On which point, here’s today’s Fiver, on Frank Lampard, privilege, and tonight’s matches.
It’s all going on at Turf Moor – Burnley took the lead, then Everton equalised.
Only football can do that to you. What an invention.
“Gosh, that was the wrong link,” returns Colin Greer. “This one truly tested his ticker.”
I’m looking forward to seeing how Lo Celso does in Spain. He looked so promising when he first got to Spurs, but a combination of injury and managerial nonsense made things difficult for him. He’s got an explosive talent – I hope he can realise it.
“Alphonso Davies may not have been playing for months but his heart was well tested over that time,” says Colin Greer, sharing a video that’s a precursor to the one I posted a few minutes ago.
Bayern haven’t defended that well this season – maybe that’s one reason Emery has gone 4-3-3 not 4-4-2. I’m sure the principal motivation is to try and get some midfield possession, but it also makes sense in terms of pinning Davies back, or getting in behind him, and two strikers pushed right up against two centre-backs might have made it easier for Upamecano and Hernandez to keep things tight.
BT just ran VT of an interview with Danjuma – he speaks really well, and has the confidence of someone who’s certain he’s got it. He reckons Emery will have a “masterplan”, and I’d not be surprised to see him in the Premier League before long. Jacob Steinberg spoke to him earlier this week.
There’s a lot going on tonight:
A week and a half later, this is still doing me in. Oh man, imagine that feeling.
Bayern haven’t lost an away game in Europe since 2017 – that is rrrrrridiculous. The winning manager? Unai Emery at PSG.
Whenever I think of Gnabry, I think of Gnasher and his family.
Bayern, meanwhile: the main thing to note – and indeed to celebrate – is the return of the wonderful Alphonso Davies, who went from Covid to myocarditis. He makes such a difference to them, and has got to be one of the most knackering, demoralising left-backs to face. Otherwise, Goretzka is still feeling his way back so is on the bench, meaning Musiala starts, while on the wings, Coman and Gnabry start with Sane waiting on the bench.
Also worth noting: Villarreal have plenty on the bench, with Pino, Alcacer and Chukwueze all capable of changing things.
There’s a lot to take in here. To start with Villarreal, Danjuma is through the middle, with Lo Celso given the third attacking berth alongside Groenveld and Moreno. Behind them, Coquelin is picked to give ballast, allowing Parejo and Capoue to probe and prompt – usually, it’s a 4-4-2, but Emery has sacrificed a striker for a midfielder.
Villarreal (4-3-3): Rulli; Foyth, Albiol, Pau Torres, Estupinan; Coquelin, Capoue, Parejo; Moreno, Groenveld, Lo Celso. Subs: Asenjo, Mario, Alcacer, Iborra, Chukwueze, Trigueros, Pena, Pino, Mandi, Gomez, Pedraza, Aurier.
Bayern Munich (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Pavard, Upamecano, Hernandez, Davies; Kimmich, Musiala; Coman, Muller, Gnabry; Lewandowski. Subs: Richards, Sule, Goretzka, Sane, Wanner, Sabitzer, Roca, Kouassi, Ulreich, Fruchtl, Tillman, Stanisic.
If you live in England you might not know it, but we are here to confirm this match is indeed taking place – and it should be a goodun too.
Though Liverpool and Manchester City are favourites to win the latest edition of Big Ears, only a fool would discount Bayern Munich. Though Thomas Müller and Robert Lewandowski aren’t quite as good as they were when Bayern won the trophy the season before last, Leon Goretzka, Joshua Kimmich, Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman are all better. Then, when to that, you add Leroy Sané along with the imminent return of Alphonso Davies, you have a hard night for any team, whoever they are.
Villarreal, though, do not make things easy for anyone. They are organised, tough, and have their fair share of flair – Arnaut Danjuma, Gerard Moreno, Samuel Chukwueze, Dani Parejo and Giovani Lo Celso are nobody’s mugs.
And having the first leg at home will help them just as it did against Juventus in the last 16: they can use the crowd to play their way into the tie, then sit in when they travel to Bavaria. On which point, Bayern’s inept performance away to Salzburg will not have been lost on them – though the 7-1 gubbing they followed it with won’t be either.
Kick-off: 9pm local, 8pm BST