OK, you got me. I didn’t turn up last week. I refused to come off the bench as I didn’t think I was match-fit enough to put in my usual level of performance for you all.
Yeah, that level of performance.
Brighton vs West Ham United
Wait a minute. It says here that ‘West Ham are quite good now!’ Is this true? They drew with Chelsea and they beat Manchester United? Well, I accept that being the first team to stop Sarriball winning is worth shouting about but beating United? Isn’t that pretty normal, nowadays?
Now, a cynic would say it is amazing how the Hammers suddenly look half-decent now that Jack Wilshere is on the injury list. And I am a cynic so, it’s amazing how West Ham have suddenly been transformed since Jack hurt that ankle again. I wonder if anyone is thinking ‘I told you so’ at Manuel Pellegrini about the three-year deal he insisted was dished out to Wilshere.
Now, I’ve tried to get into the habit recently of giving you a bit of chat from each manager from their pre-match pressers but I have nothing here from either Pellegrini or Chris Hughton so we will have to go in blind.
It’s on TV, so I’d imagine that Glenn Murray will play for Brighton and West Ham’s little run will come to a halt because people think they might actually win.
Brighton 1 – 0 West Ham
Burnley vs Huddersfield Town
Oh, this is the jewel in the Premier League crown this weekend, no?
Burnley have improved, not that they could get worse, and Huddersfield, well they don’t know where the goal is at home so maybe they do away?
I’d love to say this will be 0-0 but I think Burnley will win, to nil.
Burnley 1 – 0 Huddersfield Town
Crystal Palace vs Wolves
It’s almost as if Nuno is aware of the hit-rate of managers getting sacked shortly after winning a Manager of the Month award;
“I think it reflects on the players and the way they’ve been playing, the way they’ve been working. It’s an honour of course, but at the same time, it gives us more responsibilities. Because of the standards, we want to keep on improving them”
Ah, yes. The players deserve the praise because that means it is down to them. How many teams fall away after their boss wins that award? Wolves will be hoping that Nuno doesn’t actually get the trophy for September.
Uncle Roy was in his usual inspiring form talking up Palace’s chances;
“All we can do is prepare the best we can, to win the game. The game will be what the game is”.
Crystal Palace 1 – 1 Wolves
Leicester City vs Everton
All eyes will be on the new England call-up, James Maddison, for this one. Everton slumped out of the Carabao Cup in midweek meaning life hasn’t started perfectly for Marco Silva up at Goodison Park.
Richarlison scored with his first three shots on target, got sent off for his first nut on target and has done very little since returning.
Leicester to make life even worse for the Toffees, methinks.
Leicester City 2 – 1 Everton
Tottenham Hotspur vs Cardiff City
You think the Poch has got the heat on him after a pretty average run of form for Tottenham? That’s nothing compared to Cardiff boss Neil Warnock. That said, Warnock would probably be quite relieved if he got the chop this side of the transfer window.
He said in today’s press conference;
“Vincent [Tan] is as difficult as any owner but his heart is in the right place and he wants to do well. If the time came when he felt someone would be a better option I wouldn’t have a problem with that. Every big agent nowadays is pushing managers’ names and I’ve already heard two or three been mentioned for my job. What’s the worst scenario? I could go away with [his wife] Sharon to Italy or somewhere and have a nice, relaxed Christmas”.
Nice one, Neil. Perspective, I think we call that.
The Poch seemed more focused on the fact that Bobby Martinez had knackered up Thomas Vermaelen than talking about how bad Hugo Lloris is in goal and how good Lionel Messi is at football. Therefore, I reckon Spurs might slip up again here.
Tottenham Hotspur 1 – 1 Cardiff City
Watford vs AFC Bournemouth
Javi Gracia has put a standard Watford spin on their sudden regression to their midtable mean;
“Our feeling and the stats show that we are doing good work, not only looking about the results. We have put in good performances whether we are winning, losing or drawing in different games”.
Unfortunately for Javi, the one stat the Watford owners are known to be most interested in is points in the table and Watford have stopped picking them up.
Mind you, Bournemouth are often the side you want to meet when you need a little boost.
Eddie Howe, when he’d stopped talking about a stadium that isn’t even going to happen for another two years came out with this pearl of wisdom;
“The importance is to deliver another good performance. We know we’ll have to do that again this weekend to get a result.”
I know, insightful stuff.
Watford 1 – 1 Bournemouth
Manchester United vs Newcastle United
Well, Jose does like to be a bit different. And by different, I don’t mean in terms of evolving from a footballing sense of the word. God, no. Jose is still playing football like it is 2005 (though yes, I accept he has won a few things since then).
Today’s Jose different was an 8 am press conference that lasted precisely four minutes which is, I’d guess, four minutes longer than United’s push for the title this season.
The Guardian reported these as the best bits;
Why are things not working as you’d like?
JM: For many different reasons.
Can you tell us those reasons?
Would you say that United’s recent results are unacceptable for a team of their size and ambitions?
JM: Yes, I accept
Are the fans assured that you’re doing everything that you can to try and turn this around?
JM: No answer. Press conference ends.
Thrilling stuff, I am sure you will agree.
Mou did string enough words together to make it clear that United losing to Newcastle would be ‘unacceptable’ which really does sound like he is going to pick a team that could get beaten and he will hope they do get beaten and then hope he can get sacked.
I’d love to think that Jose is playing on with the whole ‘third season’ thing for a bit of a giggle.
On the flip side, Rafa is now ‘100% confident’ that Newcastle will stay up this season following dinner with Mike Ashley during the week. It is believed that Ashley has offered Rafa an undisclosed pot of money to spend, to take the players on holiday and give them a handsome bonus if they don’t go down. Job done then.
Manchester United 0 – 0 Newcastle United
Fulham vs Arsenal
Fulham are not exactly making the entrance to the Premier League everyone expected this season whereas Arsenal are learning to win by playing badly (rather than lose when playing OK under Arsene).
The Gunners have won eight on the spin and there is no reason to believe it won’t become nine at Craven Cottage.
Fulham 1 – 4 Arsenal
Southampton vs Chelsea
The obvious question to ask underfire Southampton manager in his press conference is whether he thinks Eden Hazard is the greatest player ever. Obviously.
Hughes responded quite sensibly, actually;
“Debates of that type are probably better made when he’s a little bit older and got grey hair like me and then everybody can discuss the merits once everybody’s finished. He’s an outstanding player. You look at his stats this year, he’s had an impact in almost every game he’s played”.
I agree with Sparky, for once.
Sarri just wants to see more tears from Morata as he prepares to pick his proper team at St Mary’s rather than the team he picked against Vidi.
Southampton 1 – 3 Chelsea
Liverpool vs Manchester City
Pep spoke first on this one and wasn’t giving much away, predictably. When asked whether Liverpool had worked out a way to beat his side he responded with;
“Yes, but we won the Premier League”
Now, now Pep. Easy tiger.
Manchester City’s boss did agree that Anfield was quite a special place but then shocked us with the startling news that;
“Points at Anfield are worth the same as anywhere else”.
Well, it is true.
Having seen Naby Keita taken off in the defeat to Napoli Liverpool fans were worried he might be out for a while. Not so! Klopp confirmed he could play on Sunday.
The big question is, does Jurgey lad know what went wrong against Napoli and has he been able to fix it?
“Yeah, and yeah”.
That’s us told then.
Enjoy the weekend action and remember, gamble responsibly or not at all!