This may not be a major trophy, but neither Bayern Munich nor Chelsea held back today in Prague. Both teams started what could be argued as their strongest possible sides, with Chelsea breaking the bubble wrap around David Luiz for their match against Europe’s champions. Rather than approach the game as an exhibition and use tactics closer to what will be their regular approach, José Mourinho instilled the type of plan usually reserved for heavy underdogs or the knockout rounds of UEFA Champions League.
The approach made for a lot of tension today in Prague, where Chelsea’s robust defending left a possession-hogging Bayern on Petr Cech’s doorstep, rarely able to get through to goal. A last second goal from Javi Martínez eventually busted down that door, leading to Bayern’s eventual win on penalty kicks, but until then, it looked like Mourinho’s plan was about to give Chelsea their third European trophy in 15 months.
Though it wasn’t meant to be, the final product was still one of the best UEFA Super Cups in recent memory, the highlights from which are above. For the first time in their club’s history, Bayern Munich claimed the Super Cup, with Pep Guardiola winning his first trophy in Germany.
NYCFC’s Vieira blames derby loss on RBNY’s Marsch “crying all week”
In Vieira’s estimation, Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch and referee Mark Geiger were co-men of the match; Marsch for his pre-game comments — “crying,” in Vieira’s words — and Geiger for playing into Marsch’s devious, revolutionary plan.
Marsch says Vieira wouldn't shake his hand post match #RBNY
New York Red Bulls rode a wave of first half goals to a heated and entertaining 4-1 win over New York City FC on Sunday at Red Bull Arena in New Jersey.
Sacha Kljestan had two assists and converted a penalty, while Bradley Wright-Phillips netted a brace and Ronald Zubar (!!) also scored for RBNY. If you’re keeping score at home that’s a combined 11-1 score line for RBNY in home Derby games this season.
Tommy McNamara scored a gorgeous goal before halftime to give City life. Aside from McNamara cranking a second-half effort off the crossbar, the rest of the life came in the form of pushing, shoving and fouling. Frank Lampard mixed it up with Kljestan, while Ethan White took two yellows for a late red card.
That’s what Manchester United has apparently offered in a total package to pry Paul Pogba from Juventus, where the Serie A club has been ready to hold out for more from the first moment the player and club were linked.
The thing with Pogba is that he doesn’t always pass the eye test, but statistically he’s close to flying colors. In some ways, he’s an analytics man’s conundrum.
Pogba’s 12 assists tied for the Serie A lead with Miralem Pjanic of Roma, and he tied for 20th in goals with eight while blasting the third-most shots in the league (123).
Further, his role in the Juventus system was second-to-none. Only Leonardo Bonucci took more touches than Pogba’s 2577, and he played 130 more minutes. Pogba’s 43 interceptions are 40th in Serie A, and his tackles put him 22nd.
Quite frankly, Pogba has nearly every tool in his locker and deploys most of them despite his relatively young 23 years. He plays on the edge, but rarely crosses it.
There are concerns: He needs a steady defensive midfielder with him, one who can allow him to take his risks. While he’s electric in attack and decent in defense, he won’t be a hero if expected to be the focal point of possession.
This will be paramount in European competition, where Pogba can stand to grow his resume. Yet even this sees him as an instrumental figure in both Champions League and EURO runner-up finishes.
The hope with Pogba is that he’ll continue his upward trend. To make Serie A comparisons, can he be Miralem Pjanic in three years, and Marek Hamsik in five?
Moreover, with the money Manchester United or Real Madrid would spend to get him, can he be better? Given Alex Ferguson’s legendary status and failure to keep him at Old Trafford, there will be a group of United fans who will review his matches more than any in ages.
There are three critical things to remember as Pogba Transfer Mania reaches critical mass (It has, actually, hasn’t it?):
Juventus will sell him, as Pjanic is presently an upgrade.
Despite the fee, no one should yet be legitimately comparing him to Ronaldo or Messi; Transfer records will be broken almost every year moving forward, it’s just a matter of who is for sale.
Pogba is a brilliant fit for Jose Mourinho’s system. The sale wouldn’t make sense for every team.
We’d say that’s a pretty good primer for when the sale is announced, and I think it will be, in the next couple weeks. Good luck, Paul.