Thump! Thump! Thump! Gah! Thump! Thump! Thump! Gah! That’s the sound of the Fiver banging its head off the desk and saying “Gah!” repeatedly, as it struggles to think of anything interesting to say about tonight’s Premier League match between Manchester United and Wolves. At Molineux, where hopes are high that Wolves can build on the strong foundations of last season by finishing just above the relegation zone due to the distraction and exertions that come with playing in Euro Vase, it will provide a stern test of United’s mettle as they take on a side who recorded a league and cup double over them last season.
Not that Wolves manager Nuno Espírito Santo is one for harking back to past glories, of course. “It’s a new game, for sure, totally different to what we did [against Manchester United] in the past,” he said, upon being asked if tonight’s encounter is a new game, totally different to what his team did against Manchester United in the past. His opposite number, Ole Gunnar Solskjær, was able to offer similarly fascinating insights. “Wolves are a hard team to break down,” he said, upon being asked if Wolves are a hard team to break down. “They defend deep and they don’t give you a lot of space. But our form, our attitude and the mood of course after a win is great, so we go into Monday’s game confident.”
While this match looks promising on paper, should it fail to live up to expectation on grass it will, like so many encounters before it, serve as little more than a dreary interruption to the lengthy, slightly-less dreary Monday Night Football squabbling session between Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher. Having spent all day yesterday yelling at clouds – Abraham Simpson-style – after a rare night out in Manchester in which he was forced to endure the baffling spectacle of young people wearing fashionable clothes, Neville returns to his touchscreen o’tactics tonight and may well be in spiky form.
“Tonight on Monday Night Football, @GNev2 will name his best crosser of a ball in Premier League history” announced the show’s Twitter feed. While the outcome of Wolves v United might be difficult to call, we’re not expecting much in the way of surprises from one of David Beckham’s best mates.
LIVE ON BIG WEBSITE
Join Rob Smyth at 8pm BST for piping-hot MBM coverage of Wolves 2-2 Manchester United.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
Bayern Munich make a statement after signing Philippe Coutinho on loan from Barcelona: “The parties have agreed not to divulge the financial details of the agreement.”
Barcelona make a statement after allowing Philippe Coutinho to join Bayern Munich on loan: “Bayern Munich will pay €8.5m and the player’s wages. The agreement also sees an option to buy for Bayern fixed at €120m.”
Reading Ed’s ice hockey reminiscence (Friday’s letters) reminded me of my own chilly faux pas. Whilst on a secondment to Finland I attended an ice hockey game with a few lads from the office. When the buzzer signaled the end of the second half, I promptly rose from my seat, cheered my adopted team’s win and headed for the exit, assuming my indigenous colleagues were close behind. They weren’t. It turns out they play 3 periods in ice hockey so I had to hang around outside waiting for them. Apparently it was a great finish and even went to sudden death overtime” – David Harwood.
“As a long time Fiver reader (I know) I was somewhat surprised to discover that Weird Uncle Fiver is “a degenerate of indeterminable age and five chins” (Friday’s Fiver). While his age and moral turpitude were taken as givens, I found myself contemplating the image of him with five chins. I had always thought of him as some sort of Albert Steptoe-like figure, a tad grizzled and wisened and possibly wearing a plastic raincoat. But five chins? Are there any other surprising attributes we should be made aware of?” – Stephen Hodgson.
“Did I read that Jürgen Klopp was complaining about unauthorised people running on the pitch?? Huh” – Graham Haslam.
Send your letters to email@example.com. And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our letter o’the day prize is … David Harwood, who wins a copy of 50 Years of Shoot! We have more to give away, so get scribbling.
NEWS, BITS AND BOBS
Bolton’s League One home game against Doncaster on Tuesday has been postponed, amid welfare concerns for their young squad.
Kurt Zouma, who’s actual middle name is Happy, says that he is – wait for it – happy to be getting his chance to prove himself at Chelsea having overcome serious injury and spending the past two seasons on loan.
Rennes shock PSG (partly because of a 16-year-old), Kieran Trippier is putting that right foot to good use for Atlético Madrid, and Álvaro Morata scored a goal and then missed a penalty – it’s our Euro round-up!
COYS’s Mauricio Pochettino has described the decision to close the domestic summer transfer window in early August as a “massive mistake”.
Andy Carroll has said his “daft” years are behind him as he resumes his career back at Newcastle. “I met my missus … we’ve got animals, we’ve got responsibilities,” he huffed.
Boreham Wood FC chairman Danny Hunter has launched an astonishing attack on his own fans, after a crowd of 407 endured a narrow 1-0 defeat to Sutton on Saturday. “Today’s abysmal crowd just makes me feel sad,” Hunter spluttered. “I can’t keep wasting my money, if the apathy of a town continues and it won’t support a club to compete at National League level – 407 as a gate attendance at our level is laughable.”
STILL WANT MORE?
Ten (10!) talking points from the weekend’s Premier League action, with – surprisingly – no talk whatsoever about VAR below the line.
VAR-jar Jonathan Wilson on how Pep may not have enjoyed Big Brother’s stoppage-time intervention.
Jürgen Klopp is happy to keep eight midfielders varied and in tune, toetaps Sachin Nakrani.
Frank Lampard’s Stamford Bridge homecoming wasn’t all cartwheels and glitter cannons, notes Dominic Fifield.
The arrival of Coutinho at Bayern could pose more questions than answers for a side that has already dropped points, suggests Andy Brassell.
Nicholas Ioannou, former reserve-team captain of Manchester United where he was teammates with Marcus Rashford, is now playing in Cyprus. Will Unwin tracked him down before Apoel Nicosia’s Champions League qualifier against Ajax.
Turns out Sylvinho – the former Arsenal left-back – is a decent manager. Click here to see the current Lyon boss doing the splits and for an explanation as to why his presence might be crucial in creating an actual title race in Ligue 1 this season.
London City Lionesses (formerly Millwall Lionesses) kicked off their campaign over the weekend, and gestured discreetly that ‘equality has to be more than words’. Suzanne Wrack reports.
Finally, over 3,000 unmissable words from Emma Brockes in conversation with USA World Cup winner Megan Rapinoe – President D Trump should not hold his breath for a Christmas card.
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