Premier League

After a week off it was the return of crisp man Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer with Ruud Gullit. We were send off to Anfield first where the best the writers can do is a couple of weak Anchorman puns because Will Ferrell was in the crowd.

Now, it should probably be said that I was maybe a little mean about Swansea last week and their new boss Paul Clement, so it’s only natural that they would play my team the following week. I’m not saying my mean things inspired them but I imagine that Paul and the boys read Tales regularly.

So of course, they were excellent against a returning to natural state Liverpool. Fernando Llorente’s goals were excellent striker play from a World Cup winning forward combined with some standard procedure awful Liverpool defending. It even made Claude Makelele excited to be at Swansea. This being Liverpool, they did manage to get the fans hopes up with a lovely brace from Firmino but recent form is spluttery and stuttery and all kinds of words ending in “ery” I can’t be bothered to think up.

ALAN SHEARER IS RIGHT ALERT! There was even time for agreement with Alan Shearer in a rare moment of intelligence from the Geordie. Liverpool might just have an application problem. He followed that up by saying he was surprised Tom Carroll lasted the game because he’d only played one minute of football. Spurs had a reserve team Al…

Next we headed off to the Etihad where “I’m not good enough for you” Pep saw his City men take on Spurs whose demolition of Tony Pulis’ brick wall last week had reignited their ultimately gloriously doomed title bid. In all seriousness, with all the talk surrounding both teams, it was hardly surprising to see Spurs offering little then shooting themselves in the foot. It was Hugo Lloris who pulled the trigger this time with two horrible Sunday League errors. The first goal was a beautiful salmon impression, so silver linings Hugo. This being City though, everything seems to be going wrong, in part down to confidence but mostly down to Pep’s revolutionary one centre back formation. Turns out one man cannot do all the defending in one go. Pep was furious when Son scored the equaliser and even more furious when the BBC opened their mouth. Unbelievably, Yaya Touré was the voice of calm and reason for City.

Ruud Gullit blaming refs for diving is its own punchline while Alan said all he wants is refs to keep up and make the right decisions. Don’t we all?

To Stoke, where Manchester United attempted bore Stoke to death to claim a victory. Poor Juan Mata though, with his own goal and his miss that will keep some dodgy celebrity’s pockets lined in a football compilation that uses the same clips over and over again. Just imagine that miss with Danny Dyer screaming “criminal” over the top of it. The key moment was the arrival of Wayne Rooney, who was given a nice reminder that his next goal will be his 250th for United. Not like that’s foreboding or anything. Of course, Rooney would score in the last minute to rescue a point with a lovely free-kick. Has a record breaker ever been as unloved as Rooney? Probably not.

The awkward TV screen interview with Rooney was disappointing especially when Gary offered the softball, “what does it feel like to go past a legend like Sir Bobby?” The obvious response was, “bloody excellent Gary but you wouldn’t know that since you bottled that penalty.” Of course, Alan Shearer’s assertion that Rooney would play for £50 would be true if he hadn’t already held United to ransom at least twice for money. He will play for a minimum £200,000 though.

Next was the Hawthorns where Tony Pulis’ brick wall took on David Moyes’ chocolate fire guard. In good news for Sunderland’s youth team, there was a full debut for Honeyman. In bad news for Sunderland fans of a nervous disposition, Vito Mannone was starting again. Actually, Mannone couldn’t do much for the goals when Darren “Van Basten” Fletcher and Chris Brunt scored beautiful volleys. In fact, he was barely needed as Chadli hit the bar from six yards and Matt Phillips took Tony’s instructions to defend the net with your life too literally and sent a Rondon header wide. The only positive for the cheerful David Moyes is that Djilobodji has a lovely right hook.

Palace were next with a rare sighting of Loic Remy playing a game of football for Palace. Big Sam’s appointment hasn’t had the desired effect despite his attempts to introduce culture to the club. The French contingent are probably appalled at the pints of wine on offer at training. Everton were the positive side in this one with Palace’s real highlight being chairman Steve Parish looking bored as Mark Bright gave him his commentary on the game. Palace, of course, were furious when Everton scored late on after Jeffrey Schlupp did the injury hokey-cokey – in, out, in, out, please blow the whistle ref. Big Sam wasn’t happy so you know nobody’s getting a kebab tonight.

Then there was Middlesbrough where the hosts had been the most exciting team in the world with no goals in their league games all year. That changed quickly against Andy Carroll in his three-week hot streak before he gets injured. Of course, when your opponents refuse to defend then even Boro can score. Boro looked dangerous but the Hammers were able to get the win with even Jonathan Calleri scoring a goal. That’ll go down well in their WhatsApp group chat.

Bournemouth had Eddie Howe trying to shake off the embarrassment of losing to Hull last week while I had to double check who Watford played last time out. Bourne-alona contributed to their own downfall with the first goal but it’s fine when Adam Smith does his best Dani Alves impression to set up the equaliser. It was a point for Bournemouth thanks in no small part to Christian Kabasele picking the worst time to have a nap. There’s a comedy video edit in there.

And was this week’s Pan the Pundits. Chelsea were the real winners, according to Gary, as all their title rivals slipped up. Liverpool, Spurs and City all dropping points while United fans get angry at not being considered at all.

“We are in the title race!”’