TUESDAY’S BIG STORIES

Pep forced into changes

Pep Guardiola and semi-finals. They don’t always get on. Twice a Champions League winner at Barcelona, his Barca side also exited at the semi-final stage the other two seasons he was in charge.
Transfers
Arsenal submit bid to Man City for Jesus – reports
16/06/2022 AT 12:30
His three seasons at Bayern Munich? Semi-final defeats, every single one of them, and then again in 2020 it was another stumble in the last four with Manchester City.
He ended that unwanted run when reaching last year’s showpiece, but another episode of overthinking – and also Chelsea happening to write their own story and deservedly win – saw City fall short in their pursuit again.
This time around, it’s a meeting with the moment-makers Real Madrid, who have bulldozed their way through with highlight-reel flashes of brilliance as opposed to continued dominance. City, meanwhile, have come through two contrasting knockout tests – one a breeze against Sporting, the other one of Europe’s toughest classes against Atletico.
That 1-0 aggregate win over Atletico should serve them well against Real, but Guardiola has already admitted he will be playing players out of position.
"I'm sure players will play in positions they aren't used to but they will do their best,” he said, with a defender shortage forcing Guardiola into changes he would rather avoid. John Stones and Kyle Walker face late fitness tests, while Joao Cancelo is suspended, meaning Nathan Ake - and not Gabriel Jesus, Pep joked - could play at full-back as well as Oleksandr Zinchenko.
That’ll be some test, and though Guardiola will be cursing the timing and hoping to avoid all that overthinking chat he hates so much, he has urged his players to seize and savour the occasion.
"It is not necessary to say how good Real Madrid are," Guardiola added. "If we have to compete with their history, we don't have any chance. The history is there, we can't change it, but it's 11 against 11 with one ball moving.
"We will try to be ourselves, compete well. We need to play two exceptional games to reach the final."

What’s there to explain?

The FA have reportedly contacted Frank Lampard asking him to explain his comments after Everton were not awarded a penalty against Liverpool on Sunday.
But let’s be Frank (sorry…) there’s nothing to explain. “You don’t get them here,” he said on Sunday, after Anthony Gordon went down under pressure from Joel Matip. “If that was Mo Salah at the other end, he gets a penalty. I’m not trying to create conflict; it’s just the reality of football. It was a penalty. It was a clear foul.”
That’s pretty clear, and doesn’t need much of an explanation. Implying bias means a fine is likely for Lampard, but in reality, what is more pertinent is Everton’s desire for answers from the PGMOL.
With relegation now more than just a threat, Everton are feeling more than just hard done by, with decisions going against them when facing both Liverpool and Manchester City – and the rest, Everton fans would tell you – potentially playing a part in their downfall.
Let’s see how that pans out, although it is unlikely much will surface. Everton, meanwhile, are rightly worried they might sink.

Yikes

Have you seen Leeds’ fixtures! They’ll hardly need reminding. A valuable point at Crystal Palace last night moved them five points clear of the drop-zone, although 18th-placed Everton do have a game in hand over the teams above them, but Leeds would have felt far safer with three given they face Manchester City at home, then Arsenal away, then Chelsea at home.
They were largely second best at Selhurst Park, so that does down as a point gained as opposed to two points lost, but the point as not lost on Leeds boss Jesse Marsch, who knows a miracle may be needed to take anything from Saturday’s City match.
“The pressure was always going to be big no matter what. The challenge against Manchester City is like no other,” he said.
“We are excited for it and will play brave, but I know how good City are, they are the best team in the world.”
Go well, Jesse.

IN THE CHANNELS

Seeing triple

No, you’re not watching the same goal thrice. Here’s 16-year-old Tyler Dibling scoring what must go down as trademark Tyler Dibling goals for Southampton’s U23s at Newcastle.

RETRO CORNER

A right retro Retro Corner all the way back to 1989, with Paul Gascoigne scoring his first England goal on this day 33 years ago. You’re old, I’m old, we’re all old.

COMING UP

As mentioned, the Champions League, with Manchester City playing hosts tonight and welcoming Real Madrid for the first instalment of their semi-final showdown. There’s a handful of EFL action too, including already-promoted Fulham taking on hope-to-be-joining-them Nottingham Forest.
Football
Last-minute loss reminds Wales that international football is actually quite difficult - The Warm-Up
09/06/2022 AT 08:34
UEFA Europa Conference League
Jose’s time to shine, as Klopp wins award that no one will debate - The Warm-Up
25/05/2022 AT 08:08