Antoine Griezmann‘s ‘Take the L’ celebration has become quite a thing in the recent days.
And while you might have thought the dance move was only limited to the field, the Frenchman, along with his team-mate Diego Costa, didn’t miss the chance to bring it out in front of fans during the victory celebrations at the Fountain of Neptune in Madrid.
Watch for yourself because these moves cannot be missed.
Unsurprisingly, the rather fraught relationship between Antonio Conte and Jose Mourinho has filled up plenty of column inches in the run up to Saturday’s FA Cup final between Chelsea and Manchester United at Wembley.
The Italian labelled the Portuguese a ‘little man’ in October 2016 following Mourinho’s match-fixing jibe, in what started off a series of exchanges which have ultimately left some supposed bad blood between the pair.
However, ahead of English football’s showpiece day in the calendar, both managers have seemingly buried the hatchet for now at least and put the personal feuds aside.
Here, we look at how things could shape up from a tactical perspective on the pitch.
DON’T EXPECT A THRILLER
It could more than likely be Conte’s final game as Chelsea boss and the question is whether or not he can lift his side? Many would say Blues’ stars shouldn’t need a such a gee-up for a big occasion, but if they throw in the towel here, then that will surely be the final straw for Roman Abramovich following a dismal campaign in which the 2017 Premier League champions failed to qualify for the Champions League.
Conte, who has apparently lost order in some sections of the Stamford Bridge dressing room, will go back to his more trustworthy system of flooding the midfield and using his full-backs to pen United back. However, this season’s current crop of players haven’t quite got the power and pace to make such an impact like they did in last season’s title-winning success.
Meanwhile, Mourinho would love to put one over on the Italian and end his stint in English football. Silverware, again, for a second successive season would be a bonus too. Substance over style is the most important factor for the 55-year-old. A cagey, dull affair in the Wembley sun would satisfy Mourinho and that could be enough, especially when you consider the Reds have the capability of grabbing a firm stranglehold of the midfield.
MIDFIELD MATCH-UP TO PROVE CRITICAL
When these two sides met at Old Trafford in November, the Blues’ midfield struggled to cope with United’s energy as the hosts battled back from a goal down to win 2-1. In truth, that day, the scoreline favoured Chelsea. N’Golo Kante and Danny Drinkwater were overwhelmed as the Red Devils enjoyed territorial pressure, while Eden Hazard and Willian offered little support tracking back and Marcos Alonso was caught between his defensive and midfield duties.
If Chelsea’s midfield becomes detached from their front stars again then they could well be in big trouble, especially if Jesse Lingard and Alexis Sanchez can dominant the flanks, and around the box.
Hazard carries the full burden of Chelsea’s creative hub but will need to see plenty of the ball in front of a packed five-man midfield, operating in a likely 3-5-1-1 system.
Failure to help the Belgian will also see Olivier Giroud cut an isolated figure given his lack of pace and ingenuity to chase the lines. This, should in hindsight, play into the hands of powerhouse Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba if he can get forward with regularity.
THE LUKAKU FACTOR
The Belgian’s ankle injury woe is a source of frustration for the striker with the World Cup looming but United are hoping the 25-year-old can nurse his way through the game and have one more telling impact in an impressive first season.
Often, this term, his influence has been understated. Yes – a tally of 16 Premier League goals hasn’t exactly caught the world alight when Mohamed Salah and Harry Kane have been doubling that total – but it’s been the former Everton star’s runs into the channels and an improvement as all-round spearhead which has been impressive.
Injury could impede his physicality at Wembley but his inclusion could still be enough for United to nick a goal and then play a measured, shut-up shop style game. Lukuku, of course, would love to be the match-winner in a major match against his former charges.
Former England boss Steve McClaren has been appointed as the new manager of QPR.
The 57-year-old has agreed a two-year contract at Loftus Road, where he worked for three months under Harry Redknapp during 2013 before embarking on his first spell at Derby County.
“It’s great to be back – and it’s a challenge that I’m excited by,” McClaren told the Championship club’s official website after being confirmed as Ian Holloway’s successor.
“I must admit that I’ve followed the club closely over the last five years, because of the three months I had here.
“From the outside, I’ve seen the progress, work and changes that have gone on – especially over the last two years – in streamlining the squad and getting the budget down. The board and owners deserve credit for that.”
McClaren was in charge at Newcastle during the 2015/16 season before returning to Derby, a managerial role he left in March 2017.
— QPR FC (@QPRFC) May 18, 2018
The former England manager, who left that position after failing to secure qualification for Euro 2008, is confident QPR can progress next season following a 16th-placed finish.
“The introduction of younger players has been a breath of fresh air and it’s exciting for the future,” the one-time Middlesbrough boss said.
“I like to play attractive, attacking football – and we’ve got young, hungry footballers here who can play that way. The priority is to win football matches – but we want to win them in a certain style.”
Holloway joined the Rs for a second spell as boss in November 2016, signing a two-and-a-half-year deal, but left with 12 months still remaining on his contract.
McClaren, meanwhile, brings with him a wealth of coaching experience, having worked under Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United and having managed in Europe at FC Twente and Wolfsburg. He also had a brief stint with Nottingham Forest in 2011.
QPR director of football Les Ferdinand feels McClaren is the “perfect fit” for the west London club as they look to chart a course back to the Premier League.
— QPR FC (@QPRFC) May 18, 2018
“Steve has a fantastic reputation in the game for coaching and developing players,” he said.
“When you look at the average age of our squad, and the exciting young talent starting to emerge, he is the perfect fit for us.
“We want Steve to use his expertise and experience to help our players grow. We are delighted with this appointment and, speaking with Steve, I know how excited he is to be here and how determined he is to be a success.”
QPR said a further announcement on McClaren’s backroom staff would be made in due course.