The last time I saw a left back that detached from the rest of his team was Ashley Cole’s famous team photo at Roma. You had to feel for Ben Davies at Anfield. He must have really upset someone on the plane up to Merseyside as Pochettino and his men really hung the poor lad out to dry on Saturday night. The thought process that suggests Liverpool are a one man side has hardly had cold water poured on it following Sadio Mane’s first half personal destruction of the side that didn’t feel he was worth that little bit extra in wages over the summer. Mane sent Ben Davies spinning so many different ways he still doesn’t know which way is up, and when Mane fancied a little rest Nathaniel Clyne came galloping past him on the overlap. It may have only been 2-0, but without Hugo Lloris it could have been 7 (seven) for Kloppo’s men who have suddenly burst into 2017 like a stag party who’s plane to Magaluf had been delayed. The main question is, if Pochettino is, as people suggest, such a super fine manager, why didn’t he do anything to stop the thing so obvious that even Gary, sitting at home eating crisps on his sofa, drinking his can of Stella could see it? Danny Rose had his best game of the season for Spurs sitting there all injured. Klopp has urged people “not to go nuts” just because Liverpool have remembered how to win a game of football and insists he is not even looking at Chelsea who, after their draw at Burnley, lead the table by ten points. Interestingly, or not, if the league was made up purely of the current top six then Liverpool would be top which adds a lot of credibility to my personal belief that if you cannot beat Burnley then you do not deserve to win the league. Actually, Chelsea drew there didn’t they? Ok, make that if you cannot beat Sunderland then you don’t deserve to win the league. Sorry Palace fans.
That 7am meeting Big Sam called earlier in the week made a huge improvement to Crystal Palace this weekend. Yes, they only lost 1-0 this time round. “Real Football Men” might go bananas at the thought of the chairman popping into the changing room after the previous week’s 4-0 hammering, but if I saw hundreds of millions of pounds disappearing slowly before my eyes I’d probably want a word too.
Leicester are doomed, are they not? Don’t get me wrong, Swansea are much improved after Clement but I think it is about time Sky stopped putting Claudio and his not so merry men through the weekly public humiliation of showing their games. No matter how much the pundits talk up last season’s champions they are going one way, and one way only. That is to Wembley to lift the FA Cup and to the Championship to face bankruptcy when they realise they forgot to insert 50% relegation wage clauses in all those big fancy contracts they dished out as soon as Bocelli hit the high note last season.
Mark Clattenburg apparently apologised to Hull City at half time, having seen a video that showed Arsenal’s opening goal going in off Sanchez’s hand. My favourite part of all this was not the goal itself, but Thierry Henry doing his best to pass judgement on the matter whilst hoping nobody brought up that handball goal against Ireland. I believe the law is still something like “if the hand hits the ball deliberately” or words to that effect. I would do away with that now and just have a sweeping statement that says any hand contact on the ball whatsoever is handball. Yeah, even for the goalkeepers. I mean, Claudio Bravo has been trialling that quite successfully this season, right? Yes, Bravo – the man that Pep includes, still despite having now seen him play, as one of the best goalkeepers in the world – a phrase that insults all the other half decent goalkeepers in the world in one fell swoop. Anyway, I digress. Arsenal edged past Hull 2-0 courtesy of a disputed goal and a penalty. Hardly the ideal warm up for Bayern in the week, a match that Arsenal will typically win by a couple of goals for sure. Or get hammered. One or the other. Now, if I was Arsene and I had actually told Ian Wright that I was leaving at the end of the season I would either be having a right old laugh that I had stitched Wrighty right up by fibbing and watching him tell anyone that would listen or I would be a little miffed that something I had told a former player in confidence was now international news. Either way, the revelation that Wenger is “nearing the end” of his time at Arsenal is not exactly a revelation. He has been there two decades for crying out loud. Yet again the so called “proper media” are dying for pundits to do their jobs for them and decided that was a story.
As mentioned earlier. Burnley left pegged Chelsea back at Turf Moor with Robbie Brady’s fine left footed free kick. Chelsea pretended to be bothered, but whilst everyone else below them seems to have given up the chase they will happily keep picking up the points as and when to seal the Championship.
United may well wish that they had started playing like this a little earlier in the season, given the complete averageness of the sides above them right now. Their sixteenth game unbeaten lifted them to the nosebleed territory of fifth, albeit for a couple of hours. Watford were swatted aside 2-0 as Martial got a game for good behaviour and scored. Mourinho believes Zlatan will stay, and Zlatan is targeting two, maybe three trophies this season. That statement tells me that Zlatan is very much counting the Community Shield as a trophy. Ah, these foreigners hey? What can you say to them? Anyway, United may well be spending a lot of time in 6th at the moment, but if they keep going at this rate then they might be the only side that puts up a late challenge to Chelsea. Yeah, I just said that. Don’t look at me like that.
Tony Pulis defended himself better than his WBA players defended their goal at the weekend. West Ham, now facing that part of the season where Andy Carroll is once again injured, managed to find themselves a goal down and being rubbish, to being a goal up in injury time and being rather good, to gifting Albion an injury time equaliser. One thing you cannot accuse the Hammers of is being boring this season. Sorry, Pulis. Mark Hughes, still a little bitter at Saido’s failed drugs test coming to light last weekend outed Tony for calling Ryan Shawcross a “loser” in a voicemail. This claim made Pulis go mad underneath his baseball cap peak, deciding to tell the world the rest of the message that Hughes conveniently forgot to pass on. “Loser? Come on Ryan, you’ve never been that” is Tony’s version of events which hardly sounds like the worst thing the WBA manager is likely to have said to one of his players, current or former.
Finally, Bournemouth managed to ship six to Everton last weekend but they didn’t have Victor Valdes in goal, did they? Middlesbrough managed to keep Everton at bay for 90 minutes but kind of forgot the other part of the game which is scoring a goal yourself. I think Boro have scored something like three goals in about twenty eight games this season although, admittedly, that fact may have been embellished somewhat to suggest that Karanka’s side are not known for their attacking prowess.