Not much more than a hill of beans in the cosmic scheme of things

first_imgSWEET PFAThe Professional Footballers’ Association team of the year has been announced, prompting the usual fan outrage, accusations of anti-mediocrity bias and one particularly loud “harrumph” believed to have emanated from the well-appointed residence of the normally mild-mannered Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard. This year’s notional team is comprised almost entirely of players from Manchester City and Liverpool, with one notable exception in whose direction we may, if we can be bothered, casually jog back to later. Inclusion is considered an honour, what with the lineup being voted by the peers of those who appear on it. Specifically, the kind of warm and gloopy sentimentalists who decided Ryan Giggs was a worthy recipient of a place – and the ultimate award for player of the season – in 2008-09, at a time in his valedictorian season when he had started just 12 league games for Manchester United and scored one goal. RECOMMENDED LISTENINGThe latest Football Weekly Extra podcast will be here shortly.FIVER LETTERS“Manchester United followers shouldn’t worry too much that Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s bubble has well and truly burst. Ed Woodward’s still got the legends Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Nicky Butt, Steve Bruce, Roy Keane and Ailsa from Home and Away waiting in the wings to reinstall that vital DNA. Oh” – Neil Bage.“The late Michael Winner once said: ‘All film schools should be closed down and aspiring directors should simply be made to watch Carol Reed’s The Third Man over and over again.’ Replace ‘directors’ with ‘pundits’ and replace ‘Carol Reed’s The Third Man’ with ‘Roy Keane’, then finally we can end the endless tyranny of bland, pat punditry. Yes, I’m particularly looking at you Jermaine Jenas” – Noble Francis.“As a Liverpool fan, could I please use your esteemed organ to congratulate City on a brilliant season? I realise it’s not all over yet and am not being defeatist, but I am far less likely to be feeling this magnanimous in three weeks, so thought I’d get it in early. Help us, Obi-Brendan, you’re our only hope” – Tim Woods.Send your letters to [email protected] And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’the day is … Neil Bage.NEWS, BITS AND BOBSInspiring hot chat from Pep Guardiola after Manchester City’s 2-0 derby win over United. “I told the players: ‘Don’t read [The Fiver] tomorrow, don’t watch the television, just rest, sleep a lot and go in there against Burnley.” STILL WANT MORE?Barney Ronay compares Manchester United to both a dated jangly playlist and the ruins of Pompeii in his dissection of their latest defeat.Jonathan Wilson on Ole’s refusal to park in Lord Ferg’s car parking space and other weird and wrong things about United when compared to their neighbours.It’s not all bad for United, mind, as Suzanne Wrack points out.Martin Laurence on the actually young, young players of the year.Stockport County are on the way back at last, explains Paul Wilson.Oh, and if it’s your thing … you can follow Big Website on Big Social FaceSpace. And INSTACHAT, TOO!SO A ‘THIRST TRAP’ ISN’T HAPPY HOUR DOWN AT THE DOG AND SELF-LOATHING? Share on Pinterest Share via Email Happy days for Bernardo Silva. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian Share on LinkedIn This time around, the inclusion of Paul Pogba in one of three midfield berths has sent eyebrows skyrocketing quizzically, but can probably be explained by an archaic polling system that forces players to get box-ticking in early March, a time possibly far enough removed from his poor performances for those voting for him to have forgotten about how bad they were, but not long enough into the reign of Ole Gunnar Solskjær for them to factor in what would happen next. And while it may not amount to much more than a hill of beans in the cosmic scheme of things, The Fiver can’t help but feel that if high-maintenance players who have stopped oozing bad attitude for long enough to cobble together a handful of decent performances are to be considered for inclusion, then West Ham’s Marko Arnautovic is probably entitled to be in an even sulkier funk than usual.Of those players who deserved to make the cut, it has been reported that Virgil van Dijk will inevitably go on to win the Player of the Year bauble in a posh ceremony to be held in a trendy hotel on Sunday evening. Despite being organised by a union supposedly tasked with looking after the wellbeing of professional footballers, the event could force poor Virgil and his teammate Sadio Mané down to that there Big London for a knees-up that takes place just three days before some of those being honoured have to play a Big Cup match against Barcelona at Camp Nou. And as if that wasn’t thoughtless enough, it also clashes with the penultimate episode of the current series of Jed Mercurio’s unmissable police drama Line of Duty, a Sunday night show bracing itself for an even more thrilling reveal.PFA Team of the Year: Ederson (Manchester City), Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City), Andrew Robertson (Liverpool), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Fernandinho (Manchester City), Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Sergio Agüero (Manchester City), Sadio Mané (Liverpool).QUOTE OF THE DAY“The board made the decision because his way of taking the penalty was very irresponsible. We are all responsible for not reaching the next round of the Copa Sudamericana but it’s true that there was some upset in the group and they blame him” – funky Independiente Campo Grande president Eriberto Gamarra explains why Bendrix Parra has been sacked for fluffing a Panenka penalty during the Paraguayan side’s shootout defeat against Colombia’s La Equidad. Pinterest Meanwhile, Ole Gunnar Solskjær has wheeled out the guillotine as his summer cull approaches. ‘I need to see who is willing to make sacrifices for Manchester United,” he roared.Sokratis Papastathopoulos has spoken into a microphone following Arsenal’s dismal 3-1 defeat at Wolves. “We are not stupid,” sighed a man who learned how to spell his very long name at a very young age. “We know that we didn’t play good.”Ladbrokes’ owner, GVC, the UK’s largest gambling company, has announced a series of proposals to protect problem gamblers, including an end to TV ads and football shirt sponsorship. Lazio have blamed “isolated elements” after some of their absolute pieces of work displayed a banner honouring Benito Mussolini and aimed racist insults at Milan’s Tiémoué Bakayoko before their Coppa Italia match.Danny Rose wants Daniel Levy to offer Christian Eriksen a nice new contract, a fancy pint of stadium-brewed lager and a dinner date with Zac Efron to convince him to stay at Spurs. “When Christian doesn’t play, there are questions that we don’t look the same,” Rose grumbled. “He links everything up for us.”Steve Ogrizovic has announced his retirement from coaching after 35 unbroken years of service at Coventry City. “It’s been a privilege to be part of something that means so much to so many,” cheered Oggie, who Big Website spoke to earlier this season. And more maverick penalty news after Brisbane Roar’s Éric Bauthéac scored a flamin’ cheeky pea-roller-nenka during a 5-3 A-League defeat for Robbie Fowler’s new team against Adelaide. Read more Twitter Share on Facebook Topics Football features The Fiver Reuse this content James Dart (@James_Dart)Maverick penalty work from Brisbane’s Éric Bauthéac 25, 2019 CONMEBOL Sudamericana (@Sudamericana)🤦‍♂️ ¡Increíble lo mal que pateó el penal! Bendrix Parra, de @Indefbc1925, la quiso picar y la ejecución fue para el olvido: el arquero de @Equidadfutbol se la atajó con el pecho. 17, 2019 Facebook Share on Messenger Share on WhatsApp Share on Twitter PFA Team of the Year: Manchester United’s Paul Pogba a shock inclusionlast_img

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