Dear reader, that’s another Premier League weekend chalked off and what have we actually learned?
Not a great deal, really. I mean, we knew Man City like a lot of the ball. We knew Liverpool are at great, great risk of blowing it. We knew Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has restored everything at Man United included coming from behind to win. We knew Chelsea would recall Kepa and, of course, we knew that Tottenham were never really in a title race. Does any of that add up to any kind of funny football news? Probably not.
Peppy G called it ‘one of our best ever performances’ which was, frankly, rather odd. No disrespect to Bournemouth whose plan of keeping all 11 players in their own area for 90 minutes nearly got them the point they hoped for, but surely a great City performance would be dominating like that against a team trying to beat them on the front foot?
Had City played liked that and beaten, I don’t know, Liverpool or Real Madrid, then yeah, I’ll buy into it being a great performance – a word that gets thrown around like confetti in the modern football world. I’m just surprised that Pep didn’t call it a ‘top, top, top performance’.
Riyad Mahrez came off the bench and scored City’s winner. That’s not a bad substitute to be able to call on now, is it?
So in two Merseyside derbies this season, Liverpool have managed to fluke a single goal. Sadly for Liverpool, but probably not for the rest of the world who’ve been preparing for the day when Liverpool fans are able to bleat on about winning the league again, a 0-0 draw against their city rivals firmly put the ball back in City’s court. Which is a little ironic, given that if you’d asked Mo Salah to put the ball in City’s court yesterday he’d have probably hit it straight at Jordan Pickford.
All that wind clearly affected King Kloppo’s tactical thinking as he felt James Milner and Adam Lallana were the substitutes to unlock a stubborn Everton defence, leaving Shaqiri and Naby Keita on the bench. It’s no wonder that ballboy gave him a round of applause.
It does show us how far United have come under Solskjaer when Paul Pogba can miss a penalty and it hardly gets a mention. Even Graeme Souness failed to bring it up (I think, I admit I stopped listening to him after half an hour and switched over to an American channel). United didn’t even need Pogba’s goal to beat Southampton, they just needed Ole to turn the wheel slightly to the left, make a little tactical tweak and watch Romelu Lukaku have one of those days where he looks more professional footballer than professional boxer.
I am not entirely sure Mauricio Pochettino was at Wembley watching the north London derby. What gives him away? His claim that Spurs were better than Arsenal in ‘every area’ of their 1-1 draw. There’s no way anyone actually at the match could say that with a straight face.
Harry Kane scored again but Spurs failed to win, again. That’s no wins since Kane returned from injury. And, of course, had Yo-Pierre not tapped the weakest spot-kick of the season in the general direction of Hugo Lloris then Arsenal would have walked away with all three points.
Arsenal do sit above Chelsea, we should not forget – even though Maurizio Sarri’s men have a game in hand and victory in that would see them back in the Champions League places. They ruined Scott Parker’s big day in the west London derby by winning.
Chelsea were a bit meh but then they usually are at the moment and you don’t have to be that good to beat Fulham. Scott Parker, replacing the sacked Claudio Ranieri, is going to have to learn fast if he is going to perform a miracle at Craven Cottage. It does look like there’s only one relegation spot up for grabs.
Sarri spoke in the post-match conference of how he is talking to the club about plans for next season. Oh, Maurizio. You’re not the first and you certainly won’t be the last.
There can’t be many that think Crystal Palace will be involved in the latter stages of the relegation dogfight this season. Uncle Roy will have been delighted with the impact Michy-B has made since arriving at Selhurst and his partnership with Wilfried Zaha was particularly fruitful at Turf Moor. Sean Dyche, naturally, was amazed that his team didn’t win – choosing to ignore that fact that Palace scored three and his team didn’t.
Brendan Rodgers is back in the Premier League to remind us all what a bit of positivity can bring to the world. I reckon he’s already done the envelope trick to Kasper Schmeichel and all of them had the keeper’s name in them.
Jamie Vardy scored the first goal of the reign of the new Leicester manager for the fourth gaffer in a row but it wasn’t enough to stop Watford winning 2-1. Andre Gray got the last minute winner. I didn’t watch Rodgers’ post-match presser but I am guessing ‘delighted’, ‘character’, ‘confidence’ and ‘great opportunity’ came up once or twice.
West Ham beat Newcastle. Of course they did. The match was in London and Rafa’s teams don’t do London. I listened to this one on the good old radio. I tell you what, do it once in a while. It’s a treat. Especially if you are a fan of listening to people who know what they are talking about rather than that lot on TV.
Brighton really, really needed their win against Huddersfield who would be just as well to concede defeat in their remaining matches now and go on a long holiday.