I’ve never been a religious man. Perhaps it was the way I was raised. It could be my affinity for the unholier things in life such as calling football “soccer.” However yesterday, I believed in miracles. I’ve seen flashes of divine influence before. The 2005 Champions League final. The 2006 FA Cup final. My intramural soccer team’s gritty 1-0 win against a far superior opponent. The Manchester City vs Newcastle game yesterday was arguably more incredible than the previous three.
After Sergio Aguero squeaked one in after just 25 seconds – largely thanks to horrific Newcastle defending- all bets were off. It looked like a typical Guardiola win. Not so fast, said the emotionless Rafa Benitez, presumably without emotion. Newcastle stormed back, scoring twice in the last 20 minutes to secure an incredible 2-1 victory. More important than the Newcastle win was the fact that Liverpool now have a chance to go SEVEN points clear atop the table.
To call last night’s result surprising wouldn’t be an understatement. Worse, it would be a complete misunderstanding of the premier league as a whole. Still, there are hypotheticals that would be more surprising than the miracle at St. James’ Park. Here are a few:
A calm reaction from Jurgen Klopp
The man is known for many things. Trendy hair, cool glasses, the ability to pull off a baseball cap like no other 51 year old German ever, shockingly bad teeth. And, most notably, his ridiculously energetic celebrations.
Understatement does not exist in Jurgen’s world.
Modesty from Jose Mourinho
When a manager immediately dubs himself “the special one,” it removes all pretense for modesty. His continuous antics and demands of “respect” from the media contributed to his recent firing. Don’t expect his ego to deflate anytime soon.
Paul Pogba sprinting
As a very slow human being, I have learned that there are many ways to move about on a football pitch. Most sprint tirelessly, while some can afford to float masterfully. Andrea Pirlo, Xabi Alonso, Sergio Busquets and many of similar mould can afford to stroll graceful yet still dictate the game. Pogba, for all his talent, is just lazy. He even lives the slow life on penalties:
Neymar staying on his feet
The day Neymar stops diving will be the day I acknowledge the American Revolution as a sound and successful military victory. That is all I have to say on the subject.
A decent haircut for Marouane Fellaini
The ‘fro was iconic. Since then, everything has gone downhill. First he dyed it, then he shaved it. Everything is just a mess. Give this lad a short back and sides.
Sarri quitting cigarettes
At first, I legitimately thought this was a meme. There is no way, in this day and age, that a Premier League manager would be ripping a cig at halftime. Turns out I was wrong. Let’s be clear, this isn’t that funny at all. The irony, however, is too brilliant.
— Serie A News (@TransfersCalcio) February 22, 2016
A major premier league club fielding an all English XI
This has been an issue for ages now. God forbid, the Premier League has become more diverse. So much so, that very few top flight teams field lineups with more than 3-4 English players. *cues racist comments from various conservative newspapers*
Personally, I think teams should be able to start whoever they want. Let’s just hope that Brexit doesn’t change anything.
Steven Gerrard answering a question without saying “YEAAAACOURSE”
He is the best midfielder of all time, and by far my favorite player, but Stevie G has never been known for being particularly well spoken. For the record, I do not expect a scouser who has only ever cared about football to be lecturing interviewers on the current geopolitical climate of Europe. However, I think he could change it up every once in a while.
An injury free season from Arsenal
Poor Unai. A promising start to the season derailed by injuries. Sounds awfully familiar for the Gunners. It appears that even with a ne gaffer the North London side still can’t catch a break. This is particularly disappointing for non-Arsenal fans, who have to deal with an entire season without Danny Welbeck banter.
Leicester City winning the league
Oh shit. Well, I guess miracles do happen.