There’s no love lost
Chelsea were knocked out of the Champions League in extra-time this week, despite Paris Saint-Germain’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic getting sent off. A ‘melee’ (which, for these purposes, should be considered as slightly more tepid than the standard ‘fracas’) ensued after the French side’s striker walked for a tackle on Oscar – and NINE of the Blues surrounded referee Bjorn Kuipers. Unsurprisingly, Ibrahimovic remained unconvinced his tackle warranted the subsequent red and he questioned whether the Chelsea midfielder’s pained reaction to the tackle was “acting”.
But the Swede, who branded the team “babies”, wasn’t their only critic. In a reaction no doubt prophesied by Jose Mourinho, the nation’s football pundits united in their criticism of the team. Sky Sports’ Graeme Souness described the behaviour as “unappealing” and “not the British way”, while his colleague Jamie Carragher echoed my own thoughts that, although Chelsea may be a successful team, “actions like that” mean they will never “be loved”.
Gomis returns after health scare
Swansea striker Bafetimbi Gomis has returned to training this week after fainting, as his team were defeated 3-2 at Tottenham. The incident, which will have conjured up harrowing memories of Fabrice Muamba’s cardiac arrest on the very same pitch in 2012, occurred in the 6th minute after the hosts took an early lead. But it wasn’t the surprise of Spurs scoring that caused the collapse.
On Twitter, Gomis – who also fainted three times during 2009 – put his collapse down to “stress and fatigue” caused by his father’s ill-health, which has required him to make frequent journeys back to his native France. Although it is not yet known whether he will make an appearance at Swans’ game against Liverpool on Monday, we wish him – and Papa Gomis – well. Here’s to a speedy recovery!
Toe painful for Hammers
Finally, my favourite football injury story since Darren Bent put himself out of action for six weeks in 2006 after cutting off the tip of his finger while making a sandwich (which unbelievably fails to make The Daily Mail’s list of freak football accidents) . . . West Ham striker Enner Valencia is out of their game against Arsenal this weekend after accidentally standing on a teacup. As bizarre injuries go, this is up there; although I was interested to read about Darius Vassell’s 2002 tangle with a power drill.
Valencia hasn’t exactly shone this season – scoring only four league goals and a total of five in his last 30 games, which is not ideal when your job is to score goals – but it leaves Sam Allardyce with only one striker and something of a dilemma. Other injury woes have beleaguered Hammers’ season, with Andy Carroll out due to a knee injury for the duration. Having won none of their last seven matches, it’s something of a surprise to see West Ham nestled comfortably in mid-table obscurity, but with less than 40 goals under their belt, the season is yet young. Still, it’s nice to see a teacup featuring in a story about the Premier League; good to see evidence of some decorum, after all.
Read more from Jen Offord here!