking the correct, simple answer when offered fairly simple choices.
As such, it should come as no surprise that the FIFA FIFPRO World XI list of nominees has some glaring, glaring oversights.
For a start, there was no Mohamed Salah. There were five former or current Barcelona stars and just one Bayern player on the list. The shortlist was voted for by footballers, who should know their stuff. Terrible.

RETRO CORNER

Look, this is a day late, but if anyone knows The Warm-Up, they'll know that their attitude to timekeeping is - to be generous - optimistic.
So Chris Waddle, happy birthday for yesterday. Here is the big man doing some pretty big things.

COMING UP

Lots of football again, with Crystal Palace v Southampton, Borussia Dortmund v SpVgg Greuther Furth and Arsenal v West Ham all getting the MBM treatment.
Andi Thomas will be here bringing you all the details on that collection of sensational football.
UEFA Europa Conference League
Jose’s time to shine, as Klopp wins award that no one will debate - The Warm-Up
25/05/2022 AT 08:08
Premier League
Klopp beats Guardiola to win Premier League and LMA manager of the season awards
24/05/2022 AT 21:44