The Warm-Up: Chelsea 4-4 Ajax built on a lie
Football fiction has arrived.
WEDNESDAY’S BIG STORIES
"We should just talk about Ajax and how we play nice football, but we cannot because one guy came and stole everything…"
And to be fair, Dusan Tadic has a point.
Ajax were heading for a routine win at Stamford Bridge when the referee intervened to create a blockbuster finale. It was thrilling, rousing stuff but – more pertinently – a work of fiction. Gianluca Rocchi’s decision to send off Daley Blind, award Chelsea a penalty, then send off Joel Veltman in the same passage ranks as one of the craziest episodes in Champions League history, and also one of the most ridiculous. But where was VAR? A quick whisper in his ear – "Look Gianluca, Blind was fouled before he made his rash challenge, so maybe consider reversing everything you've just done" – would have fixed the mess.
And yet it was unavoidably entertaining. It allowed Reece James to lash home a brilliant equaliser, creating the platform for VAR to rob Chelsea of victory after Cesar Azpilicueta's strike was chalked off because Tammy Abraham has arms. Are we prepared to ignore terrible decisions if they help fabricate drama?
Good decisions all round
Common sense was in abundance in the world of football on Tuesday.
Liverpool moaned about the current fixture schedule… then decided the current fixture schedule was acceptable and will field different teams in two competitions in 24 hours. The Premier League moaned about Son Heung-min’s role in Andre Gomes’ awful injury… then decided Son Heung-min’s role wasn’t that awful and rescinded his red card. Well done, everyone.
Andre Gomes' horror injuryGetty Images
Give Zouma the Ballon d'Or now
The awkward moment when Kurt Zouma, aged 25, realises he's played in the wrong position his entire career.
IN OTHER NEWS
RIP Sky Sources
No longer can a Sky Sports journalist see something on Twitter, then copy and paste it onto their yellow banner while taking credit.
HEROES AND ZEROES
Heroes: Inter Milan
For installing some of the sexiest football ever seen at Inter Milan. (Ignore the fact they threw away a two-goal lead, eh?)
Or more specifically, Unai Emery. If his team hadn't been so uninspiring, Granit Xhaka may have escaped the booing treatment and we wouldn't be in the absurd situation where he's stripped of the captaincy for having the temerity to respond to goading.
IN THE CHANNELS
Hopefully not the r-word as Tottenham visit Red Star Belgrade. Elsewhere, Manchester City travel to Atalanta and Real Madrid host Galatasaray. Oh, and very oddly, Arsenal face Vitoria in the Europa League at 15:50. On a Wednesday?! Not for us.
Keep booing him all you want, Andi Thomas will never lose the Warm-Up captaincy. He's here tomorrow.