Heroes and Zeros

Have you watched that Manchester City documentary yet? If you haven’t, go and have a look, if only to shake your head in amazement at Fabian Delph lecturing Pep Guardiola about the “basics of football”. But if you’re more interested in watching it all unfold before your very eyes, keep an eye out for the red half of Manchester, where Jose Mourinho is in the middle of his personal “All Or Nothing” campaign in the Premier League.

While Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur are yet to play in a battle for relevance in the title race, the rest of the league carried on without them. And if you’re one of the unlucky sods who did not get a red card over the weekend (Seriously, what were you doing? We all got one), cheer yourself up with our weekly roundup of Premier League action.

Heroes

Liverpool: It took him a while, but Jurgen Klopp finally gave in to the notion of buying a defender who can defend and a goalkeeper who can, well, keep the goals out. This heavy metal brainstorm resulted in Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker being brought in, in exchange for a song from James Milner and a dance from Daniel Sturridge. Not really, they cost almost as much as the GDP of a third-world country. But thanks to these additions, Liverpool sit smug, atop a fledgling Premier League table. It’s up to the others to knock them off their perch once again. Or, if we were to believe the pundits, just hand them the title after three games.

Mohamed Salah 2.0: After being miraculously resurrected by those wizards in the Liverpool medical staff in the aftermath of Sergio Ramos ending him in last season’s Champions League final, Mohamad Salah 2.0 seems to have retained all the good stuff that made his predecessor such a roaring success.

Chelsea: Their football was akin to the bastard child of tiki-taka and Sarriball, with all the worst qualities of both. Still, three more points on the bored… sorry, board, is all that matters for now.

Watford: Three wins from three games, and third in the table! At this rate they’ll be safe by Christmas and then they can sit back and enjoy the rest of the season, to finish on 40 points.

Bournemouth: Seven points from their first three games and they were as high as fourth in the table for 24 hours. Eddie Howe has the Cherries’ supporters dreaming about a season without a stressful relegation battle.

Arsenal: They suffered a couple of setbacks in their first two fixtures, but ‘The Era of Emery’ got underway at last, with a pummelling of perennial punching-bags, West Ham United. Emery left out Mesut Ozil from his squad, with the German midfielder continuing his recent streak of taking the fight to everyone except his opponents on the pitch.

Marko Arnautovic: Scored the only goal for West Ham and limped off, thereby increasing his value to the club and their supporters by a multiple of 10. Poor Chicharito dipped his head in silver paint and he still won’t get that kind of attention. Or love.

Harry Arter: A grateful, two-time beneficiary of England’s decision not to adopt the VAR technology this season. He would also like to thank the referees who might not show him a red even if he snapped an opponent in half or strangled the life out of them right under the ref’s nose. He is this season’s Mr. Teflon.

Leicester City: The Curse of Claude Puel struck once again, as the Foxes offered his former club, Southampton, a glimmer of hope before snatching it all away in the final seconds. Hell hath no fury like a manager unceremoniously sacked.

Harry Maguire: Ol’ Slabhead’s got a way with the ladies AND with late goals, ya hear?

Aleksandar Mitrovic: His old club could sure use someone like him now.

Jorge Mendes’ Wolverhampton Wanderers: They didn’t win, but they did a lot of damage to the idea that Manchester City will walk the league. Wolves fans, time to ring out the “Super super super Jorge, super Jorge Mendes” chant.

Zeros

West Ham United: The Hammers spent close to £100 million in transfer in the summer. They have scored two goals and conceded nine so far. They have precisely zero points on the board. If that doesn’t make you smile, you must have a heart of stone. But wait, this is just the beginning. The real fun starts when West Ham executives crawl to Big Sam’s lair and beg him to save them from relegation.

Issa Diop: The own goal scored by West Ham’s summer signing followed a stellar plot-line, which consisted of him booting the ball up in the air and positioning himself expertly under it so he could whack it past his own goalkeeper.

Burnley: The chip on Ginger Mourinho’s shoulder just grew heavier by a few kilos. Another relegation battle may be on the horizon.

Joe Hart: I’m sure we all agree, Gareth Southgate has deleted Joe Hart from his phone contacts after watching him against Fulham.

Crystal Palace: They had their chances, but their inability to convert had Roy Hodgson scratching away at whatever was left of his face and tearing out his rain-soaked hair.

Richarlison and Adam Smith: Richarlison won the stupidity pageant fair and square by head-butting Smith, or at least making it look like he was trying to do so. Karma didn’t take long to restore balance, as Adam Smith – who collapsed as if shot by a sniper in the stands – also received his marching orders later in the game.

Cardiff City: Once again, Cardiff’s opponents had a man sent off and once again, Cardiff did bugger all with the advantage. Lady Luck won’t be too pleased with the way Warnock’s team keeps rejecting her advances; expect a flurry of red cards for Cardiff in the near future.

Mad Mark Hughes’ Southampton: Fire stations in and around Southampton were on high alert, with Mark Hughes looking like a man who could go up in flames any minute. The Saints had a man sent off in comical circumstances and lost all three points with the last action of the game. Mad Mark needs to start winning soon or he’ll be back in the wilderness by Christmas.

Newcastle United: Stuck on one point and with rumours swirling about club captain Jamal Lascelles having a row with Benitez. Oh, Newcastle United. We missed you.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg: He’s been watching too many Neymar videos, the silly sod.

Manchester City: It was only a draw, but their cloak of invincibility has been torn to shreds by Wolves.

Refereeing: Specsavers is having a blowout sale right now, with 50% off on your order. Just apply the code – REFEREEISBLIND.