One for the Road: Conor McGregor vs Jake Paul, Danny Drinkwater and Christmas spirit

  • Kobe Tong

Santa Claus has all the makings of a Jurgen Klopp player, let’s face it.

Just think of the heat map. The Opta statisticians would be going into meltdown on Christmas Eve as the big man put on an absolute clinic, covering every blade of grass from South Africa to North Dakota like James Milner after two pints of Ribena.

I’m sure the RSPCA would have something to say about the reindeers being propelled through the air at what must be the speed of sound, don’t get me wrong, but just imagine the job he could do in the heart of midfield.

Santa Claus as a footballer

You can see it now: N’Golo Kante getting wiped out in a head-on collision with the sleigh, Bruno Fernandes getting mangled between Blitzen’s antlers and the sack getting unloaded on… woah, sheesh, that’s a whole different newsletter.

Mrs Claus is clearly a world-class nutritionist, too. We’re talking about a husband who ploughs through a solid seven billion mince pies in one night and doesn’t have a swollen stomach the size of the Kop end.

I’d be vomiting all over the show by the seventh household, which, frankly, no child wants to wake up to and if my cat ate as many carrots as Rudolf, they’d be walking around with the body outline of the Partick Thistle mascot.


Merry Christmas

So, let’s make it happen: Georginio Wijnaldum could be leaving for Barcelona in January, there’ll be a vacancy in midfield and Santa will be fresh from peeling himself off the toilet after having more pastry exit him than a Mr Kipling factory.

Make the deal, Jurgs, you know it makes sens– oh bugger me, what am I even on about? Look, it’s Christmas, there’s only one week to go and 2020 has been so fatiguing that I’m clearly punch-drunk off the chaos of it all.

I’m sat here crying in front of tactical boards where there are 21 players, a fat bloke and eight reindeer sort of strewn across the centre circle – and no, I haven’t been able to find the expected goals of elves thank you very much.


One for the Road

So, while I peel myself out of the most Christmassy mental breakdown of all time, pour yourself ‘One for the Road’ here at GIVEMESPORT and crawl headfirst down the rabbit hole of never taking the world of sport too seriously.

Trivia of the week

Can you name the four managers Roque Santa Cruz played under during his Premier League career? Answers at the bottom of the newsletter.


Tim Sherwood’s ‘masterpiece’ commentary

Ah, ‘Tactician Tim’ himself went viral this week for essentially claiming that Liverpool had absolutely no chance of winning a corner, which Roberto Firmino proceeded to score from as the events unfolded before him.

But to be fair, we shouldn’t be surprised because after consulting a historian earlier this morning, we unveiled some astonishing facts about the former Tottenham manager dating as far back as 1912.

Turns out Sherwood thought the Titanic was impregnable to icebergs, Apollo 11 would crash into the moon, Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ would flop in the charts and Roberto Baggio would never miss a penalty.

The next time I fancy urinating £100 into the toilet, I’ll be sure to ask Sherwood for advice on the worse accumulator since I poured all the soft drinks into one cup at Five Guys. Check out his amusing moment here.


Dear Kobe

Letter: Olá Kobe. My name is José and I’m writing in after being robbed against my biggest rivals for the Premier League title and having it rubbed in my face by the opposition manager.

Response: Hi José. If you had looked any saltier after the match, I would have sprinkled you on my fish and chips – bet there’s fan fiction for that somewhere – because you can’t always get your way at Anfield.

I bet you try and flash the security guards a Stagecoach megarider instead of accreditation when you go through the turnstiles, only to press a red button and say ‘thank you, driver’ when you leave 90 minutes later.

If you were parking any more of a bus in front of the Kop, there would have been old people joining the subs bench for free, two teenagers blaring out Eminem and I would have ridden you all the way into Lincoln town cent — wait… 


That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised if Steven Bergwijn left his shooting boots on said bus because he produced the most heartbreaking woodwork moment since I buggered my bird box in Year 7 DT.

But I wouldn’t be complaining too much, José, because if Son had grown out his armpit hair, bought acrylic nails or even told a lie before the match, then he probably would have been offside for the equalising goal.

Actually, nah, who am I kidding? VAR gives Liverpool more of a shafting than Ollie Watkins did.

So, I’m afraid I can’t help you with this one, José, because trying to beat Liverpool at Anfield is a bit like taking on a chess grandmaster, when you’re dead. Honestly, they haven’t lost there in three years!?

The last coach to achieve a Premier League win at Anfield in the opposite dugout? Sam Allardyce… wait a second… somebody grab the defibrillator and reset the chessboard, we’re back in business.


Jake Paul vs Dillon Danis

Being the absolute foetus I am, I dare say, much to my shame, that I know a few things about the YouTube world and what’s going on with Jake Paul right now feels like a messed up episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians.

In fact, I’m so nervous about vaguely criticising him in this article when he’s DMing every wife and partner under the sun that I’ve actually given my girlfriend a one-way airfare to Honduras and a Nokia burner phone.

But now that my relationship is saved… it’s been good to see Paul getting a taste of his own medicine with Conor McGregor’s right-hand man Dillon Danis posing for a photo with his ex-wife Tana Mongeau.

It’s a killer tactic, there’s no doubt about it, so much so that I’m going to pull a vaguely-displeased face in a selfie with Gwyneth Paltrow if I don’t like the next Coldplay single. But first, check out Danis’ response here.


Dear Kobe

Letter: Hey Kobe. My name is Jake and I’m trying so, so hard to get myself a fight with one of the greatest mixed-martial-artists of all time – what can I do?

Response: Hi Jake. Ah, I see what you’re doing. It’s the classic Darwinian theory of being able to defeat something that would clearly beat the living s*** out of you by insulting its family and calling it a b**** ten times over.

I once stood on railway tracks and as the carriage came hurtling towards me at 100 miles per hour, it was the train that got run over because I said its sister vehicle looked like a hunk of scrap metal.

It’s a true story, one for the first chapter of my autobiography and also a lot like the time I won a wrestling match with a polar bear because I compared its fur to Phillip Schofield’s scalp.

So, do you know what, Jake? You must only be a few videos, cigar-puffing call-outs and drive-by interview crashes away from being able to ensure that getting what you wish for won’t leave you hospitalised. 


Because it’s a well-known fact that beating two YouTubers, one of which left you bleeding, and a former NBA athlete with no prior boxing training is enough to qualify you to mix it one of the fight game’s biggest badasses.

McGregor might have beaten Dustin Poirier, Max Holloway, Nate Diaz, Eddie Alvarez, Jose Aldo – bloody hell – but do you see AnEsonGib on his record? You’re damn right I don’t.

Yeh, geez, the more I think about it the more I think Paul must have some serious undercarriage going on because anybody with this much blatant disregard for their own safety must have testosterone pumped up to their eyeballs.

Anyhow, I better start firing shots at Mike Tyson on Twitter before I start feeling insecure about my manhood – has anybody got some s*** sunglasses and a pickup truck I can borrow!?


Danny Drinkwater sent off for Chelsea U23

Sigh. As much as I shout from the rooftops that ‘One for the Road’ doesn’t like to take anything in sport too seriously, even I can’t bring myself to make a joke about the latest downward spiral in Drinkwater’s free-falling career.

It’s hard to find any amusement or pleasure in a player struggling so much in such a short space of time, essentially stewing away in the bowels of Stamford Bridge after disastrous loan spells with Burnley and Aston Villa.

But there could be no greater indictment of Drinkwater’s plight than getting sent off and sparking a mass brawl for reacting furiously to a hefty challenge from Tottenham U23 starlet and 16-year-old, Alfie Devine.

In a year that saw him make headlines for headbutting Jota, it’s hardly a good look to be losing your head so shortly afterwards, particularly in a game designed to bring through youngsters. See the full incident here.


Football TV schedule

Friday December 18

Preston North End v Bristol City (Sky Sports Football)

Saturday December 19

Crystal Palace v Liverpool (BT Sport 1)

Southampton v Manchester City (Amazon Prime Video)

Bayer Leverkusen v Bayern Munich (BT Sport 1)

Everton v Arsenal (Sky Sports Main Event)

Fulham vs Newcastle United (Sky Sports Main Event)


Sunday December 20

Brighton & Hove Albion v Sheffield United (Sky Sports Main Event)

Arsenal Women v Everton Women (BBC Red Button)

Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City (Sky Sports Main Event)

Manchester United v Leeds United (Sky Sports Main Event)

West Bromwich Albion v Aston Villa (BT Sport 1)

Monday December 21

Burnley v Wolverhampton Wanderers (Sky Sports Main Event)

Chelsea v West Ham United (Sky Sports Main Event)

Tuesday December 22

Brentford v Newcastle United (Sky Sports Main Event)

Arsenal v Manchester City (Sky Sports Main Event)

Wednesday December 23

Stoke City v Tottenham Hotspur (Sky Sports Main Event)

Everton v Manchester United (Sky Sports Main Event)


Top of the stops: Premier League

1. Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa) – 6 clean sheets

=2. Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur) – 5 

=2. Edouard Mendy (Chelsea) – 5

=2. Ederson (Manchester City) – 5

=2. Nick Pope (Burnley) – 5

=2. Alex McCarthy (Southampton) – 5


Top of the shots: Premier League

=1. Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton) – 11 goals

=1. Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur) – 11

=1. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – 11

4. Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) – 10

=5. Patrick Bamford (Leeds United) – 9

=5. Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) – 9

=7. Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United) – 7

=7. Callum Wilson (Newcastle United) – 7

=7. Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) – 7


Trivia answers

Can you name the four managers Roque Santa Cruz played under during his Premier League career?

1. Mark Hughes

2. Paul Ince

3. Sam Allardyce

4. Roberto Mancini


Last orders

Congratulations, you’ve swigged down the tasty part of the beer and now you’ve reached the warm, horrible dredges at the bottom of the glass that you wouldn’t want to drink, but your friends will bully you if you leave it.

‘One for the Road’ will be sitting on ice until the week after next because apparently, something happens on December 25 that entails our aforementioned Klopp midfielder airdropping PlayStation 5s into every chimney on the planet.

We can’t possibly think what it is, but if it gives me more time to calculate how Claus and Thiago Alcantara would compliment each other against two deep-lying banks of four then it can only be a bonus.


So, sink your face into a turkey crown and stuffing, wrap that God awful present you found after five seconds of browsing on Amazon and pull your eardrums out as Mariah Carey rattles her vocal cords on the radio for the eight-millionth time.

Ah, who am I kidding? Have a bloody lovely time GIVEMESPORT readers, you deserve it after all the hideousness of 2020, so have a brilliant Christmas on us and keep safe while doing so. See you in 2021.

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