As the title suggests, this week belonged to James Milner. Ergo, this is my homage to the man who has probably been the best player in the Premier League this season. Now, he is translating his brilliant performances in European competitions.
The problem with Liverpool recently has been a succession of downright awful goalkeepers and defenders. You know, the likes of Simon Mignolet, Dejan Lovren, and Paul Konchesky to name just a few. This season, they are blowing teams away. And the same could have been said on Saturday at Spurs, if it wasn’t for the hugely deceptive looking 2-1 scoreline.
If Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane had been more selfless, the Reds could have bagged five goals in each half. Attention then switched to the Champions League, and PSG were in town. Although, Neymar wasn’t. The Oscar may be what he’s craving for in the future, but for now, he could try trying out the team sport football and help out his defenders once in a while.
In light of Roberto Firmino’s grim looking eye injury against Spurs, Daniel Sturridge made his first Champions League start since 2012, and repaid Jurgen Klopp’s faith by heading Liverpool in front. At 2-2, PSG thought they had earned a draw before Firmino came off the bench to fire in the winner and celebrate by clutching his left eye. Iconic.
Wilfred Zaha was visibly frustrated by the lack of (zero) protection received from referees following the 1-0 win at Huddersfield, a match in which his mazy run allowed him to curl a beauty into the top right-hand corner. And he has a point. It’s easy to say all players should get protection. Yet when so many players build reputations of repeatedly attempting to con referees, it makes the referee’s job impossible.
It’s fair to say that Zaha doesn’t do that because he’s good enough not to. The same goes for the third best player in the world, Eden Hazard (Try to change my opinion). The Belgian effectively beat us (Cardiff) all on his own on Saturday, no matter how many times we kicked him. If it wasn’t for Hazard scoring his hat-trick, erm, we still would have been beaten. Chelsea may have beaten us 4-1, however, we scored a goal AWAY from home. I think we were the real winners there.
It turns out that Chelsea don’t really need Hazard anyway. On Thursday night, they travelled to Greece to take on PAOK in the Europa League. And Willian’s goal was enough to seal the points, despite dreamboat Alvaro Morata having one of his usual disasters in front of goal. It might sound harsh, but whenever a club’s number 9 just can’t seem to score, the term to describe this action should henceforth be known as ‘Having an Alvaro Morata’.
Harry Kane himself is currently having an Alvaro Morata. Tottenham had the chance to get back to winning ways against Inter Milan at the San Siro. A looping strike from Christian Eriksen in the second half meant all Spurs had to do was hold on.
This is Spurs we are talking about, so they inevitably ‘Spursed’ it. An 85th-minute stinger from Mauro Icardi and a stoppage-time header from Matias Vecino condemned Pochettino’s men to another defeat.
Arsenal have seen an upturn in results lately. A 2-1 win at Newcastle courtesy of Granit ‘I don’t score tap-ins’ Xhaka and Mesut Ozil set them up nicely for their Europa League home game against Ukrainian side Vorskla. The Gunners came through the test admirably by scoring four goals, although they still let in a couple of goals on Bernd Leno’s debut. It wouldn’t be an Arsenal match if their defence weren’t s***.
Both Manchester clubs found a win last weekend in the Premier League. City overcame Fulham 3-0 where Leroy Sane came to the fore, and United held on at Watford to ensure a 2-1 win, despite Marcus Rashford’s sending off.
They did have contrasting fortunes in the Champions League, however. French side Lyon visited the Etihad, where it appeared that over 20,000 fans came dressed as empty seats.
To everybody’s surprise, they picked up a surprise 2-1 win.
Perpetual Pogba hater Graeme Souness will no doubt hate me for reminding him about this but, World Cup winner Paul Pogba scored twice and Anthony Martial got on the scoresheet as United coasted past Swiss side Young Boys 3-0 to ensure a winning start to their campaign.
We all know by now that David Moyes isn’t exactly Marcelo Bielsa or Sir Alex Ferguson. At West Ham, he didn’t do much right. To his credit though, whatever he did to transform Marko Arnautovic into the player he is today, means he is ACTUALLY better than Bielsa or Fergie. We just don’t know it yet, and neither does he. Arnautovic was instrumental in the Hammers 3-1 win at Everton. Completely different player to the one I saw at Stoke.
In other news, Tony Blair, one of the most inept Prime Ministers that Great Britain have ever had, could be getting involved in overseeing matters in the Premier League, if the reports by the Daily Mail are to be believed. No need to worry folks, it is considered very unlikely the former PM will become the next chairman of the FA.
Have a great weekend.