A lot has happened in a week. This is less of a wee 1-2, and more of a one on one with the keeper, keeper fouls, ref blows the whistle, penalty given, goalkeeper saves it, crowd goes wild, penalty taker gets subbed off, replacement runs through on goal, plays the 1-2 and…..GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLL!!!
The point I’m trying to make is that there was a hell of a lot of stories this week, but they were all worth a write up. So, there’s a bit of extra reading but it’s all worth it in the end. Promise!
So, in the last issue (issue 3) we told you that Celtic had equaled a record set by Jock Stein’s Lisbon Lions. Well this week, after a 4-0 thrashing of Hearts, Celtic have broken that 50-year-old record. A Callum McGregor opener, Scott Sinclair brace and Paddy Roberts finish dispatched a some-what underachieving Hearts side to take their unbeaten run to 27 games (28 including their Aberdeen win mid-week). Brendan Rodgers side have only dropped 2 points in the entire league campaign, so far, and have fans wondering if they will ever be beaten. The 18th September 2016 was the last time Celtic dropped points; drawing 2-2 with Inverness Caley Thistle. Since then, Celtic have won 17 on the bounce. In fact, make that 18 on the bounce after their 1-0 win against Aberdeen on Wednesday night. Dedryck Boyata came up with the goods yet again, a header in the 57th minute. Celtic now sit at the top of the Scottish Premier League with 67 points, 25 points ahead of their closest challengers Rangers. (The same points difference between 2nd place and last) UNBELIEVABLE. UNDEFEATED.
Hearts handed out their own drubbing of Rangers Football Club on Wednesday night. The Jambo’s demolished the Ibrox side 4-1 at Tynecastle. Aberdeen are now only two points adrift of second place, Rangers, and the Dons have a game in hand. Ian Cathro’s side sit 4th in the league table, 6 points behind Aberdeen and 8 points behind Rangers. Aberdeen meet Rangers on 9th April at Pittodrie.
In other Scottish football news, Kilmarnock striker Kris Boyd also broke a record by scoring the fastest Premiership goal. The striker took only 10.4 seconds to break the deadlock against Ross County at Rugby Park. The SPL’s highest goal scorer admits that he doesn’t remember much about the incident, and was sure he was offside. His side recorded a 3-2 home win against Ross County. Make sure you check out the highlights below – cracking game of fitbaw!
Also for your amusement, there is a rather hilarious video circling the YouTube of former Celtic player and all round good guy, Chris Sutton, attempting to re-create Kris Boyd’s historical goal. Fellow pundit, Terry Butcher, is having none of it and absolutely cements Sutton who charges in on goal. Great watch!
The FA Cup draw has set up a mammoth David v Goliath tie in the fifth-round. Sutton United will face Premier League top 4 regulars, Arsenal, at home. The 12-time winners are in for a bit of a shock at the Gander Green Lane stadium. Sutton’s home ground host’s a 5,000-capacity crowd, a changing room you could barely swing a cat in and a 45-year-old reserve goalkeeper. Arsenal are, of course, the favorites to win the tie but Sutton have knocked out superior competition before. The question is, can David strike again? Bearing in mind Goliath packs a pretty good punch in Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott, Petr Cech, Per Mertesacker, the Ox, Olivier Giroud, Danny Welbeck and even manager, Arsene Wenger, packs a good punch *coughs* push himself. Apart from that, I reckon David’s got a very decent chance. C’mon United! (The game will be shown live on the BBC on Monday 20th February, kick off at 7:55pm)
Football returned to Aleppo for the first time in 5 years. After many years of conflict Aleppo experienced a degree of normality during a 90-minute game of football between local rivals, Al Ittihad and Horiyah. The game was played in an actual bomb-site, in the Ri’ayat al-Shabab stadium. Football in Aleppo has been disbanded over the past 5 years, as the city became a battleground between rebel forces, pro-government forces, Russian airstrikes, and British airstrikes. Al-Ittihad won the game 2-1, in front of a packed stadium. More than 30,000 people have been killed in the Battle for Aleppo, perhaps the return of football will come to signify unity, strength, safety and peace in the region. It will hopefully work to gain some level of normality in the Syrian people’s lives.
Barcelona took one step closer to the Copa del Rey final on Wednesday night, after beating rivals Atletico Madrid 2-1 at the Vicente Calderon. Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi scored before the half, but French international Antoine Griezmann clinched an important goal before the end, giving his side some hope for the second leg to be played next Tuesday 7th February at the Nou Camp.
The other semi-final tie ended in a 0-0 draw between Celta Vigo and Alaves. The second leg will be played at the Mendizorrotza next Wednesday (kick off 8pm).
Last week it was Arsene, this week it’s his old pal Jose.
Yes, the Special One has lost it! He hates EVERYONE! Referees, fourth officials, journalists, and the BBC. After a 0-0 draw with Hull City on Wednesday night, Mr. Mourinho stormed out of an interview with the BBC. The Special One ended the conversation telling interviewer, Martin Fisher:
“If you don’t know football, you shouldn’t have a microphone.”
The Manchester United manager also raged over the vast difference in treatment he receives from the match officials. Mourinho has been keen to point out an incident between fourth official, Neil Swarbrick, and Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp, during Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool on Tuesday evening. An angry Klopp apologized to Swarbrick who received an ear-full from the German during the second half. Swarbrick response sparked Mourinho’s outrage. The fourth official replied, “No problem, I like your passion.” The Special One isn’t happy, and insists, that for him – everything is different. A big tough titty to you!
Peter Crouch scored his 100th Premier League goal, as Stoke drew 1-1 with Everton. He pulled out ye old Robot celebration, made famous at the 2006 World Cup.
The transfer window has come to an end, and there isn’t much to report really. Payet left, and some West Ham fans were seething, but he has Thierry Henry’s backing so it’s all Va Va Voom. Berahinho made a move away from West Brom, and Stoke City signed a neat little striker for a rather decent £12million fee. Manchester City brought in Gabriel Jesus, who has already made a great impression on the City faithful. West Ham brought in Snoddy and Fonte, which looks like a tasty wee deal, and may take some of the sting from Payet’s departure. You can check out your team’s signing in the link below (JANUARY TRANSFER WINDOW – England, how did your club do?).
In Scotland, Stephen Pearson returns to Motherwell for his third spell. Kilmarnock have brought in former striker Conor Sammon on loan and former Celtic player, Kristoffer Ajer, who has made a big impression on the Killie fans already. Ryan Christie has moved to Aberdeen on loan until the end of the season. Celtic have brought in midfielder Eboue Kouassi (leave some vowels for the rest of us big man). Henrik Ojamaa is back in Scotland, and will feature in Paul Hartley’s Dundee side. Niall Keown, son of Martin, has signed a loan deal with Partick Thistle. You can check out your team’s signing in the link below (JANUARY TRANSFER WINDOW – Scotland, how did your club do?)
Ex-Chelsea, West Ham, Manchester City, England and New York City player Frank Lampard has retired. On Thursday morning, he broke the news bringing an end to a football career spanning 21 years. Lampard won many honors in this time; lifting the English Premier League title on three occasions (Chelsea 2004-05, 2005-06, 2009-10); 4 FA Cups; 2 League Cups; 2 FA Community Shields; 1 Champions League trophy (2012) and 1 Europa League trophy (2013). Frank Lampard was awarded 106 caps for England, and appeared at his first major international tournament at the European Champions in 2004. Lampard represented his country at the 2006, 2010 and 2014 World Cup Finals. He scored 29 goals for his country and is 1 of only 8 players to have earned 100 England caps.
Egypt will meet Cameroon in the final of the African Cup of Nations this Sunday 5th February (kick off 7pm).
And there you have it; your weekly round-up!
ONES TO WATCH
Celtic 4 – 0 Hearts: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/38709176
Archie MacPherson comments: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/38774708
HEARTS DEMOLISH RANGERS
Match highlights: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/38740392
KRIS BOYD BREAKS ANOTHER GOAL SCORING RECORD
Fastest goal in Premiership history: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/scotland/38791562
Kilmarnock 3 – 2 Ross County: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/scotland/38784067
THE BATTLE FOR ALEPPO
The first football game in five years: https://www.rt.com/sport/375682-aleppo-first-football-match/
MOURINHO HATES EVERYONE
That BBC interview (or lack of): http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/38835923
Peter Crouch gets his 100th PL goal: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/38836342
The Robot: https://youtu.be/Htmj309y4sw
JANUARY TRANFER WINDOW
England, how did your club do?: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/feb/01/transfer-window-premier-league-club-by-club
Scotland, how did your club do?: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/38799105
Stats and juicy tit bits: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/37985587
A look back at his career: https://youtu.be/NX6Z6PtCh3s
Disallowed goal v Germany at 2010 World Cup: https://youtu.be/o5QlBHF6ib8
Chelsea Tribute: https://youtu.be/6xhUslfEL3Q