WEDNESDAY'S BIG STORIES

It shouldn't be possible...

Manchester City won again. This time it was against Wolves. 4-1. But they could have been playing anybody. They probably would have won. Thus, football - as a competition - is withering.
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To win 21 games on the bounce in a season is some achievement. To win 21 games on the bounce this season is indicative of how money has warped competition, and football. It shouldn't be possible to win 21 games on the bounce this season. To obtain that sort of consistency during a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic is illustrative of the power of seemingly unlimited wealth.
Hindsight dictates that the depth and wealth of talent at their disposal indicated that City would emerge from this most-physically demanding of seasons as champions. Yet, that does not make it any less boring. There was a period where it looked as though the chaotic preparation for - and truncated nature of - this season may have led to a wide open title race. Nope. It has only served to highlight the difference between the haves and the have nots.
City are the haves. Every other club - without access to that sort of wealth - are the have nots.
Granted some credit is due to City. They are a well-run club. Other clubs in other leagues have similar - if not identical advantages, looking at you PSG - but have not put together runs of relentless dominance such as this. However, the point holds that money is ruining the essence of sport: competition. Take for example the story below on Eric Garcia. Manchester City had a very good centre-back who was third choice, who wanted to leave. Yet, City dropped the bones of £100 million on two better centre backs to demote Garcia to fifth choice. That's not football.

Guardiola is a fan of Garcia - yet spent £100m on other centre-backs

Pep Guardiola is an intense man. And it pains him not to play Garcia, who he claims is like a son. To be fair, he has a wealth of central defenders to call upon. There is Aymeric Laporte, John Stones, Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake to also choose from. Garcia is off to Barcelona this summer and it was prudent to sign another centre-half but two? And for £60m - Dias - and £40m - Ake. Excessive.
However, Pep Guardiola Sr was at pains to stress what a good player Pep Guardiola Jr is and wanted everyone to know that if he could he would play the player.
Eric Garcia is like a son. He was a guy last season that after lockdown was our best central defender. He never made a mistake and played in the quarter-final of the Champions League.
"He's going to play in Barcelona and that is not an average player - he is a top player. He was not selected in the last two games and it broke my heart. That is why it is difficult for all the managers when you have a squad. You cannot imagine what it means."
So, to conclude. Man City sign better players to replace player, then bemoan the fact player they replaced no longer plays. Right.

Jack Grealish has gone mainstream

Aston Villa fans have been saying it for years. Jack Grealish is class. Now his classiness has gone so mainstream that Chris Wilder has called him the best player in the league.
Here he is scoring an absolute biff after being given the Villa captaincy in 2019:
Here is what Wilder had to say.
I hope Jack Grealish doesn't play (tomorrow). Have another day off Jack, and return at the weekend because I think he is the best player in England.
So, there you have it: Jack Grealish has gone full mainstream. However, as Grealish's talents have now reached the masses, it is only a matter of time until the masses turn. So enjoy it while you can Jack Peter Grealish. The Warm-Up does not make the rules, just informs you of them.

IN OTHER NEWS

Pirelli and Inter: The end of an era

The whole name me a more iconic duo thing: Inter and Pirelli. Game done. Best wishes.

Ronaldo of Inter Milan celebrates during the Serie A match between Milan and Inter Milan played at the "Giuseppe Meazza" in Milan.

Image credit: Getty Images

Anyway, it has been announced that as of next season, Inter will have new sponsors. Heartbreak.

HAT-TIP & RETRO CORNER

This - Pirelli, Parmalat and Pooh Jeans: Sponsorship in Italian Football - from Calcio England is fairly pertinent given the Pirelli news.
A visit to an Italian supermarket can be a deeply reminiscent experience for the calcio devotee. The aisles are lined with familiar names and logos that transport you back in time to the players, teams and kits of seasons past. The sight of Buitoni pasta sends you into a daydream about Maradona’s Napoli. On the same shelf you’ve spotted the Barilla; synonymous with Roma in the 1980s. Down the next aisle, you’ve picked up a packet of Segafredo – didn’t they sponsor Bologna? Yep – and Treviso. You’d assumed that Parmalat had imploded as part of Calisto Tanzi’s empire. But there it is, pride of place in the refrigerated section.

COMING UP

Domestic football galore. Here is what is we shall be running live minute-by-minutes lives on the Eurosport website: Burnley v Leicester (18:00), AC Milan v Udinese (19:45), Barcelona v Sevilla (20:00) and Crystal Palace v Manchester United (20:15).
Andi Thomas - the Jack Grealish of the Warm-Up rotation - is here tomorrow.
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