As a Manchester United fan I remember all too well Patrice Evra’s introduction to Premier League football. Thrust into the volatile atmosphere of a Manchester derby the Frenchman may have gone all the way to the Champions League final with Monaco, but nothing could have prepared him from the torment that Trevor Sinclair gave him in that 45 minutes of football before his manager hauled him off the pitch.
Monthly Archives: April 2012
Gary Neville’s orgasmic reaction as Torres rounded Victor Valdes was swiftly the talk of Twitter, but the Geoff Shreeves masterclass on how not to break bad news was not far behind one of the biggest talking points besides events on the pitch at the Camp Nou.
Branislav Ivanovic as well as Ramires and Raul Meireles will be aware of their Champions League final absences as will the young Bayern trio of David Alaba, Holger Badstuber and Luiz Gustavo. Those players who will take to the pitch at the Allianz Arena on May 19th will be even more determined to make sure those players who have been integral to their progression to the final will not go to waste.
It’s amazing what a spell out of the side can do to your form, and another manager gives you the opportunity to prove your worth just as Roberto Di Matteo has done with John Obi Mikel. The Nigerian whose economical style of football will probably never see his name emblazoned on too many replica shirts around Fulham Broadway was out of favour with previous manager Andres Villas Boas, but under Di Matteo the deep-lying midfielder is reminding the world why there was such a tug of war between Manchester United and Chelsea for his services almost six years ago.
It’s about half an hour into Chelsea’s Champions League quarter-final second leg tie with Benfica and John Obi Mikel catches Pablo Aimar. The Argentine falls to the turf in a dramatic fashion and a collective groan from the Stamford Bridge faithful descends as the words, ‘Get up you cheating bastard!’ emanate from the seats around me. Even from my view it’s difficult to see if it’s simulation, but what was clear as a day was that from the first minute, the diminutive midfielder had been pulling the strings in the quest to keep his side’s European dream alive.