A name scribbled into the now customary Chelsea statement

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SARRI-VEDERCI?

So fond of a cigarette he gets through three or four lighters a day, The Fiver shudders to imagine how many coffin-nails Maurizio Sarri sucked down to the butt as he subjected himself to the torment of re-watching that Chelsea horror show against Manchester City. Between the smoke billowing out of various facial apertures, the piping hot steam hissing out of his lug-holes and dense cloud of ash swirling around his head, old Maurizio will have resembled the 2010 eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull and his mood will have been similarly volcanic.

Whether the shame into which his team spiralled at the Etihad will be enough to see him bounced out the Stamford Bridge door marked “Do One!” remains to be seen, although sacking a manager who famously needs time for his plan to come together would seem bonkers even by Roman Abramovich and Chelsea’s chaotic standards. “If the president calls, I’ll be happy, seeing as I never hear from him,” he said in the wake of Sunday’s game. “To be honest, I don’t know what to expect.” As Chelsea’s 11th permanent or semi-permanent manager in as many years, history suggests the Italian can expect to get his P45, a golden boot up the backside and see his name scribbled into the now customary statement in which Chelsea place on record “our gratitude for [insert binned manager’s name here]’s time as manager”.

One of countless (unless you can count to 11) Chelsea players who had a shocker, César Azpilicueta was also one of only a handful who had the good grace to look throughly ashamed of themselves in the wake of the shellacking. “It is one of the worst nights in my career,” wailed the Spaniard, who is known to his team-mates as ‘Dave’, in an homage to … erm, Rodney from Only Fools and Horses. “It’s very frustrating, it’s very disappointing. We have lost big games in the first minutes and we are conceding a lot of goals. We cannot accept that.”

Despite not receiving his customary post-match handshake from a friend and opposite number who was presumably preoccupied with storming down the tunnel and violently kicking the Chelsea dressing-room door off its hinges, Pep Guardiola was quick to stick up for the man his side had just humiliated. “People don’t understand how difficult it is,” he clucked sympathetically. “I said many times, my first year was difficult too. Some moments we played good but not consistently. It needs time. It depends on the belief from the owners, the people who are in charge; they really need to believe in that.” After Sunday’s Sarri effort, all bets are off.

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QUOTE OF THE DAY

“If we should have any regrets as Manchester United it is that we only gave David Moyes seven months. He would’ve grown into that role. From the club’s perspective we should never ever have dismissed him” – Peter Schmeichel is keen on the Manchester United director of football job, and has asserted his impeccable credentials once again. Moyes has since been sacked by Real Sociedad, Sunderland and West Ham.

Any excuse, really.
Any excuse, really. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

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FIVER LETTERS

“Re: Noble Francis’s challenge about games in which nothing happened (Friday’s Fiver letters). I support Morton and my local team is now Southend United. So there” – Alistair Moffat.

“Would anyone happen to have the xG stats from this classic?” – Matt Richman.

“Fifteen years old standing on terracing at Ibrox in a thick Glasgow fog for a Pope’s O’Rangers v Motherwell Cup game. Only saw one player near our touchline: the young Ian St John facing off against a 6ft 6in centre-half, scooped the ball over his head and ran round him … only to disappear into the fog. Exiting the game fans were sifting rumours of the score, anywhere from 2-2 to Motherwell winning 5-2. St John, Pat Quinn, and Willie Hunter went on to sterling careers in English fitba’ and Glasgow brought in new laws curbing coal burning” – John McCrossan.

“May I be one of 1,057 pedants to point out that in Friday’s Fiver you used a picture of David Seaman wearing the home goalkeeper kit when comparing to Pep Guardiola’s natty choice of knitwear, even though the text described Big Dave’s psychedelic kit worn in the semi-final of Euro 96 against Germany, which was the strange red number used with the away kit. I don’t why this bothered me enough to email you but it did” – Ben Williams (and one other).

Send your letters to the.boss@theguardian.com. And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our letter o’the day is Alistair Moffat, who wins a copy of You Can’t Win Anything With Kids: a History of the Premier League Told Through Quotes. Plenty more prizes to come.

NEWS, BITS AND BOBS

The refugee Bahraini footballer Hakeem al-Araibi is set to return to Australia after Thai authorities withdrew an extradition case against him.

Paul Scholes has finally been confirmed as Oldham manager, and owner Abdallah Lemsagam is pleased, noting that his man “has won everything there is to win in football”. The Fiver respectfully suggests he reacquaint himself with the wondrous feats of the Golden Generation™.

The scene at Boundary Park.
The scene at Boundary Park. Photograph: Christopher Thomond/The Guardian

José Mourinho is to host a football show on RT providing coverage of Big Cup.

Un-brie-lievable scenes at what’s fast becoming the Fyre Festival of football stadiums.

It may only be February, but for Georginio Wijnaldum, squeaky bum time started on Saturday. “In the morning I was still weak and had diarrhoea,” he parped. “The tablets helped a lot but even at half-time I had to run off quickly to get to the toilet. At half-time I thought: ‘Oh no’ but I ran inside and managed to control it.”

And a man accused of dancing on an ambulance during World Cup celebrations will stand trial for criminal damage. James Elton, 27, is one of a group of people caught on camera climbing on the rapid response car after England’s victory over Sweden last July. Defending, Jim Sturman QC described his client’s dance moves as a “soft shoe shuffle” that would not have caused any harm.

STILL WANT MORE?

How bad is too bad? What level of defeat forces a club to change its long-term plans? Is there even a long-term plan at Chelsea? Jonathan Wilson has the answers.

Ten Premier League talking points? Ten Premier League talking points!

Rachel Brown-Finnis dissects the weekend’s WSL action, from Vivianne Miedema’s heroics to the emergence of Lauren James.

Ji So-yun showing Chelsea how it’s done.
Ji So-yun showing Chelsea how it’s done. Photograph: Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Sid Lowe on Real Madrid.

Andy Brassell on Dortmund’s latest collapse, which leaves them five points clear of Bayern in the Bundesliga.

Dairy farmers, Milan’s new €35m boy Lucas Paquetá and a Flamengo tribute all feature in Paolo Bandini’s Serie A wrap.

Nice have Ligue 1’s best keeper, which is just as well.

Oh, and if it’s your thing … you can follow Big Website on Big Social FaceSpace. And INSTACHAT, TOO!

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