• Thank goodness for January’s drama

    Diego Costa vs Pedro

    Dimitri Payet, Paul Pogba and Diego Costa have all contributed significantly to make January a real winner to follow, writes WADE PRETORIUS.

    It feels like forever ago that a ball was kicked by a PSL side and with Afcon now slowly underway, there are a good few weeks to wait until the FNB Stadium, Harry Gwala or the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium have their lights turned on and fans through the turnstiles. If you are like me and prefer watching your club side over national team outings – barring those occasions when Bafana qualify for a major competition – then attention is placed solely on what is happening north in England.

    Without the antics of Dimitri Payet, Paul Pogba and Diego Costa to name a few January 2017 was set to be one of the dullest month in recent memory. No major transfers, no matches as mentioned above, no new Bafana coach, no Keagan Dolly transfer to France or Greece and not even the customary axing of coach (watch this space, Augusto Palacios!).

    Payet’s refusal to play for West Ham as he sulks over a return to France is not something that happens regularly in the PSL. The English press and pundits have been all over him like a rash and have really given him a proper roasting. A quick Twitter search might have you worried about your search history with all the profanity dished out by his fans – essentially still the number one reason why player’s get paid their ludicrous salaries. These fans are the ones who sang his names in the stands and made him feel at home, made him feel loved. Now, as he ages a little more and his ego inflates just a little more, he wants out. A big ‘stuff you’ to the fans and the club that employs him. I say … sell him, for a price that matches his inflated self-worth that is. Do you really want that kind of character in the dressing room?

    Costa? Well, what’s the real story behind that? A fight over an injury leading to a bust-up with the trainer and then throws up a mega offer from China in spite. Whatever the truth is, the story – and all its variations – make for splendid viewing from afar as we wait in anticipation to see how it all unfolds. Will Chelsea’s march to the title be derailed? Will Antonio Conte buy a top name to replace him? That’s what makes the Premier League so very interesting.

    And that brings us to Paul Pogba. He really knows how to keep the fans engaged. And I’m not talking about his price tag, his latest haircut or his new #Pogba emoji. His performance against Liverpool was an absolute disaster. A bolder manager may have subbed him at half time after his shocking first 45 minutes. He was completely marked and managed out of the game (well played Jurgen Klopp and co.) and turned in arguably his worst display in his short career. Pogba’s nightmare was a curious one, just a few short days ago he was being lauded as the man who deserved his valuation, who was key in United’s mini-revival and one of the stars in their 9-game winning streak.

    How does a player that good, and he really is, have such a bad day? Was he mentally not there? Or just outmaneuvered by Klopp’s reds? It’s these questions that keep everyone talking, day after day until the next bit of action unfolds or transfer is sealed.

    With no local action to follow, thank goodness for the Premier League which is keeping the craving of football drama in January at bay …

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