Pick on the Pundits

New season, new name, same old nonsense.

Yes, Match of the Day is back and that means my irreverent look at the weekend’s premier football highlights show is also back. They started this week with a look back at the World Cup which, in real time, only finished about three hours ago. It highlighted all the Premier League stars you can expect to see from Eriksen to Salah; Kane to De Bruyne and… erm… Trippier to Lingard?

As a Scot, I then obviously timed just how long it would take Gary to mention England’s World Cup campaign. It was a staggering eight seconds, a time so fast Mark Pougatch has been crying himself to sleep ever since this aired.

I did appreciate the use of Don Henley’s ‘Boys of Summer’. That was a nice touch.

Anyway, Gary is joined this week by the main men for this season in Big Al and Wrighty.

Let’s get into the action:

Two Goals, One Schlupp

We started this week with the newly promoted sides in spending order. That meant Fulham were first who are doing their best to bankrupt themselves when they inevitably go down in May. So, after spending over £100 million on the former shortlists of Arsenal and Liverpool they found in the bins, what do they have? A dodgy defence.

Meanwhile, things have been fairly quiet over at Palace. The Wevolution has happened and you could say that they are full Wevolved. Bar soaking innocent news presenters on Deadline Day, it’s been business as usual at Selhurst Park.

What did I say about a dodgy defence? Get your bets on Fulham conceding more than 60 goals this season because they look ropey back there. Jeff Schlupp scored, opening up the possibility for a crude sub-heading pun.

When Zaha scored, I celebrated like only an unfunny man with a dream of using a crude pun can: by bringing my hands together like Mr. Burns and saying, “excellent”.

It’s OK though for Fulham because did you know Salvisa Jokanovic was meant to manage Watford in the Premier League before he was unceremoniously sacked? Oh, it was mentioned on commentary? Expect that to come up a lot.

Other positives for Fulham were Shahid Khan’s glorious moustache and that Cyrus Christie has a head shaped like a cylinder.

Other than that, this was your bog standard mid-programme fixture analysed fairly well by Wrighty and Al.

Don’t worry that’ll change.

Donkey Watch

To Wolves next who amazingly only bought about a quarter of the population of Portugal. Never has a teamsheet read so continentally but said team be based in a gloriously uncontinental place.

Everton, meanwhile, continue to be really f**king annoying. Not only do they spend meme amounts of money to try and claim a moral victory over Liverpool but they also appointed a manager I rate highly.

The real star of this show was Craig Pawson. A refereeing performance for the ages it was not. Along with generally baffling decisions, he chose to send Phil Jagielka off for a perfectly good tackle. Not to sound all Brexit but surely football is a contact sport and I’m sure the backflip Diogo Jota did after the tackle helped make up the referee’s mind. Shoutout Alan Shearer for saying it was correct by the letter of the law which was not only incorrect on his part but a hilariously awful stance he now has to maintain all season.

Expect it to change next week.

Other than that, I was on donkey watch because there were some out there. Willy Boly has shades of Cacapa about him at Premier League level, Raul Jimenez is on course for about a 5% conversion rate and Theo Walcott is shit.

Ruben Neves is pretty good though so there’s that.

On the basis of this game, Everton are all set for seventh and Wolves fourteenth.

Neil Warnock: England Manager

Fantastic, we got Neil Warnock next.

Poor Cardiff are crap. That’s the real story here. However, they’re destined for Derby territory if they stick with the modern-day Mike Bassett in charge.

On the whole, this game should be the end of the show but here we are looking at it now. The only real note I had about the highlights was that we can expect Neil Etheridge to join Watford for £10 million next summer.

No! Our Window Was Worse!

It was Newcastle against Tottenham next in the battle of who had the worse transfer window. (The answer, by the way, is Manchester United)

Newcastle had another summer of frustration as owner Mike Ashley has set about buying more retail chains than footballers.

Spurs, meanwhile, have begun to turn into mid-2000s Arsenal – nice to look at but you’d have more chance getting a passionate conversation from Harry Kane than them buying a player. It did mean I had to check the date of the Match of the Day I was watching to make sure it wasn’t last season’s game.

On the whole, it was fairly even which goes to show that no matter how often Rafa as to play Joselu, he can still work wonders. I picked them to surprise people this season and it looks like I’ll be right. Spurs are heading for the Europa League.

Who’s Worse Than Us? 

It was Huddersfield taking on Chelsea next.

Chelsea’s summer saw them take off most of it to watch the World Cup, conveniently forgetting they had a manager to sack and a squad to change.

Huddersfield overachieved and are now looking at everyone else and going, “who is worse than us?”.

Cardiff. The answer is Cardiff.

On this showing, that’s definitely the case.

Nobody Look At His Second Season At Norwich

Vicarage Road was the next stop where Brighton were the visitors. Both sides have flown under the radar and with good reason. Do you know how tough it is to sell sensationalist BS transfer rumours with Watford and Brighton as your keywords?

This game was fully in the dead zone of Match of the Day – you know, the point where you tap out a bit because it’s Watford against Brighton and you realise that five goal a season Andre Gray is still a Premier League player.

The good thing for Watford is that Roberto Pereyra is. Brighton players meanwhile will be told to avoid Chris Hughton’s second season at Norwich where he signed Steven Naismith and went down.

I’m Paul Pogba: Get Me Out of Here!

We finished at Old Trafford where Jose Mourinho gets sadder and sadder every day. He wanted to sign more players this summer but it turns out United’s owners have seen sense and told him you should have planned ahead, you absolute clown.

Leicester meanwhile… erm… they have Harry Maguire. I don’t really care about them, to be honest.

The big story surrounds Paul Pogba and the fact that he’s started to be arsed because he really wants to leave. I’d say that’s a bad thing but anyone who plays in that United side never really does that good, do they?

Take Luke Shaw. Turns out he’s actually not a bad player eh? Who’d have thunk it?

Anyway, United were a bit lucky in the end because if Leicester had a striker who was more inclined to score goals than drink Skittle vodka and Blue WKDs then they might have got a point here. Then again, Jamie Vardy did score the most Jamie Vardy goal ever the utter shi…

Next Week

So, what’s on tap next week? Well, expect Neil Warnock to play four four f**king two; Rafa Benitez to field his new signing Home Bargains and Paul Pogba to score 16 just so he can escape Jose’s clutches.