Antonio Conte and the full Spurs experience | Soccer

OH TOTTENHAM, HOW CAN YOU (MLVII PART)

The Fiver, wise beyond its beers, realized long ago that nothing good could come from us reaching unattainable standards, that is, high standards. Pep Guardiola isn’t like that, and that’s his problem. The Catalan comes across as one of those perfectionists for whom the slightest flaw in his work triggers agonizing reflections, leaving him Edvard Chewing in the bathroom mirror, screaming like some pained circus oddity. So imagine how Guardiola suffers from reminders that Manchester City’s bogey team is Tottenham Honking Hotspur, for god’s sake.

On Wednesday, Guardiola had to watch Liverpool demolish both Leeds United and the small goal difference advantage City had enjoyed over their nearest rivals as Jürgen Klopp’s side came within three points at the top of the table . But the most infuriating result for Guardiola came at Turf Moor, where the Ben Mee side battled to a precious win that underscored the absurdity of Spurs’ victory at City last weekend. As the scoreline appeared on screen, you could easily imagine Guardiola turning to his £100m gardener, Jack Grealish, and begging him to make sense of it all.

Of course, Guardiola wasn’t the only manager distracted after Spurs’ latest Spursiness. The London troupe’s own ringmaster, Antonio Conte, was so perplexed that he found himself questioning everything he thought he knew about himself, football and stereotypes about wayward types. “Nobody deserves this kind of situation,” Conte groaned to English media a week after complaining that translated interviews in Italian media often tended to make him look like a fickle galoot. “I came to try to improve the situation at Tottenham but maybe right now, I don’t know, I’m not that good at improving the situation,” he continued.

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“I’m trying to do everything to change the situation but the situation isn’t changing,” he said before insinuating he could be ready to flee Spurs if something or other didn’t change. “Somebody has to talk about the race to fourth place, and the reality of the last five games is that we have to be careful not to fight for the relegation zone. That’s the truth. That’s the reality. When this type of situation happens, there may be something wrong I don’t want to close my eyes, I want to take my responsibility, if I have the responsibility I’m open, I’m open every decision because I want to help Tottenham. From the first day I arrived here, I want to help Tottenham. I repeat: I am too honest to close my eyes and continue like this, and also take my salary. But this is not is not well at the moment.

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QUOTE OF THE DAY

“It may be a bit of a surprise that I arrived, but don’t be put off by that. I’m here for one reason: to make Bradford City a team that people want to come and see – and are proud to watch” – Home and Away’s Ailsa is back, baby Despite never having success outside of the Premier League, he takes over at Valley Parade with the 15th-placed side in League Two.

Yes. Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images

FIVE LETTERS

“Would Danny Hylton and Cameron Jerome scoring for Luton at Stoke be the oldest combined age of two goalscorers for a Championship side? Jerome is 35, Hylton 32, which makes them 67. They certainly made the night worthwhile for Mark Crowther, who has been going to every Luton away game this season for charity. Just the 111 miles in seven and a half hours yesterday” – Yvonne Fletcher.

“As a Sunderland fan, reading Matt McILraith’s comments on Meikayla Moore’s hat-trick (Tuesday’s Fiver letters), again, our similar nightmare. In 2003 Sunderland scored four goals against Charlton but we lost 3-1. We scored three own goals in just seven minutes. And, looking at our current position, it has deteriorated since then” – Phil Davison.

“Jack Wilshere returning to Arsenal as manager after proving himself an Aarhus legend (Yesterday’s News, Bits and Bobs) would surely warrant a Fiver name from Jack Wilshere’s Aarhus Arsenal?” –Gerry Rickard.

“Coming from the United States!” UNITED STATES!! UNITED STATES!!! and also being quite old and decrepit (64) I’ve never heard of Wolf Alice (last line from yesterday). I decided that I liked them. Always come to the Fiver for the jokes (?), stay for the music recommendations” – Joe Pearson.

Send your letters to [email protected] And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our invaluable letter of the day is… Phil Davison.

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NEWS, BITS AND BOBS

UEFA will move this season’s Big Cup final from St Petersburg, with an extraordinary meeting called on Friday to confirm that Russia are stripped of the showpiece following the invasion of Ukraine.

Labor MP Chris Bryant told parliament that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich had been identified by the Home Office in 2019 as having links to the Russian state as well as “activities and practices of corruption,” suggesting that the UK should seize its assets.

Schalke will remove sponsor Gazprom from their shirts. “It will be replaced by a ‘Schalke 04’ lettering instead,” the Bundesliga club said.

Benfica’s Roman Yaremchuk sported a Ukrainian crest after scoring the equalizer in their 2-2 Big Cup draw with Ajax. “It’s our country, our history, our culture, our people and our borders,” he said. “I would like to thank our defenders for their courage. Glory to Ukraine.”

Roman Yaremchuk there.
Roman Yaremchuk there. Photography: Pedro Fiuza/NurPhoto/Rex/Shutterstock

Manchester United have their Anthony Elangas again after salvaging a 1-1 Big Cup draw at Atlético Madrid. “I told you how calm and cool I am, and every chance I get, I want to pay the manager back,” he roared. “We played without conviction, without aggression and that’s why we had trouble,” laments Ralf Rangnick.

Diogo Jota has recovered from an ankle injury but Roberto Firmino’s kidnapper will rule him out of Liverpool’s Milk Cup final with Chelsea.

The Women of England celebrate winning the Arnold Clark Tournament after beating Germany 3-1. “We got a lot of information about ourselves and where we are in our style of play,” coach Sarina Wiegman applauded.

And Peterborough have appointed Grant McCann as manager for the second time, with their first game against Hull, who dumped him unceremoniously earlier this month.

WANT EVEN MORE?

Is it acceptable to laugh at a player scoring a hat-trick of own goals? Max Rushden struggles with his conscience.

Suzanne Wrack and Louise Taylor build on lessons learned from England’s Arnold Clark Cup triumph.

Ellen White and Rachel Daly party at Molineux.
Ellen White and Rachel Daly party at Molineux. Photography: Anna Gowthorpe/Rex/Shutterstock

Sid Lowe on a rare unsuccessful outing by Cristiano Ronaldo against Atlético in the Big Cup.

Tom Bogert profiles Charlotte FC, the new MLS team.

There’s nothing wrong with grown adults wearing replica shirts, John Earls believes.

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