Heroes and Zeros

I watched the new Sunderland documentary over the weekend. In a nutshell, it charts the fall of Darron Gibson from a middling footballer to a dressing room pariah and a drunk driver. There’s something going on in the background about a football club getting relegated, but I didn’t pay much attention to it. No one missed Sunderland when they dropped into the Championship and no one will miss them when they’re in National League North. Except the people of Sunderland, of course. Watching them cry over a horribly mismanaged institution made me sad. But then, I saw Mourinho’s United crap their pants against Liverpool, and it cheered me right up.

Heroes

Liverpool: Do you know how to instantly arouse a Liverpool fan? Whisper this in their ear – “This could be your year.”

Xherdan Shaqiri: The Alpine Messi looked like a chunkier version of the real thing, thanks to United’s generosity and general uselessness.

Southampton: They needed that. Call it the classic new manager bounce, or simply Ralph Hasenhuttl unleashing a fire extinguisher on the dumpster fire Mad Mark Hughes started while he was in charge of Southampton. Either way, the Saints have taken the first step toward safety. Let’s see if they can march on.

Danny Ings: Two goals against a top-four team after a few injury-ravaged years, leading to a first win in five games. Just Ings things.

Eden Hazard: The Belgian magician’s value keeps on increasing with each goal and assist, but the fee Chelsea can demand from Real Madrid goes on decreasing. Should have put a ring on it when you had the chance, Chelsea.

Tottenham: Stumbled across the finishing line, just as the referee was about to put the whistle to his mouth.

Gabriel Jesus: It was a resurrection of sorts, after Guardiola left him out of his starting lineup for the visit to Chelsea. There are worse puns I could crowbar in here, so count yourself lucky.

Newcastle: If nothing else, watching Sunderland shoot themselves in the foot multiple times as they limped into League One must have put the fear of God in Mike Ashley. Fortunately for Newcastle, Rafa Benitez might still have a thing or two to say about that.

Luka Milivojevic: Nearby apartment windows are still rattling from the sonic boom of that thunderous Milivojevic shot.

WWW: Watford, Wolves and West Ham all won on the same day for – probably – the first time in the Internet age.

Zeros

Manchester United: Sixth in the table, 19 points behind Liverpool and just one point ahead of newly-promoted Wolves. Nuff said.

Jose Mourinho: Always the victim, never his fault.

Unai Emery: You know you’ve overdone the rotation bit when your side gets turned over by Southampton.

Fulham: Peak Paolo Maldini and Alessandro Nesta would struggle to overturn their goal difference of -26 now.

Claudio Ranieri: “I’ve made a huge mistake.”

Burnley: The thing about wasting time is, it hurts like hell when you get sucker-punched in the 90th minute.

Huddersfield: The winners of the inaugural mid-season ‘At least we’re not Fulham’ trophy.

Everton: Faced with arguably the strongest attack in the league, Marco Silva’s side offered as much resistance as a Chihuahua against a purse-snatcher.

Cardiff: Almost, but not quite there yet. Maybe in 2019, they’ll learn that they’re allowed to score before the 80th minute.

B & B: Bournemouth and Brighton are separated by 2 points, stuck in mid-table security, mediocrity and obscurity. That’s all I have to say about that.