Heroes and Zeros

The Nations League finally reared its ugly head during the international break and left 90% of people scratching their heads. Those who could make sense of it, just could not explain it to the rest of us, through no fault of their own. Or ours, for that matter. The Nations League is like art – very subjective and probably created under the influence of hallucinogens and alcohol. Thank the Lord, Premier League football is back.

Heroes

Liverpool: Sure, they almost surrendered two points right at the death. Never mind how Spurs were missing their first-choice goalkeeper. And let’s not look at the elephant in the room bearing the banner “Salah could be a one-season wonder.” When you do that, you join the masses planning bus routes for the parade and getting Liverpool jerseys with “Premier League Champions 2018/19” printed on the back. And so what if they’re not even top of the league? When has delusion ever cared for facts?

Chelsea: The team that is actually occupying top spot in the table in real life and not Scouse erotica. For the first time in a very long time, Chelsea are trying to play football instead of ruining it. Sarri, the serial smoker, surely seems to be doing something right.

Eden Hazard: The best player in the Premier League. If you do not agree, you don’t deserve football.

Bournemouth: Fifth in the table, towering above heavyweights such as Manchester United, Spurs and Newcastle United. Yes, the Geordies still think they’re a big club, and who am I to burst their bubble?

Ryan Fraser: Eddie Howe letting Fraser loose on giants such as Slabhead and Captain Morgan was the equivalent of the Road Runner running rings around Wile E. Coyote and leaving him looking like a blithering idiot. Morgan getting sent off was the punchline – the part when the coyote falls off a cliff.

Manchester City: On the comeback trail after losing ground to Liverpool in the title race. Nah, they’ve got no chance now. Too late.

Leroy Sane: Being dropped for one game was the kick up the arse that Leroy deserved. Scoring after just two minutes was Leroy’s way of admitting he needed that.

Wilfried Zaha: In the immortal words of George Costanza, “one mustn’t disturb the delicate genius.” Or put in a strong tackle on him a couple of times in 90 minutes. Eden Hazard looks at him through the holes in his blood-soaked socks, and laughs.

Arsenal: Meh. Next.

West Ham: So that’s what a win tastes like – the salty tears of Marco Silva.

Manchester United: Another Portuguese in tears, although this time, they were tears of joy. A bittersweet victory, which means he hangs onto his job, but he also gets to see Smalling’s awful hair up close in training every day.

Zeros

Tottenham Hotspur: Reverting to the “Lads, it’s Tottenham” days of yore with every dropped point.

Michel Vorm: The early Vorm catches no balls.

The Zero Wins Club: The Flop Four of Burnley, Newcastle, Huddersfield and Cardiff are collectively turning into an amorphous blob of misery, sliding slowly and painfully towards the Championship. The worst part is, at least one of these teams will survive and stink the place out again next season.

Newcastle United: Benitez will need a miracle to save them from being relegated this season. Or maybe some new players in January. I would pin my hopes on the miracle.

Neil Warnock: The Cardiff manager stuck to his guns and brought a blunt knife to a gunfight. And although he managed to scratch his opponent, getting knocked into the middle of next week was not how he expected the fight would end.

Fulham: Could have been worse. Could have been so much worse. Thankfully, they can only play City twice in the league.

Everton: The Toffees’ defence was as resolute as me on a healthy diet: they had zero control, were utterly hopeless and just ended up embarrassing themselves in front of everyone.

Watford: There goes the perfect start. Still, at least they’ve managed to gather 25% of their total points tally so early in the season.

Wes Morgan: His red card was just the referee putting him out of his misery.