SCOUTING FOR GOALS
Happy 14 February! Your super, soaraway, self-coupled Fiver was planning to spend it like every other Valentine’s Day: on our own, watching a fuzzy, unspeakably erotic VHS called Goals Galore 1988-89. Then we realised that the Premier League’s weird, staggered, why-can’t-we-just-do-it-like-the-rest-of-Europe winter break includes a match between Wolves and Leicester that we can watch tonight! It’s the first part of a scattered fixture list that needs its own Craig David tribute song: took her for a drink to watch Southampton v Burnley, we were discussing the pros and cons of a double pivot by Monday, restraining order was in place by Thursday.
The Premier League title race is over – Liverpool could declare, donating their last 13 games to charitable causes like Everton and Manchester United, and they’d still probably win the league – so the focus will be on the relegation battle as the weekend develops. Tonight, however, is the time for lovin’ Adama Traoré. Despite suffering another partial dislocation of a shoulder a fortnight ago, he will be fit to put the fear of higher power into Leicester’s defence at Molineux . Traoré’s rapid recovery registers 8.9 on The Fiver’s hardbastometer, the highest rating since Diego Costa actually, literally, seriously tried to run off a hamstring tear in the 2014 Big Cup final.
In other news, Jürgen Klopp’s record-demolishing Liverpool visit Norwich on Saturday with the chance to extend the gap between top and bottom to a mostcompetitiveleagueintheworldtastic 58 points. Talking of numbers in the 50s – pick that lazy segue out – Klopp has been talking about Mo Salah’s Olympic dream. He has been included as an overage player in Egypt’s provisional 50-man squad for Big Sports Day, which takes place in July and August.
“Do I want to lose a player in pre-season?” said Klopp. “Of course not. That’s clear. But we have to consider different things. I will speak with Mo and all that stuff. We are completely clear about what we want, but we need more information: how will it look, when will the preparation start, all that stuff. No decision yet, but we will see.”
And finally, on today of all days, Narcissus is in the news. “[Paul] Pogba feels at home in Italy,” ker-chinged his Mr 20%, Mino Raiola. “Italy is like his second home or family. That’s why Paul would like to come back to Juventus. Pogba wants to play at the best levels always … but he can’t escape Manchester United now, in this moment where the club is not having a good period.” The Fiver was tempted to go through that statement sentence by sentence, highlighting the contradictory, bald-faced b@lls contained therein, but we can’t be bothered. It’s Valentine’s Day, and we’ve got a date with somebody very important. Now, where’s that Goals Galore video?
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QUOTE OF THE DAY
“There was a time just before Christmas when Andy [Carroll] had made a few assists and started a few games but unfortunately he volleyed a ball and hasn’t been the same since” – Bernard Cribbins there, inviting you to insert your own punchline.
“It’s refreshing to see Tom Davies and Dominic Calvert-Lewin branching out from the usual fashion stylings of today’s footballer. Even more heartening to realise that Davies is channelling none other than the late, great Vivian Stanshall” – Matt Emerson (and no other Fiver readers with opinions on style).
“What is wrong with The Stone Roses? Lumping them in with lyrical incompetents like Oasis is harsh, to say the least. I take it that unless it’s 18th century Hungarian folk music or something equally esoteric, it’s beneath The Fiver. I get the feeling that weird Uncle Fiver was driven to the tin by his siblings offsprings’ delusions of cultural grandeur” – John O’Donnell.
“Very happy to see Mr Dunn getting letter of the day as he is obviously a Toon fan, but Frank Clark did not boot the ball into the Popular End. He either booted it into the Leazes End or the Gallowgate End, or maybe the Popular SIDE. At the time Tyne Tees only had one outside broadcast camera, so if the races were on at Newcastle you got no footage of any football that weekend!” – Trevor West.
NEWS, BITS AND BOBS
The former England captain Dave Watson has a neurodegenerative disease that was “most likely” brought on by head injuries and repeated heading of the ball during his playing days.
Bury are almost certain to go into liquidation after owner Steve Dale defaulted on the CVA he agreed last summer.
Kilmarnock boss Alex Dyer says any fan found guilty of racially abusing Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos will be banned from Rugby Park. “We won’t tolerate anything like this,” said Dyer.
Pelé has dismissed his son’s claims that he is depressed and a recluse. “I have good days and bad days. That is normal for people of my age.” said the 79-year-old Brazil legend.
Jürgen Klopp had more reason to bare the whitest teeth in managerial history after picking up a record fifth manager of the month gong in a single season.
And Manchester United’s Tahith Chong has donned a cardigan, pushed his glasses halfway down his nose and has begun seriously mulling over an offer from Inter.
STILL WANT MORE?
You want a Hakim Ziyech profile from a Dutchman in the know? Here you go then.
Louise Taylor gets her chat on with Melanie Reay, the manager hoping to get Sunderland Ladies back in the big time.
Test your knowledge of runaway title winners with this quiz on runaway title winners.
One, two, three, four, five, everybody in the car so, come on, let’s ride! Lou Bega never got to 10 but our 10 things to look out for this weekend certainly does.
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