Today’s Tales: Who had money on Barton then? Other than Joey that is…

Premier League Roundup

Oh, so Dimitri was the problem after all was he? Who would have thought it, that with West Ham’s star man refusing to play that the Hammers would suddenly look like a team completely at home at the London Stadium and put in the kind of performance that had even the most fervent Big Sam fan going “oh, that’s why they sacked him for Bilic.” According to Slav, Payet had not just refused to play, he threatened to fake injury during the game if picked. Maybe that is what Andy Carroll has been doing all these years? The closest a human got to someone in a Hammers shirt on Saturday was the security guard detailed to man-mark the Payet mural on the wall. Palace were torn apart in the second half, Antonio taking on the Frenchman’s role and being instrumental. And what about Andy Carroll’s overhead kick? Careful Andy, you’ll pull a hammy doing that. Apparently he survived though, and nothing will beat that this weekend.

Who had money on Joey Barton scoring on his Premier League return? Other than Joey, of course. Burnley’s home form is something to marvel at and might just keep them in the Premier League. Barton has always considered himself a player more intelligent than others, and he went some way to proving that self-made theory by slipping the ball under the wall and past Fraser Forster in the Southampton goal. Burnley are 10th! Yes, 10th!

Mike Phelan was badly treated, young English managers should be given more chances, Hull haven’t got a clue, relegation certainties and who the actual hell is Marco Silva are all narratives doing the recent rounds. Oh, he won you say? What’s that? He out-tacticed Eddie Howe? Isn’t he one of those young English managers? Blimey. Hull beat the wonderfully inconsistent Bournemouth at the KCOM and, following their half decent attempt at Old Trafford midweek, look like they might actually have found a manager that knows what he is doing after all. I wonder how Mike is Phelan right now?

Claude Makelele wore the look of a man who had just realised how daft it was to leave the French Riviera to head to Wales. Paul Clement wore the look of a man that was thinking “but Carlo promised me I’d be a good number one.” Alexis wore the look of a man that was thinking “but it’s my ball and I want to play every single goddam minute there is.” Arsenal smashed Swansea who, clearly, didn’t help their cause by scoring two of Arsenal’s goals for them. Every time Olivier Giroud starts, he scores. Fact. Swansea are hoping that signing Tom Carroll might help them. They only have to look at Hull to see that buying up Tottenham off-cuts doesn’t always guarantee the lack of a relegation battle.

I’m surprised another fact, the one that tells us Harry Kane has recently become a father, has not been more widely reported. “”Who’s the Daddy?” being asked of the hat-trick getter on live television truly plumbed “journalistic reporting” to depths that not even The Sun or the Telegraph can dream of. Harry scored three, WBA returned back to the Black Country in a very black mood.

Sales of my “Hughes Out!” banners are likely to take a bit of a hit this week. Mind you, I could not have expected to make my millions the week after Stoke played Sunderland could I? Unsurprisingly Sunderland were woeful and Jermain Defoe still managed to score. Get yourself down to West Ham Jermain, end your career with a smile on your face. Still, Jeremain Lens will be happy. The Sunderland midfielder believes it will be much easier to leave Sunderland if they get relegated. I would imagine his wish might come true sooner than he thinks if he keeps saying that in front of David Moyes.

I have a theory about the whole Diego Costa thing, despite Antonio Conte assuring us “he is only injured.” I reckon that Jose was out to dinner with his agent, Jorge Mendes, and they played a game of truth or dare. Mendes chose dare, and Jose challenged him to get Costa to believe there was a Chinese club willing to pay him £36m a year. I bet Jose is having a right laugh about that at Old Trafford right now. People seem to think that the rumour has even more legs because Mendes is currently in China. People, people. Mendes is an agent. He has players he wants to move on because he gets a whopping big cut every time he does it. Don’t act all surprised that he is hanging around where the money clearly is, he isn’t stupid. Anyway, Chelsea didn’t miss Costa as they managed to beat Leicester 3-0. Claudio is tinkering properly now. This isn’t going to end well for Claudio. Please, please resign before your legacy is tarnished. Go out in a Champions League blaze of glory and call it a day then. Nobody wants to see you sacked.

Nobody wants me to comment on Watford and Middlesboro do they? No? Good. Moving on.

Sunday was all about Merseyside against Manchester, and it was a little one sided in the first game. What’s that Pep? The Premier League is tougher than you expected? Can you please tell that to all the Bundesliga and La Liga fanboys that are used to two, maybe three teams being able to actually win their league? I know it’s not John Stones fault he cost £50m. I know it’s not his fault he is still only 22. I know it takes time for a manager like Pep to come in and convey his very clever tactics to a new group of players in a tough league. I know all this. But it’s still very funny to watch them get turned over 4-0 by Everton of all people. Tom Davies is now my favourite Premier League player as he is young, English, Everton through and through and most importantly, he wears black boots. You can’t beat that. As for City? Never has a club had so much money and spent it so badly over the course of a decade. With their resources, no other club in England should be getting near them. Incredible, and United fans were saying earlier in the season that they hope Pep will get as many pelters as José if and when the tide turns. Oh, he will. Mind you, Pep shuffling from foot to foot in the post match interview was more KM covered than Yaya managed all day. After that performance, it is fair to say all doping charges against City will be dropped.

Pogba dabbed his way through the first half at Old Trafford. He dabbed his way to giving away a penalty with an outstretched arm. He dabbed his way to throttling Jordan Henderson. In fact, he dabbed his way to somehow avoiding two yellow card in the first 45 minutes. I don’t think José can claim to be unlucky any longer as United’s equaliser came from an offside Valencia slinging in a cross to the big man. No, not Zlatan but Fellaini. He hit the post and then the other big man, yes Zlatan, scored the equaliser and looked like he quite enjoyed it too. Not as much as Chelsea and Spurs enjoyed it however. Liverpool in shock failure to close a game out, and that is why they won’t win the title folks.

Chelsea lead it by seven points. With or without Costa, the title is theirs. Honest.