As you would know since my last post, Liverpool and Bayern Munich could only serve up a goalless draw. Barcelona also played out the same scoreline with Lyon on the same night but have since shaken off those cobwebs, a wonderful Leo Messi hattrick inspiring them to a 4-2 win at Sevilla.

 Liverpool have been involved in another big game since, the Northwest derby against Manchester United which had never ended goalless at Old Trafford. It Promised fireworks and attacking intensity but strangely, Manchester United’s players weren’t up for the races and lost three players to hamstring injuries with a clearly injured Marcus Rashford forced to finish the game, Liverpool lost Bobby Firmino.

Jesse Lingard goes down injured (C) GETTY IMAGES

 The most bizarre moment in that first half for me was Ole Gunnar-Solskjaer bringing on a half-fit Jesse Lingard to replace a stricken Juan Mata with a fully-fit Alexis Sanchez on the bench. It’s a very bizarre decision that sits up there with Maurizio Sarri bringing on Zappacosta for Azpilicueta when two goals down against United only six days earlier. Jesse Lingard only lasted eighteen minutes and Alexis Sanchez belatedly got his chance.

 The strange incidents of the first half disrupted the momentum of the teams, resulting in a stop-start game. Those who were fit to complete the game, however, didn’t lack intensity but could only finish the game without casualties.

Betway Nigeria

 This bizarre Sunday in English football wasn’t done just yet. Certainly for me, as I spent the minutes between final whistle at Old Trafford and kick-off at Wembley trying to fix a snack. My meal preparation spilled into the first minutes of the Carabao Cup final, and I had to support my phone on a pack of Noreos biscuit on the kitchen table to get a good view whilst finding a solution to my hunger. Passion for football on my part, but anyone who saw me could have sworn that I was possessed.

(C) Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

 Chelsea sought to regain some pride after the 6-0 shellacking they received from their opponents Manchester City only two weeks earlier. Everyone else expected goals to rain.

 Chelsea put in a solid defensive showing, nullifying City’s many threats in the first half and flying out the blocks in the second period. They could only force extra time after a nil-nil stalemate, and as penalty shootout loomed, goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga went down with cramp.

A seething Maurizio Sarri (C) Nick Potts/PA

 Maurizio Sarri sought to bring on Penalty-expert Willy Caballero but Kepa insisted he was alright to continue, prompting an animated, out-of-character reaction from his manager. A Chelsea win during the shootout might have papered over the cracks and told of Kepa’s heroism against the will of his manager but he made a daft refusal to come off against his manager’s apparent anger.

Kepa and Sarri’s dramatic episode took the gloss off Chelsea’s good display and City’s cup win.  (C) The Guardian

 The best way forward from this unfortunate embarrassing episode is that Kepa issues an apology- which he has done- and Sarri moves on from what he has also called “a big misunderstanding”. Consistent Results though, are the best antidote to any internal problems and speculation over Sarri’s job.

 Only if strange weeks such as this last one are gone and never return.


Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin

Chief Editor of the Football Castle, Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin is a football junkie and writer of the beautiful game.

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