The Champions League semi-finals were resolved and a huge weekend in the Premier League took place with Liverpool and Chelsea dropping points, while Manchester City beat Everton and then Aston Villa in midweek, meaning it was a busy week for football pundits on the tube.
TV3 welcomed Brian Kerr and Neil Lennon to their studio for Bayern Munich v Real Madrid and the Celtic manager was fairly scathing in his assessment of Bayern after their shock 4-0 thrashing. Lennon labelled the Germans defending as “scandalous” and reckoned that set pieces weren’t at the centre of the Munich manager’s thoughts before any game. “I don’t think it’s something that Guardiola sees as an important part of his outlook on the game”, Lennon surmised.
When presenter Tommy Martin posed the question whether Bayern were arrogant, stubborn or narrow-minded in not defending set pieces to the former Ireland manager, Kerr didn’t mince his words as usual. “It’s a fairly stupid approach. At any level of the game, you have to be disciplined and organised at set pieces and no matter how good you are in the attacking sense, that’s a basic thing. Any team can score a goal against you from a set piece if you’re not organised.” Hard to argue with that logic. Kerr wasn’t too amused with Tommy Martin’s acronym ‘BBC’ (Benzema, Bale, Cristiano) and commented “it used to be balls, bibs and cones, wasn’t it Neil? Now it’s this three”. Truly times have changed, Brian. (Follow the link below to watch the full discussion)
Check out the punditry here: http://www.tv3.ie/news_sub_page.php?video_id=79191&locID=1.2.888
Over on ITV, Adrian Chiles, Lee Dixon and Roy Keane could hardly hear themselves speak at a slightly more glamorous location then the lads in Ballymount, as they were close enough to touch the action pitchside at the Allianz Arena. Keane even had time to catch up with his old United pal Cristiano Ronaldo at the end of the game. The Real Madrid galactico made time for Keane after dispatching of Bayern Munich, while Dixon looked on, longingly.
Chelsea’s elimination at the hands of Atletico Madrid was overseen by the old guard of Johnny Giles, Liam Brady and Eamon Dunphy and the trio also had their say on the previous nights action. Dunphy speculated on how Jupp Heynckes must be watching Guardiola’s Bayern and saying “boy, this guy has ruined the side”. Dunphy went on to claim that Guardiola was carried out of a nightclub after his team won the league with seven matches remaining. A bizarre statement but obviously Dunphy’s sources are far-reaching. Brady’s argument was slightly more rational and you can watch it below.
The panel were equally if not more critical of Jose Mourinho’s tactics against Atletico with Giles accusing Jose of “trying to be a bit of a genius” playing full back Cesar Azpilicueta in a right midfield position. Brady suggested lengthening Mourinho’s nickname to “the Special One at being negative”. Doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. Nonetheless an interesting debate ensued which you can watch below.
After Chelsea drew with Norwich, Jamie Redknapp must have been secretly delighted to get one over on his new foe Mourinho. With Manchester City winning at Goodison against Everton however, the game to watch from the weekend was on the newest day to the weekend schedule; Monday with Neville and Carragher. The inexplicable happened and Liverpool collapsed after being 3-0 in front of Crystal Palace with 11 minutes to go before Tony Pulis’ side smashed the deficit. Goals from Irish defender Damien Delaney and a brace for substitute Dwight Gale ensured a humiliating draw for Liverpool and the concession of the Premier League title by Brendan Rodgers to City.
Carragher bemoaned his former side’s defensive line dropping too deep and described the two centre backs as “weak mentally”, commenting particularly on watching Mamadou Sakho making him nervous as a spectator. Neville claimed the equaliser was inevitable once Palace scored their second goal.
Manchester City’s nervy midweek game against Aston Villa on Wednesday night at the Etihad was the next stop on the penultimate round of the Premier League fixtures and Sky had none other than Jamie Carragher in their studio, almost visibly willing City to make a mistake. Carragher was also joined by Niall Quinn who was put in the unusual position of discussing the financial side of football on a Sky match broadcast, following reports City will be fined £49million for a breach UEFAs financial fair play rules. Quinn took the side of poor little downtrodden Manchester City as he tried to make a rather ham-fisted case as to why City should spend what they want because it’s good for that specific area, ignoring the many other reasons over 200 clubs voted for the rules to be implemented by UEFA.
Back to the more straight-forward football side of things as City turned a cagey game which was 0-0 at half time into a 4-0 hammering thanks to goals from Edin Dzeko (2), Stefan Jovetic and a pitch-dribbling stunner from Yaya Toure. “Men against boys – unstoppable” remarked Carragher of the Ivory Coast midfielder’s excellent run. Commenting on whether the league was as good as done for City now, Carragher offered the faintest glimmer of hope for Liverpool fans: “Imagine if it’s 0-0 here (the Etihad)with ten minutes to go – a set piece – Andy Carroll…” before Quinn interjected, “I know you can…”. Cue a nervous laugh that was a mixture of hope and desperation from Carragher. It’s the hope that gets you, Jamie.
John O’Connor, Pundit Arena.