DEVALUED BIG CUP GOES AHEAD DESPITE CONSPICUOUS ABSENCE OF TEAMS FROM BEST LEAGUE IN THE WORLD™
Having confirmed their status as champions in the undisputed Best League In The World™, Manchester United's players were entitled to a long night on the tiles last night, but perusing Rival Website photos of their soiree (Alexander Büttner will love that caption listing him as an unnamed "friend" of Robin van Persie) the Fiver couldn't help but wonder if this might not be the best preparation for a Big Cup semi-final ludicrously scheduled for just a day or two after their win against Aston Villa.
Perusing Uefa's website to check whether they were playing tonight or tomorrow, we were also appalled to discover countless sloppy errors, with 'Manchester United' misspelt as 'B-a-r-c-e-l-o-n-a', and their noisy neighbours Manchester City accidentally called "Bayern Munich", while the Best League In The World™'s other Big Cup entrants this season, Chelsea and Arsenal, were bizarrely referred to as "Borussia Dortmund" and "Real Madrid". Eh?
With the accompanying previews illustrated by a number of pictures of players that the Fiver is fairly certain don't play for any of the aforementioned English teams, we could only conclude that, like Fifa president Sepp Blatter's Twitter account yesterday, Uefa's website must have been hacked by ne'er do wells. Then we realised that nothing of the sort had happened, because none of England's representatives are in the last four of Big Cup and we're just making a very laboured and unfunny point about the exaggerated quality of the Best League In The World™. See!
It may be St George's Day, but there won't be an English player in sight when Bayern Munich take on Barcelona in the first of this week's semi-finals. The Fiver isn't going to pretend it has a notion who'll win tonight's first leg at the Allianz Arena, but considering every dog and devil seems to think the Germans will prevail, we're putting this week's Liquid Inhibition Remover budget on the men from Camp Nou, who will scamper into tonight's rumble as big-priced 3-1 underdogs, a status that couldn't be more alien to Lionel Messi and chums if it beamed them up to a spaceship laboratory and subjected them to a series of undignified probes.
"In football the result is an imposter," said Barcelona heartbeat Xavi Hernández, providing the Fiver with a novel excuse to try with our bookie, should we do our dough tonight. "You can do things really, really well but not win. There's something greater than the result, more lasting – the legacy."
Meanwhile in the Bayern Munich camp, full-back Philipp Lahm was doing his best to disabuse reporters of the notion that Germans don't have a sense of humour with his reply to a question about the possible absence of Messi through knack. "Of course we hope he will play," said the defender, his nose suddenly growing all the better to smell the smoke emanating from pants which had suddenly burst into flames.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY
"He bit someone. It happens" – Mike Tyson offers support and understanding to Luis Suárez.
"I was surprised to see the number of amateur solicitors appealing to the Eric Cantona example in defence of Luis Suárez over the past 24 hours. Considering that Cantona was suspended for something like eight months I don't imagine they'll be getting Suárez's business on this one. I hear Lionel Hutz is looking for partners, though" – David Wall.
"I am amazed to see the Premier League missing out on a potentially lucrative revenue stream. Corporate sponsorship of a range of light snacks for players overcome by hunger pains during a match available from the touchline might help swell their coffers and prevent starving players taking matters into their own hands" – Steve Smith.
"Is the Fiver some sort of Nostradamus-type character as well as a Least Funny Tea-time wannabe winner? Reading Friday's email this Monday seems to imply this is the case with the story on Suárez. However, I suppose for this to be true the Fiver would indeed have to be funny and able to use irony. Alas the Fiver must have simply struck lucky. What is it they say about monkeys and typewriters?" – James Renton.
"All day yesterday I was eagerly anticipating the Fiver as I was sure that the Suárez incident would give you a story to really get your teeth into. You didn't disappoint. For a change" – Andrew Pilkington.
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BITS AND BOBS
Timing specialists Bayern Munich have agreed a deal to sign Mario Götze for £32m from Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund. "Anybody can make their own minds up as to why it's come out now, but it is out," sniffed Jürgen Klopp.
Rio Ferdinand reckons Manchester United's title triumph, sealed by their 3-0 win over Aston Villa, trumps that of Manchester City last season. "It's always sweet when you win the title and it's nice to do it here, in the right way and in style, not on goal difference," ner-ner-nee-ner-nerred Ferdinand.
Plain Old John Terry wants to open contract talks with Chelsea in the summer.
Arsenal's Olivier Giroud must serve a three-game ban after the FA rejected his appeal against a red card at Fulham.
And three men have been detained in dawn arrests following violence at Millwall's FA Cup semi defeat to Wigan.
STILL WANT MORE?
Tonight sees Pep past face Pep future in a Pep-less present – it's essentially a Big Cup Back to the Future II, writes Jonathan Wilson.
Javi Martínez? Just call me Jögi Märtineß, says Javi Martínez.
The Fiver loves ranking – yes, ranking – things (1 Coco-Pops, 2 Start, 3 Crunchy Nut Cornflakes) and so does Rob Smyth – he's ranked United's 13 title triumphs under Lord Ferg.
Proper Journalism's David Conn explains how the Glazers have won in the end.
What do the Premier League also-rans need to catch United next season? Our writers have the answers.
And Jürgen Klopp stars as the Honey Monster, Elton John and James Bond? It can only be this week's Gallery.