x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Alvaro Negredo uses his illusion

Alvaro Negredo's act of deception works much better than David Luiz's inaction.

Chelsea's David Luiz , centre, gets tangled with Cardiff 's Aron Gunnarsson during their Premier League match  at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. It was Luiz's inaction on a clearance that allowed Cardiff to score their lone goal in a 4-1 loss to Chelsea. Gerry Penny / EPA
Chelsea's David Luiz , centre, gets tangled with Cardiff 's Aron Gunnarsson during their Premier League match at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. It was Luiz's inaction on a clearance that allowed Cardiff to score their lone goal in a 4-1 loss to Chelsea. Gerry Penny / EPA

Best leave – Negredo

Alvaro Negredo may not quite fit the recently set mould of the Spanish “False 9”.

However, the Manchester City centre-forward has clearly mastered the art of deception, nonetheless. When he went to collect a Fernandinho through ball in the first half at Upton Park, West Ham United’s defenders clearly thought he was the danger man.

But then it turned out he was not really there after all, as the ball wandered past him perfectly into the path of Sergio Aguero.

It was the perfect deception. Fernandinho got the assist, Aguero recorded the opening goal, but the mastery in the creation was really all about Negredo’s absent touch.

Worst leave – Luiz

Maybe Negredo had been watching Chelsea’s game against Cardiff City on Saturday when he came up with the idea for his majestic feint.

David Luiz, Chelsea’s maverick centre-back, nailed the “don’t-let-them-know-what-you-are-thinking” dummy early in the piece at Stamford Bridge.

He wandered past the ball as if it was not there.

Unfortunately for him, though, he was at the wrong end of the field and Peter Cech, his goalkeeper, did not have a clue what he had planned.

So Jordan Mutch nipped in and struck a surprise earlier opener for the Welsh side.

If Luiz was a cricketer, he would have no idea where his off-stump is.

Best impact – Pochettino

When Nigel Adkins was dismissed as Southampton’s manager in January, it was taken as another indicator of all that is wrong with the world of professional football.

The former goalkeeper had won successive promotions to breathe live into a club that had fallen into disrepair, yet was repaid with his dismissal by impatient, short-sighted men in suits.

And in his place was brought some Argentine nobody who must have been a “yes” man for Nicola Cortese, the club’s executive chairman.

Cortese does not seem quite such a dumbo now.

Southampton are chasing a place in the Uefa Champions League, and Mauricio Pochettino said there is no reason why they should not.

“We’re on a positive run and the sky is the limit,” the manager said after the 1-1 draw against Manchester United.

Worst start – Poyet

Sunderland’s new manager, Gus Poyet, may have received a hospital pass from his predecessor, the storied Paolo Di Canio, on the evidence of this weekend. Poyet even admitted he was only just coming to terms with the job at hand after their second-half implosion against Swansea City on Saturday.

“In the first half, I thought I picked the right team – after the second, I’m not so sure,” the Uruguayan said after the 4-0 defeat.

Minutes 57 to 64, to be more accurate, during which time Sunderland conceded three goals, including an opener by one of their own defenders, and another from the penalty spot.

Best song - Chelsea

Add any old lyrics to the tune of “I want to go home” by Johnny Cash and you are guaranteed to come up with some tiresome number, usually concerning someone scoring when they fancy.

Still, Chelsea’s supporters managed to evoke a little bit of mirth when Jose Mourinho was sent to the stands for a meltdown against the referee against Cardiff City.

“He sits where he wants,” the home faithful decided, after the Portuguese manager initially sat in the wrong seat.

Worst tackle - Barry

“The stuff of horror,” is the way Steve Bruce, Hull City’s manager, described Gareth Barry’s tackle on Sone Aluko at Goodison Park. He was not wrong.

The on-loan England midfielder could have broken his opponent’s shin after going over the top of the ball with his tackle.

To add to the sense of injustice, Hull’s Danny Graham also went off injured after a collision with Barry.

Best tweet - Olivier Giroud

Footballers are not known for infallible punctuation and the France centre forward could only summon one response to Jack Wilshere’s opener in the win over Norwich City: a hashtag frenzy.

“Great win today! And amazing crowd #afc #jack #me #matchday #wonderful #first #goal #decent #assist”

Worst statistic

63 - Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa was shown Newcastle United’s 63rd Premier League red card when he was ordered off for hauling down Liverpool’s Luis Suarez.

Only Blackburn Rovers, with 76, Everton, 76, and Arsenal, 72, have seen more players dismissed since the advent of the competition in 1992.

pradley@thenational.ae

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