The day after New Year’s Day was a good day to be Chelsea and Antonio Conte. They didn’t even need to play to come out of Monday as winners. Liverpool went to the Stadium of Light with Kloppo’s taunt of “it must be annoying to win 13 straight games and still have a team only six points behind you.” If I were to whack an image in this column right here, right now it would probably be Conte sipping a glass of wine with a raised eyebrow and the bubble saying, “Really? Tell me more about that…” Liverpool led twice against Sunderland but seemed to suffer from the need to concede penalties at regular intervals. And one thing Sunderland can do well is sit back and watch Defoe take any chance to add to his goal tally for the season. This point won’t save Sunderland, but come the final whistle on Wednesday night it might be one naive away day too many for Kloppo’s troops. Oh, Sturridge started. Sturridge scored. Sturridge danced. Sturridge got injured and limped off. Standard Sturridge.
Fernandinho has more red cards than some strikers have goals this season, but despite having to play most of the game with ten men City found a “solution” and won the match. It turned out the “solution” was to put Aguero on the pitch. In one of the more baffling team selections of the day, Pep felt Sergio needed another 45 minutes rest having been suspended for most of December. Sergio came on and scored from the acutest of angles. Pep however, his remaining hair is going even more grey and what is left of that is going more bald with the stresses of the Premier League. In a somewhat tetchy post-match interview the Spanish manager alluded to the fact he was already on the retirement runway and his plane might be taking off sooner than most of us expected. Well, if you will insist that Kolarov is a centre back.
Mike Dean is definitely the kind of guy that would be a traffic warden in another life. Not just any old traffic warden either. He would be the kind of traffic warden that would be standing next to your car as your ticket ran out, and then as you ran back to your vehicle a mere two minutes late he would be slowly writing out the ticket whilst tapping his watch. Mike Dean and his support act, “The Deanettes” managed to get pretty much every decision wrong in United’s 2-0 win over West Ham. Firstly, the red card was bizarre to say the least considering (yes, I know I sound like a broken record) some of the tackles that have been ignored this season. If Fegouhli had got there a fraction of a second earlier would Phil Jones have got a red? Who knows, it depends what number Deano pulled out of the hat no doubt. José has, rightly, suggested some decisions have gone against United this season. Well I think it is fair to suggest that they are very much back in credit now after Zlatan’s goal was wrongly called onside. But no doubt Zlatan would suggest that he is never offside and that offside is Zlatan or something. Or just get people to eat their balls.
Middlesboro and Leicester was always going to end 0-0, especially with Vardy and Slimani missing for Leicester. Actually, Vardy could have played and it would have probably still been 0-0. West Bromwich Albion came back from a goal down to win 3-1 and, would you believe it, each of their goals came from either a corner or a cross to a big man. I know, 2017 hasn’t rung all the changes after all. Yesterday also taught me that I really care very little for either Everton or Southampton, but in the interest of moderate fairness Everton won 3-0.
Off the pitch Burnley’s Steven Defour hinted that he could be persuaded to swap Turf Moor for anyone in China, especially as Sean Dyche only lets him play home games and he is now having to share a room with Joey Barton who has officially rejoined the club. John Obi Mikel is made of sterner stuff though, he is likely to move to crisis club Valencia rather than pick the up the incredibly easy money in the Far East.
Big Sam is still bitter about being sacked by England. He has called for whoever organises the fixtures at the Premier League to be sacked and, probably, pointed at anyone else in the room and said they should be sacked too. Sam, the Premier League are not the FA mate. Don’t take it out on them.