IT’S nice to think of Europe and link it to football once again and not cry about Brexit but that’s a different story – one that doesn’t end well.
The Champions League group stages started and Britain was once again the toast, not the bane, of the continent.
United got their traditional easy group drawing Benfica, Basel and CSKA Moscow and it was a nice home fixture up first. Jose Mourinho’s men easily saw off Swiss champions Basel 3-0 but lost star man Paul Pogba to a hamstring injury.
Spare a thought for poor Spurs who got the best team in the world Real Madrid, Germany’s second team Borussia Dortmund and a long journey to Greece to face Apoel out of the hat. Dortmund were up first and Tottenham finally got some luck at Wembley when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had a worldie wrongly chalked off and they went on to win 3-1.
Liverpool did what Liverpool do – looked like a Bugatti going forward but were more Del Boy’s old three-wheeler at the back and drew 2-2 with Sevilla – but Jurgen Klopp’s men should still get out of a group that also contains Spartak Moscow and Maribor.
Chelsea hammered FK Qarabag 6-0 to top Group C although Atletico Madrid and Roma will provide much sterner tests.
And Celtic got off to the worst possible start in a group that contains Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and Anderlecht by being embarrassed 5-0 by the French moneybags at Parkhead. PSG splashed out a ridiculous £373million on front pair Neymar and Kylian Mbappe to win the Champions League and the more you see of them, the more you think they might actually do it.
The Hoops in contrast will be lucky to drop down into the Europa League where Arsenal beat Cologne 3-1 after the German fans disgraced themselves in London and Everton went to Atalanta and were trounced 3-0.
Earlier in the week Toffees boss Ronald Koeman had warned Wayne Rooney about his future conduct after he was caught drink driving a party girl’s car home to her place in the early hours of the morning while his pregnant wife was away.
If a 31-year-old man, a father of three with a fourth on the way, who is the record goal-scorer of both England and Manchester United has to be reminded that this behaviour is wrong then I despair. And I don’t have the time or the crayons to explain it to you either, Wayne.
IT was less crystal ball, more Crystal fall as Palace sacked manager Frank de Boer after just four Premier League games.
Granted they were all defeats and 43 million people have been born since the Eagles last scored a Prem goal (I’m not even joking) but it’s still a stupid over-reaction from the club’s American owners.
You cannot bring in a new man who makes it clear he wants to bring a totally different and ultimately more attractive style of play to the side and then get rid after 77 days.
Yanks like Josh Harris and David Blitzer – who also own the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils – don’t understand relegation because in their franchise-driven sports it does not exist.
Americans have made some monumentally silly decisions recently and replacing the young, exciting, forward thinking De Boer with the old, dull, dinosaur Roy Hodgson does remind me of replacing Obama with Trumplethinskin.
But you can’t argue with idiots as they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.
ENGLAND head into Ashes battle with more questions than answers after their 2-1 Series win over the West Indies.
When Joe Root’s men hammered the Windies in the First Test, the worry was the tourists would offer no sort of preparation for the Aussies. The remarkable turn round in the Second surprised everyone but order was restored and England won by nine wickets in the decider.
Jimmy Anderson took Test-best figures of 7-42 and in doing so broke the 500-Test wicket barrier. But the problems are not in the bowling but batting and catching.
Head coach Trevor Bayliss names his Ashes squad later this month and admitted: “The fielding concerns me. The catching has been terrible. Some of the drops were quite easy and to me that is usually down to concentration. We are certainly not going to go to Australia and win anything dropping that many.”
The Aussies are also far from being their best but both nations always raise their game for the Ashes. So the book on this latest chapter is open and waiting to be written. If truth is stranger than fiction, then England cricket must be truth.
AND finally Jose Mourinho refused to shake Mark Hughes’ hand after their 2-2 draw.
The Stoke boss upset the Special Snowflake after pulling him up for encroaching into HIS technical area. I mean the cheek of not letting the Manchester United chief do exactly what he wants and not letting him win to boot!