The Warm-Up: The S Word, and how City thought they had lost the title
Bernardo Silva admits Manchester City thought they had lost the title, Joaquin scores from a corner, and there is grim confirmation about Emiliano Sala.
FRIDAY’S BIG HEADLINES
City's Silva lining
The Guardian’s use of the S Word here may be innocent enough, but it nevertheless conjures up unwelcome images for Liverpool. Steven Gerrard sprawled across the turf, Demba Ba charging down on goal, Jose Mourinho grinning gleefully on the sidelines as Liverpool’s best shot at a league title since 1990 starts to evaporate into thin air.
None of the wobbles we have seen from 2018-19 Liverpool have been anywhere near as dramatic as that singular f***-up but there is no doubt that ahead of the weekend’s Premier League games, there has been a distinct shift in momentum. Heading towards Sunday’s big match against Chelsea it is now City who are top when just over a week ago, Liverpool blew the chance to go seven points clear.
Admittedly a win against Bournemouth in Saturday's 3pm kick-off will put Liverpool three points ahead, but recent developments have led to a gnawing feeling in the pit of their stomachs.
Manchester City have put the pressure back on Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool, who have dropped four points in two games, by returning to the top of the Premier LeaguePA Sport
Liverpool's successive draws against Leicester City and West Ham have also revitalised City who, as Bernardo Silva has now conceded, felt they had lost the title after their shock defeat at Newcastle on February 1.
" A few days ago we thought we had lost the Premier League. Now we are top of the league, even if it is because we have played one game more. It is good; it is good to be back in the race and we will do our best to win all our games and do our job. After Newcastle it was very tough on us. We were very disappointed, more than anyone else. The players, the staff, we were all very sad because we all thought we had lost the league in that game. Fortunately Liverpool drew against Leicester and that gave us a little bit of hope. Then there was another draw against West Ham and that means the race is on. Mentally, it is a big boost for us. We will try to keep doing our job and don’t relax as we did against Newcastle."
They are going to win it by about eight points, aren't they?
Sala body recovered from ocean
Emiliano Sala missing planePA Sport
The search for Emiliano Sala was brought to an end yesterday when police confirmed that the body recovered from the wreckage of a plane at the bottom of the English Channel was indeed that of Cardiff’s record signing.
Hope had already been extinguished that Sala might have survived the incident which saw the Piper Malibu aircraft he was travelling in from Nantes to Cardiff disappear on January 21. Now, at least, his family have some form of closure, even in the grimmest of circumstances.
Dorset Police confirmed in a statement:
" The body brought to Portland Port today, Thursday 7 February 2019, has been formally identified by HM Coroner for Dorset as that of professional footballer Emiliano Sala. The families of Mr Sala and the pilot David Ibbotson have been updated with this news and will continue to be supported by specially-trained family liaison officers."
Cardiff’s addition to the statement was as follows:
" We offer our most heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the family of Emiliano. He and David will forever remain in our thoughts."
Rest in Peace.
Cardiff risk transfer ban over Sala fee dispute
Emiliano SalaGetty Images
As Matt Hughes writes:
" The French club have threatened Cardiff with legal action after the first part of the transfer fee was withheld for the player... Cardiff and Nantes agreed a £15 million fee for Sala on January 19 and the Argentinian striker’s International Transfer Certificate was registered with the FA of Wales two days later, giving the Premier League club until the end of next week to pay the first instalment or risk Fifa sanctions. The governing body’s regulations state that, in order to open disciplinary proceedings, the creditor 'must have put the debtor club in default in writing and have granted a deadline of at least ten days for the debtor club to comply with its financial obligation,' something that Nantes have already done."
IN OTHER NEWS
A decent goal from the world of beach football.
And a little trick shot for you from one Mo Salah too.
HEROES AND ZEROES
The Warm-Up is ashamed to admit that Joaquin had rather dropped off its radar. Other than sporadically recoiling in horror at the knowledge he was breastfed until the age of seven - a nightmarish fact that just can’t be dislodged from the brain - this column had mentally filed him away as effectively finished. And then last night he scored from a corner in the 2-2 draw between Real Betis and Valencia in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final. Fair play.
Zero: Keisuke Honda
Wow, just wow. (Technically The Warm-Up can post this because technically he didn’t say any naughty words. Technically).
IN THE CHANNELS
West Ham have been making too many unwanted headlines of late thanks to the behaviour of their supporters but now their players have led the way in providing some positive PR with this useful contribution to the #TimetoTalk initiative.
A rare example of a social media post drawing an (almost) unanimously positive response. Well played.
There’s a bunch of games across Europe tonight but in England it’s Aston Villa v Sheffield United in The Championship. Remember, you can watch highlights of that one, and all the rest of the EFL action, on Quest on Saturday evening.
Marcus Foley has never scored direct from a corner, but he has uttered a few expletives. Join him for Monday's Warm-Up.