Short Hoddle today because some other side projects have kept me busy all night plus I have a Tactics Tuesday post going up. So quick question: If we went into last spring’s derby with Chelsea and someone told you “the game will feature Mousa Dembele gouging Diego Costa in the eye but he will get away with it because the ref will be tamping down a half dozen other brawls simultaneously happening,” you would’ve pegged that at, what, 10% odds of happening? But... it happened.
So, what is your most outlandish thing that could happen when the two rivals clash at Wembley that is insane but still would be at least somewhat plausible or believable? My list:
- Jan Vertonghen depantses Diego Costa but Costa gets a yellow for diving.
- David Luiz concusses Son Heung-Min with an elbow and is then knocked out of the game himself when Eric Dier “inadvertently” catches him with an elbow on a set piece moments later.
- Dele Alli gets a red card for stamping on Eden Hazard’s head.
- Diego Costa and Eric Dier exchange hard challenges and both pick up multi-game suspensions as a result.
- Erik Lamela storms out of the stands to randomly scissors tackle Pedro when the referee isn’t looking.
What’s your list?
This piece from IBWM on the mentality problems that plague US soccer is great. It reminded me of this classic from Brian Phillips:
As an American fan, I’m duty-bound to admire our side’s grit, hard work, and cluster of fake compound-word virtues. The USMNT is second to none in the arenas of stick-to-it-iveness, can-do spirit, bounce-back-ibility, and pedal-to-the-metal-ishness. It’s like Clark Kellogg exploded all over them.
Inter Milan suddenly look like they have a chance at chasing down Roma or Napoli and snagging Serie A’s final Champions League spot.