Good morning. Here is your briefing. Let’s start with some news.
There’s only one person you want to read after a tumultuous day for Arsenal and that’s Amy Lawrence in the Guardian. Can they really do it this year?
Graham Poll goes in hard on Mark Clattenburg in the Daily Mail. He broke the golden rule of refereeing, you see. He guessed.
We also liked this feature on Wes Morgan, Leicester’s quietly spoken colossus, in the Daily Telegraph. It’s by former Leicester and Arsenal striker Alan Smith, and unless he’s changed his working practices, he writes it himself.
Arsenal couldn’t do it in 2005, but Barcelona could in 2016. The famous Cruyff penalty pass is a treacherous beast, but not for Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. And you can read all about it in the Mirror, whose Spanish coverage has really stepped up in recent months.
Former Set Pieces stalwart Phil Costa is over at ESPNFC these days and he’s heading up the transfer gossip division. Catch up with all the latest news in his excellent round-up.
ON YOUR TELLY THIS WEEK (Assuming that you live in the UK)
It’s a low key start to the week. We’re hoping that Leeds will fulfill their fixture against Middlesbrough tonight, but just in case they don’t, you can catch up with Inverness Caledonian Thistle who will have a huge part to play in the Scottish title race this week. They play Celtic on Saturday and they host Aberdeen tonight. That’s on BT Sport 1. Alternatively, and this is pretty fucking alternative, there’s Nuremburg vs Bochum in the Bundesliga 2 on BT Sport Europe at 1915.
Ce sont les meilleures equipes. Es sind sie allerbesten Mannschaften. The main event. Die Meister. Die Besten. Les grandes equipes. The champions! The Champions League is back and it all starts on Tuesday night when a super rich club that used to be really good takes on a super rich club that still is really good, albeit one that employs super rich players who make stunningly homophobic periscope videos. Catch PSG vs Chelsea on BT Sport Europe or Benfica vs Zenit on BT Sport 2. And as an appetiser, you can scurry home from work early and watch Fenerbahce vs Lokomitiv Moscow on BT Sport Europe at 1700.
On Wednesday night, the pick of the games is Roma vs Real Madrid, though we might go Full Hipster and watch Gent vs Wolfsburg in a bold bid for credibility. Those games are on BT Sport Europe and BT Sport 2 respectively. Curiously, you can also watch Sporting Heehon vs Barcelona on Sky Sports 2, which is being played at 1730.
Thursday night is Inter City Fairs…UEFA Cu…Europa League night! There are eight games available on BT Sport’s many outlets, four at 1800 and four at 2005. They’re all listed here. Get them yourself.
It’s a pick and mix from Europe’s most exciting leagues on Friday and we’re not even going to do an ‘and Scotland too’ gag because, firstly, you deserve better, and secondly, it’s actually quite tight up there this year. Aberdeen go to Patrick Thistle on BT Sport 2 at 1945 and a win, allied with a win on Monday, could put them three points above Celtic. Elsewhere, there’s Levante vs Hatafey on Sky Sports 4 at 1930, Eintract Frankfurt vs Hamburg on BT Sport ESPN at 1930, Bordeaux vs Nice on BT Sport Extra 2 at 1930 and, pick of the bunch, Bologna vs Juventus on BT Sport Europe at 1945.
No-one sends us new any books anymore. It’s as if they know that we’ve been working our way through David Goldblatt’s enormous, exhaustive but charmingly accessible ‘The Ball is Round‘ which we downloaded AGES ago but only just remembered. But at least it’s not the wizard detectives. Absolutely have not started reading that all over again, no.
FROM OUR VAULT
A little out of date now, but we loved this interview with former Lyon academy coach Mathieu Boyer by Hugo Greenhalgh. Quite pertinent too, now that English clubs appear to have realised that they don’t necessarily need to spend big to find quality.
BEST NON-FOOTBALL THING
If you like your games rapid and frantic, you really won’t like Sunless Sea. It’s as slow as Wayne Rooney after a big Sunday dinner. In fact, to be honest, this is a game you read more than you play. But it’s beautiful. Sail your little ship across the darkened Unterzee, cutting through the gloom as distant horns sound and your crew gibber with fear. You can trade, you can fight, you can fulfil missions. And all the while, an epic story unfolds around you. It’s a bit Steampunky, a bit Lovecrafty, a bit like an early 2D GTA on the PS1, but slower and spookier. You need patience, but that patience will certainly be rewarded.
If you’d like to recommend something for next Monday’s briefing, get in touch by emailing [email protected]