TUESDAY'S BIG STORIES

A BIG FIGHTBACK FROM BIG SAM?

Only a few weeks ago West Bromwich Albion were so written off by just about everyone that even their own manager was happy to discuss the business arrangement he has with the club's wealthy Chinese ownership should the Midlands side go down.
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But since the March international break, West Brom have scored eight goals in emphatic back-to-back wins, including a complete dismantling of Champions League quarter-finalists Chelsea, and they are now just eight points off safety with seven games to go.
Staying up still looks like a very tough task with six of their remaining games against teams who are challenging for European places, but then you simply have to remember two words: Big Sam. He achieved the virtually unthinkable with Sunderland to keep them up in the 2015/16 season and secured safety with Crystal Palace and Everton.
The former England boss (remember that?) knows about survival and his team are evidently motivated right now. Mbaye Diagne, Callum Robinson and Matheus Pereira all impressed against Southampton on Monday and could be the key players Allardyce can call upon to keep the Baggies up.
Form - and a manager who has delivered before in this situation - is everything now as we come to the end of a truly unpredictable Premier League season.

MORE VAR SHAMBLES, BUT WHAT WILL CHANGE?

VAR controversies have become such a recurring theme in the Premier League this season it is hard not to glaze over it, but when witnessing a clear case of mistaken identity in West Brom's win over Southampton and not PGMOL's (Professional Games Match Officials Limited) official explanation that "because of the position of the camera we couldn't draw a definitive line," the Warm-Up has to draw its own imaginary line at that.
The minority argument is there was no angle for VAR to make an informed decision, but common sense would dictate that you use your eyes rather than following a misguided handbook titled, 'how to referee a game of football from a business park in Uxbridge', autographed by notoriously divisive referee turned chief of referees Mike Riley. (Such a book may or may not be real.)
The unfortunate reality here is that because the incident happened in West Bromwich Albion v Southampton and not in a 4:30pm kick-off on Sunday, the whole incident will be brushed under the increasingly grim rug as our attention rapidly focuses back to Champions League matters on Tuesday night.
As time goes on, it feels as though real change will only happen should a scandal too big to ignore unfold. A truly massive blunder on the Premier League's final day, condemning a team to relegation or a club missing out on Europe, may sadly be what it takes.

A DEFINING NIGHT AWAITS PSG

Injury-stricken Bayern Munich take on injury-stricken Paris Saint-Germain in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final tonight, knowing they have to overturn a two-goal deficit at 3-2 down without star talisman Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry to name a select few.
The first leg saw the German champions have 31 shots on goal in a match played in snowy conditions at the Allianz Arena that was comparable to a basketball game, but it was PSG's attacking prowess which got the French champions over the line.
However, recent experience counts for a lot in the Champions League. PSG are carrying the mental burden of last season's Champions League final defeat to Bayern, while Mauricio Pochettino has also experienced final heartbreak with Tottenham.
Add into the mix that PSG will be without their captain Marquinhos, due to an adductor muscle injury, Mauro Icardi or Covid-19-stricken Marco Veratti and it could spell problems.
PSG have struggled to get the results they need at home this season. A Ligue 1 defeat to leaders Lille and a second leg 1-1 draw with Barcelona at the Parc des Princes has led Pochettino to admit that home form is an aspect his star-studded side must improve on.
Should PSG overcome Bayern then they must be considered favourites for the competition in the hunt for their first ever Champions League trophy, but this looks to be a tie that is far from over.

‘Bayern best team in the world' - Pochettino tries to lift pressure off PSG

IN OTHER NEWS

Football fans across Germany are rejoicing because, after a four-year battle, Hoffenheim v Bayer Leverkusen was the last Monday night game to take place in the Bundesliga or 2. Bundesliga.
Supporters have made their feelings felt ever since Monday games were introduced in 2017 by lobbing balls and toilet paper onto the pitch, as well as producing numerous banners, all before Covid-19 prevented fans from entering stadiums of course.
But the DFL (Deutsche Fußball Liga) - the organisers of German professional football - have finally yielded by removing Monday night games from the 2021/22 schedule.

RETRO CORNER

Carles Puyol turns 43 today - one of football's all-time greatest defenders and the living, breathing definition of a leader.
Have Barcelona ever been able to properly replace the centre back since his retirement in 2014? Absolutely not.

IN THE CHANNELS

On Sunday, reported Manchester City transfer target Kayky scored this sublime solo goal in Fluminense's 3-1 win over Nova Iguacu.
Just remember, this is a 17-year-old kid producing this wizardry.

COMING UP

Crank up the Champions League anthem because it is quarter-final second leg time. PSG v Bayern Munich and Chelsea v Porto both kick off at 8pm UK time and you can follow the action with our live text updates on Eurosport.co.uk and the Eurosport app.
The Warm-Up will be delivered to you on Wednesday by a man all too familiar with scandal... Marcus Foley.
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