The stage was set in Stoke. People were turning up purely to see the record broken. How would he celebrate? Would he even get a game considering how infrequently he played all season? Would it be a moment that could never be forgotten and where, finally, the public accepted he could play a bit? Sadly Peter Crouch let the fans down and was unable to score his 100th Premier League goal, therefore denying the world his robot celebration. Fortunately, Rooney did give them something to remember, quietly and certainly without any commentary fuss slipping past Sir Bob’s Manchester United goal tally. The free kick was rather good and spared Juan Mata’s blushes as it was the Spaniard’s own goal that had made it look like another bad day out for Jose’s men. See, Jose? This is what happens when you ask Juan to do some defending. He get’s all confused. Rooney put out a tribute video after the game which, to be honest, looked like I’d knocked it up on Powerpoint. Come on Wayne, it was going so well. We all have to wait just that little bit longer now to see the big lad move around very slowly with creaky limbs. Yes, I do mean Crouchy’s celebration and not his general performance levels.
I have a theory, which I suspect some of you are debunking before I have even explained myself. What if it is the Etihad that is turning goalkeepers into shells of their former selves? We can all agree that Hugo Lloris makes one, maybe two mistakes a season so to make them both within ten minutes of each other against City? It’s got to be the ground itself. I know Bravo agrees with me. If Lloris had made anymore errors there was every chance Pep would have offered him a contract there and then. Pep’s little “I am not worthy of the great, historic club that is Manchester City” routine nearly worked as they found themselves two goals to the good thanks to Hugo’s charity and then it happened again. The critical moment that could have seen City out of sight came and went as the most blatant push in the penalty area ever was seen by everyone in the ground, bar the most two important people. Those that can actually give the penalty. Yes, they missed it and Spurs seized the game back in a way that suggests they have relocated some backbone since crashing out of the Champions League. Jesus was risen from the substitutes bench but the linesman was clearly an atheist, ruling the Brazilian debutant’s effort offside.
It’s getting to the point where someone needs to ring the dilly ding, dilly dong bell to Claudio Ranieri. He’s tinkering and it is not working. Back three’s lead to a Leicester defeat, midfield diamonds lead to a Leicester defeat, everything leads to a Leicester defeat. They are in proper trouble and it might be time for Claudio to step aside and let someone save them from the drop. Does that sound over the top? Maybe, maybe. But once that Champions League adventure is ended by Sevilla, can you really see them remembering how they got there in the first place? Ranieri told the fans to blame him after the game. Claudio, I think they are one step ahead of you.
David Moyes got everyone in Sunderland up for their continued battle against relegation by announcing that “new signings won’t make any difference!” There you go Moysey, yet another way to knock another 5000 off the next home gate. Well done. He’s right though, and Sunderland lost to WBA. Moysey’s team showed very little fight. Well, unless you count the right hook Djilobodji landed on Darren Fletcher.
Hang on, wasn’t Big Sam supposed to be saving Palace? They still haven’t won under the former England manager and unless they get going soon he might lose his record of never being relegated from the Premier League. Imagine being Allardyce if he lost the England job and that record all in the same season. I don’t believe even Smug Al could have managed that. Everton won again and suddenly all is well in Ronald’s world.
I am no football expert, as I often remind you, but even I know that if you manage to lose at home to Swansea then I wouldn’t be booking any open top buses for the end of May. Liverpool managed to fight back from 2-0 down against Swansea only to feel sorry for ruining their opponents trip up from Wales and gifting them a third. A guy called Fernando scored twice at Anfield, so at least the Liverpool fans were able to go home feeling a little nostalgic.
West Ham have become reasonably decent since Payet started messing them around. Andy Carroll netted a brace up at Middlesbrough as Slaven claimed another three points. Karanka took issue with the Boro fans booing the players off the pitch, claiming that they had at least scored at home this week.
Before they entertained Hull at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea announced that they were happy for Costa to leave after all. Happy, that is, if someone wanted to stump up £130m for the eternal grump. Mind you, if you judge Costa by his goal celebration having scored the opener, maybe it was all paper talk? Either way, looking at the complex instructions being dished out by Marco Silva on the sidelines I would propose his English is a little bit stronger than “barely speaks any” which is the narrative lazily bandied about by our beloved pundits. Still, decent levels of English or not Chelsea won and made that gap at the top just a little bit wider.
That Granit Xhaka seems a bit of a midfield liability for Arsene. He managed to get sent off yet again against Burnley, leaving his team with ten men for the last half an hour. Mind you, that ten men didn’t have to worry too much as Burnley seemed content to toddle off with a 1-0 defeat rather than try and get back in the game. But Dyche was setting a trap, and a very clever one at that. With the game looking like it was fizzling out Burnley won a nailed on penalty in injury time. Genius Sean, genius. Arsene got sent off, Gray scored and Dyche grinned. Arsenal and Chelsea is a crucial match in the title race, Arsene? Do me a favour. You’re not in a title race. Sorry, what’s that? Arsenal got a penalty too? Sorry, didn’t see it. I was too busy writing all that. Maybe the game against Chelsea is worth checking out after all.