I love a bit of Monday Night Football, don’t you? Especially when there is a decent game on offer. All too often, Sky sell us two big teams who fail to deliver but last night we were offered two former Premier League champions who entertained wonderfully.
It was Arsene’s birthday yesterday (69, if you were wondering), and rather than going out for a nice meal with his family you just know he would have been in his office pointing at the TV, exclaiming ‘I said they could do that’ as Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick combined beautifully to score Arsenal’s third.
Unai Emery’s side have now won their last ten matches on the trot which, for a man taking over from someone 20 plus years in the job, is quite an impressive feat. Yes, yes, they’ve not beaten anyone very good yet but still. Arsenal looked very slick at the Emirates with Ozil as the skipper.
Alan Smith’s wry aside that ‘well, he’s a little different to Tony Adams’ was the moment of the first half but Ozil led by example and was granted the freedom of North London by Leicester City.
But, Whispering Claude did have a point when he suggested that Rob Holding probably should have been given a second yellow for his blatant handball in the box that would have given Leicester a penalty (which they might have even scored now Mahrez is at City). It might not have been ten-in-a-row after all.
Jose Mourinho has ruled himself out of a second stint at Real Madrid ahead of the Spanish giants getting around to the mere formality of sacking Julen Lopetegui. It’s good of Jose to rule himself out before Madrid rule him out, right? Considering the car-crash that was the backend of his reign in Spain, and considering the crisis Madrid find themselves in right now having gone from Champions League winners three times in a row to losing to Levante at home, I would love to see Jose back in La Liga. It would also kick into motion a sequence that might see the Grim Mourinho return to all the clubs from which he has been sacked. Now that would be fun.
At least people know who Marco Ianni is, following his goading of Mourinho at the weekend. He’s been charged with improper conduct following his part in kicking off a bit of a mele at Stamford Bridge. Jose has avoided any formal action, correctly, but has been reminded of his ‘responsibilities’ which are surely not conceding 96th-minute equalisers away to the league leaders.
To help his side not concede deep into injury time, Jose would like some new central defenders, please. Fiorentina have a bright young thing going by the name of Nikola Milenkovic, but at 21, he has to be filed in the same draw as Victor Lindelof marked ‘better not make that mistake again.’ At 27, Napoli’s Koulibaly is another option if only to stop his name being linked to every single club in Europe and, less likely, is Bournemouth’s Nathan Ake who, after a handful of good games on the South Coast, has caught the attention of Spurs meaning United are instantly linked to him.
Peppy G would like City fans to give a bit more of a damn about the club winning the Champions League. Pep, dear boy, 85% of City fans are still getting their heads around the fact that the club they followed in League One about 20 years ago are playing in the Champions League. Give them time to catch up.
Arsenal are willing to forgive Barcelona’s Malcom for binning them off for six months in Catalonia over the summer and rescue him from his La Liga hell for £30m.
It was the FA Cup First Round draw last night and the two romantic ties that immediately catch the eye are seventh tier Met Police being drawn to play League Two’s Newport County and Ryman Premier League side Haringey Borough getting AFC Wimbledon. That’s proper football, unlike this Premier League/Champions League diet we are forced to snack on in this day and age.
87 live matches on TV this week. 87!