I mean seriously. Who decided to have an almost full programme of matches on Deadline Day? Madness, and before I have even started typing my eyes are square from following Twitter and various media outlets all day and then watching the matches happen all night whilst trying not to miss a single false transfer rumour. I reckon I have put in more of a shift today than Jim White. At least he got a few hours off in the evening.
Fortunately the final day of the transfer window was classically underwhelming. I mean, Arouna Kone to Palace was considered interesting. Surely he should have ended up at Sunderland though? He must be bad if Moysey didn’t try and nab him. Or good. Not sure on that one, maybe Arouna and Lescott aren’t mates. Actually, one did catch my eye. I thought Robbie Brady had gone to Palace, but having missed out on Snodgrass, Burnley snapped up the other left footed player being touted on the market. Players going to China have got a lot of stick, but Odion Ighalo looked genuinely gutted to be leaving the Premier League. Still, I’m sure the signing on bonus will soften the blow.
After twenty minutes or so at the Emirates I was thinking, “hang on, we’ve been here before!” Bournemouth anyone? I had prepared a delightfully scathing Tales where I dismantled Arsene Wenger and his team piece by piece before they woke up and turned it around. Not this time! Wenger said before the game that this was his best ever set of striking options. That best ever set of striking options failed to muster a shot at home to Watford. Yes, Watford. A 2-1 defeat loss at home to Walter’s boys probably means Steve Bould won’t be the next Arsenal manager and almost certainly means that Arsenal won’t be winning the title this season. I know, we all never really thought they would but I just like saying it.
Kloppo. A couple of things. Even at the incredibly low level of Sunday park football I played we were always told to stand over the ball to stop a quick free kick. And if our goalkeeper ever turned his back? Well, that just wouldn’t happen. Even on Hackney Marshes. Really. Sadio Mane was thought to be back to save the day, but even he couldn’t have seen that shambolic goal on the horizon. The guys in the wall, they don’t deserve a place in the Champions League, do they? Gini Wijnaldum got the Reds level before a completely unlikely source actually saved the day. Yeah, it’s amazing what you can save when you face the right way. Mignolet kept out Costa’s penalty. It is, as Mr Greaves used to muse, a funny old game. Liverpool are still lacking proper wins in 2017 and Conte won’t be too disappointed considering how the other matches unfolded. But, had Costa scored could we have considered the title completely done and dusted?
Jack Rodwell had an interesting approach to trying to break his hoodoo. The tackle he put in on Dembele was worthy of a straight red, so it is entirely possible that Rodders was trying to get off the pitch quickly to give Sunderland the chance of winning. I mean, he can’t help it if he keeps getting picked. Mind you, this one wasn’t a defeat as they managed to get a 0-0 draw off Spurs. The point put Spurs above their thoroughly inept North London rivals, albeit on goal difference.
They say not a lot goes your way when you are down the bottom, and Leicester are certainly down the bottom. Sam Vokes might have armed the ball into his own path, but it wasn’t given and his late, late goal continued Burnley’s fine run of home form and, more hilariously, Leicester’s totally inept effort at winning on the road. They are now three points off the relegation zone and there are now teams beneath them in much better form. The very same people wishing they’d stuck a tenner on them to win the league last season must be wishing they’d stuck something on them going down this time round.
We’ve waited a bit of time to buy Big Sam a celebratory pint of wine, but the time is now. Fired up by yesterday’s exclusive Tales interview with Mark Rasdall, Allardyce led his side to a 2-0 win at Bournemouth. It would have been a great evening for the former England manager if Swansea hadn’t gone and beaten Southampton 2-1. Whisper it quietly, but Paul Clement might have learned a thing or two when coaching at Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.