Can We All Take A Moment To Fully Appreciate Mamadou Sakho’s Baffling 91st-Minute Backheel Against Chelsea?

Chris Wright

16th, October 2017

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On a weekend that saw Man City roll seven goals past Stoke, Kevin De Bruyne at his surgically-incisive best and Troy Deeney bulldoze over Arsenal’s cojones, Pies’ alternative highlight of the round came during stoppage time of Crystal Palace’s somewhat unlikely win over Chelsea at Selhurst Park.

The man responsible was Mamadou Sakho who, ever the maverick, decided the 91st minute was the correct and proper time to attempt a mesmeric piece of defending roughly two yards from his own goal.

Sakho and Palace were 2-1 up over the reigning champions, their first precious, precarious points of the league season at stake as the game entered its very final throes and suddenly: This…

What on Earth was the plan? Odd as it sounds, the best case scenario actually happened to transpire: Sakho’s ridiculous backheel cannoned off Charly Musonda at an angle that made it difficult for Cesc Fabregas to get his shot on target.

Had it not ricocheted off Musonda, the ball would have bounced loosely through the Palace box, positively begging to get thrashed into the back of the net.

No wonder past managers have despaired of Sakho. He’s a perfectly decent, international-calibre defender 99% of the time, but routinely undermines his talent by being a ticking liability. Everywhere. All the time.

He’s obviously not comfortable (or perhaps far too comfortable) with the ball at his feet, so why repetitively force/allow him to play his way out under pressure? It simply serves to invite unnecessary chaos and panic into the equation.

It’s certainly not fashionable, but just cinching up your britches and finding touch once in a while is good for the soul and, more often than not, the scoreline.