Welcome to Heroes and Villains, a place where we look back at the Premier League action from this weekend and try to figure out where our favourite footballers would fit in the storytelling universe. It would be super boring to just list a bunch of people under those two categories, so for this, we will be incorporating more than just the protagonist/antagonist labels.
As a part of my journalistic duties, I always do a TON of research before writing a piece. I reached out to Brighton & Hove Albion last spring for their thoughts on the weekends’ match against Watford. Here is a quote from a totally real member of the board whose name I can’t reveal for confidentiality reasons or something: “We suck. Everyone in the world knows we suck. We should be playing in League One. You should bet everything you own on Watford this weekend. We need a hero to save this club and I don’t know if we have one. No one outside of this town can even name a single player on this team. We are a joke”.
A week later, everything has changed.
Enter POTT-MAN & THE DUNKER.
Has English football ever seen such a dynamic duo?
Probably. But it is quite clear that Brighton & Hove Albion have found their saviours in the form of freewheeling, progressive manager, Graham Potter, and 27-year-old local lad, Lewis Dunk.
We should all be eternally grateful to Potter as it means we no longer have to watch a Chris Hughton-led side bore us to death each week. Since taking over, he has switched up the formation, made more aggressive substitute changes, and pushed the squad to have a belief of belonging in the Premier League. Spoiler alert: they don’t.
Dunk, who took over the armband for Albion this summer despite links to Leicester, impressed both defensively and offensively. Dunk’s long ball which led to the Seagull’s 3rd goal was sensational. His accolades are piling on now – 90min’s fantasy defender of the week and a place in BBC’s Team of the Week. At this rate, he will be the most expensive player in football history come the January window!
Sure, it was only Watford. But don’t sleep on the POTT-MAN & THE DUNKER. They are ready to disrupt the entire hierarchy of the league by finishing in 14th.
The hairstylist for Arsenal.
Just the absolute definition of evil. Look at the harm this psycho has unleashed upon the Earth in the last month.
Think of the children being brainwashed as they watched the Gunners boring as hell victory against Newcastle United. Millions of youngsters are showing up to the barbers begging for this atrocious Pierre Emrick-Aubayameng cut. “Hi, I’d love this trendy look but please make sure my hair looks extremely thin and extend my forehead to the top of my scalp so people know I should be bald if I didn’t have millions”.
For a split second I thought this was aubameyang cos of the hair hahahah https://t.co/Fdbxugi31p
— seán (@seanocathain_) August 11, 2019
Arsenal can run a line-up of the most disgusting looking players at each level. Right when you get by Aubayameng and the horror of bleach blonde Ozil, you end up face-to-face with TWO Sideshow Bobs. It’s like the most satanic version of those mirror mazes at a carnival.
Arsenal now has hair for days ? pic.twitter.com/7dpycAGGsG
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) August 8, 2019
And just wait until this national nightmare returns:
Can't stop thinking about Bellerin's hair on the front cover of the new @MundialMag. Goodness. pic.twitter.com/tSo3djSyRp
— Carl Anka (@Ankaman616) August 29, 2018
It seems the only way they will be able to win a match this year is by scaring their opponents. Actually, I now understand Emery’s tactics for once! His evil hooded Sith Lord look this weekend should have given me a clue!
M Knight Shamalayn Twist
Ok, this isn’t doesn’t exactly fit the article’s theme since M. Knight is a Hollywood filmmaker but he is well-known for his wild and out of nowhere shocking moments in the majority of his films. You can argue that he hasn’t made a decent movie in years but The Sixth Sense is so damn good it makes up for almost all the cinematic blunders this man has created. Plus, when you have your own meme, you clearly deserve a category in this article, which in all honesty will only be read by my mother.
Anyway, the shocking twist happened during the Tottenham-Aston Villa match on Saturday. Sure, it was a slight shock when John McGinn scored on the counter, giving Villa the lead 9 minutes into the match. I guess it was a twist when Christian Eriksen entered for Spurs and the team immediately scored 3 goals in 26 minutes. But an M Knight Shamalayn twist is bigger than either of these things. It is something so wild that it shakes you to your absolute core. It makes you re-think your entire life and the choices you have made.
The mindblowing change; Jack Grealish looked ugly and Harry Kane looked handsome.
Grealish is a super attractive dude. When I first saw him, I thought I was watching a Zac Efron in a cute family-friendly sports movie on the Disney Channel. Now he looks like my neighbour from college who wore Jamaican sweatshirts and listened to Citizen Cope while surrounded by a cloud of smoke every day, channelling James Franco in Pineapple Express. I guess this is the only way one can get through the struggle of living in Birmingham. What a transition.
nice candid shot of Jack Grealish pic.twitter.com/G3b4XGb2SE
— L.A. PEACH (@lapeachtheband) August 14, 2019
I can’t put in words how shocking this is.
I just can’t. Normally, Kane looks like a human version of the Easter Island statues.
Harry kane reminds me of one of those easter island statue's #TOTLIV pic.twitter.com/iFQmBasqVj
— ★Stu Mäc★ (@stumac8) October 17, 2015
Extremely-long and unnecessary bad guy monologue that backfires
Liverpool are cooked, my friends. The season is over. It really is.
There was a very small part of me that thought that Jurgen Klopp could bring back a completely unimproved team and miraculously win the title this year. All it took was something called goal differential to show me how wrong I was.
This seems dramatic but that goal scored by Norwich’s Teemu Pukki in the 64th minute lost the league for Liverpool. You can’t allow goals like that when you are trying to keep pace with City, who a day later thrashed West Ham by 5.
Here’s the stat you heard over and over again all weekend: Liverpool allowed 12 shots at home, more than any game in the 2018-2019 season. To Norwich City. Oh, and their goalkeeper’s leg muscles ripped on a routine goal kick.
Liverpool time of death: 9th of August.
The boys from Merseyside are decent footballers, they certainly deserved a trophy last year. But they strutted into this season like they were blessing us with their presence, like some one-of-a-kind game-changers in sporting history.
Liverpool are kind of like Killmonger from Black Panther. Engaging and cool personality, flashy and powerful in battle. Sure, he won an important victory to temporarily usurp T’Challa but in the end, he ultimately lost his position, home, life, and identity from his shortsightedness.
Tough look, guys.
Fantastic object of power
In most fantasy stories, there are special objects that propel our heroes to victory. For Harry Potter, he needed the help of Godric Gryffindor’s sword, an external item left to him by his mentor Dumbledore. Sometimes the character just needs to look inside themselves for a special quality they didn’t realize they had – like Samwise Gamgee finding the courage to help his friend Frodo in The Lord of the Rings. But the best type of fantastic object starts internally and becomes external – case in point, Ole Gunnar’s chin beard.
Sure, it is just a few wisps growing from his butt chin, but there is dark magic in those strands of hair. Has anyone ever seen “The Baby-Faced Assassin” with facial hair before? I haven’t.
Check out this post-match interview and feast your eyes on the peach fuzz in all its glory.
When I think of Ole, I go back a few months to visualize a confused, cleanly-shaven man who resembles a small lizard, suffering his way through disappointing performances and failing to live up to expectations. He was the critic’s choice to be the first manager sacked in the 2019-2020 season, with Ed Woodward doing him no favours in the transfer window (at least on the offensive side of the ball).
But here we are. A dominant 4-0 victory over Chelsea and no one has any explanation how it happened. Before you know it, the chants at Old Trafford will be changing from “Ole” to “Goat-taaay” (like goatee – ok, this joke sucked).
Superman is easily the most powerful of superheroes. He doesn’t have a physical weakness so the creators had to introduce some alien crystal that somehow makes him sick. When you are turning on a Superman movie, two inevitable things are going to happen – 1) Superman is going to win & 2) Superman is going to be a boring dude.
It’s not that City plays boring football. It is dynamic and fluid and beautiful and explosive. But at a certain point, we are all going to get a bit sick of things being so predictable. It gets frustrating being able to predict the result before a match even starts, even when you are so dynamic you change the way the sport is played forever.
Raheem Sterling earned himself a hat trick displaying a flurry of skills during City’s 5-0 victory against the Hammers. He looked great. An obvious front-runner for this season’s Golden Boot award.
Yet, it was all so…obvious. Even when this team deals with turmoil, like one of the best young attackers in the league tearing his ACL, they can simply sub in former-Leicester City star Riyad Mahrez, a player Pep barely even used in his first season at the Eithad after paying 77mil for his services. It was cool watching this team perform at a record-setting pace over the last two seasons. But it’s just annoying at this point.
Maybe I’m crazy but I like my superheroes with some noticeable flaws and an engaging personality. So congratulations City on this most backhanded compliment.
Until next week, just remember that we can all be a hero. Except you, Steve Bruce. You suck.