Let’s start in an unexpected way today. Just imagine how bad Sunderland against Burnley must have been to watch. 0-0 must have been the most guaranteed result of the day. It’s nice to see Jermain Defoe back in the England squad though, if only as a reward for putting up with only being passed the ball about 25 times this season.
That’s enough of that though. Let’s get back into the proper swing of things which is, of course, having a dig at Arsenal. I can only assume that Arsene has seen a Tony Pulis team play before and felt it would be wise to throw caution to the wind and try not defending set-pieces at all as a cunning new way of winning a game of football. I mean, Tony wouldn’t have been expecting that approach would he? That’s Arsene, always mixing it up and trying new ideas. Who remembers his cunning ruse when he left Alexis Sanchez on the bench against Liverpool? As I said, genius. As for Aaron Ramsey, has anyone pointed out the fact that Craig Dawson has just run past him twice yet? Nobody seemed that bothered to tell him on the pitch. Can you imagine Sol Campbell or Tony Adams just letting that lack of interest in defending slide without comment? No, you cannot. I know they used to say Bergkamp could lose his man in an elevator, such was the subtlety of his movement but Dawson is a big, lumbering central defender who is hardly fleet of foot. Arsene says he knows what is happening with regards to his position at the club and we will all know soon enough. Until then, we continue the world’s worst game of Wenger Hokey Cokey with all the in/out rubbish. Still, at least that plane wasn’t embarrassing. It’s been a good week for Arsenal Fan TV when they are not the most cringeworthy thing about Arsenal Football Club.
City and Liverpool needed to carve out a few more sitters, didn’t it? It’s been a while since I have seen a game where both sides have had so many clear cut chances to win. Adam Lallana, if Liverpool miss out on the Champions League by two points I suggest you hand in a transfer request. And Sergio Aguero, you are supposed to be coming up with reasons for Pep to keep you, not prove his point. It was a brilliant, frenetic match and John Stones even looked like he had played in defence before.
There was something slightly weird about watching United play with a back six, trying to close out a narrow win against managerless Middlesbrough, a team not known for their attacking prowess. Still, whatever it takes eh Jose? A win is a win and United remain unbeaten in the league since October and, shock horror, they have moved out of 6th – albeit into 7th briefly – before leapfrogging into 5th. Forget all the Arsenal not finishing in the top four chat, they might not even finish top six at this rate with United grinding out the results and Everton flying.
That’s right, my live TV claim that Everton will finish top six does not feel as daft as it did at the time. The Toffees showed no after effects of Lukaku saying he wants to move on to a bigger stage at the end of the season as they swept Hull City away 4-0. I can see Rom’s point. How do you commit to a club when the manager is eyeing up his next big move? Players get slated for moving for money, but he is turning down £130k to want to move to a place where he can win stuff. I actually quite like that attitude because, let’s be honest, all this new money at Everton is only going to raise expectations to a level where managers get the sack regularly because they haven’t qualified for the Champions League. You’re best off out of that one Romelu.
Normally the champions-elect would get a fair bit of praise, no? Well, they are so damn drama free and efficient I don’t really know what to say. Stoke have troubled them twice this season, and twice they have come away with the three points. And that folks, that is why they will win the league.
Shock horror, Dele Alli won a penalty in Tottenham’s 2-1 win over Southampton. Although Harry wasn’t there to score it himself, it was just like most weeks as Alli disappeared over a dangled leg. The three points for Spurs doesn’t enhance their title bid, but certainly makes it more likely they are going the distance in the Champions League qualification race.
Have the rest of the world cottoned on to the fact it was all Claudio’s fault yet? Bilic surprised everyone by picking an actual right back for West Ham but it made no difference at all as the Leicester juggernaut piled through them in a superb first half display. People still say the Leicester board were wrong to sack Ranieri. I say they did it too late. Leicester, on this current form, are as good as any of the teams trying to get into the Europa League, including Arsenal. Who would bet against them beating Atletico over two legs? Well, actually I would but you never know. Vardy and Mahrez are back people, the best couple in a Shakespeare production since Romeo and Juliet.
Never bet on Bournemouth for you never know what you are going to get. They were superb in their dispatching of Swansea, meaning it’s all very confusing down at the bottom. Big Benik Afobe caused all kinds of problems for Swansea who suddenly find themselves peering over their shoulders once more. Palace, courtesy of Troy Deeney scoring at the wrong end got a valuable three points but they are far from safe themselves. With nine or ten games left for most sides, a lot could still change but you have to fear for Boro and Hull as the other teams seem to have just about enough to get out of the drop zone. Don’t feel for Sunderland, they have totally brought it upon themselves.
International week next week folks, so I apologise in advance.