Premier League football is back! After the tedium of the international break, proper football returned and we welcomed it with open arms, feeling like an alcoholic after a dry day. You know the results and you’ve read the match reports by now, so we’re not going to go into that. Instead, here’s a slightly different look at the weekend.
Tottenham Hotspur: After coming so tantalisingly close to scaling the summit the last time around, Spurs are looking like a pretty good bet to run the leaders close before tripping over their own feet. At least this time it won’t be Arsenal taking their spot on the podium. Speaking of which…
Arsenal: The mythical beast only known as ‘Mental Strength’ made a rare appearance at The Emirates on Sunday. But that was enough to earn Arsenal a point against Manchester City, who tried their best to hand over all three. A draw also ensured that Gunnersaurus is not abducted and tortured on Arsenal FanTV by the Blud-Fam Gang, demanding the exit of one dinosaur for the safe return of the other.
Wilfried Zaha: During the last international break, Zaha was portrayed as public enemy number one in the tabloid press for the heinous crime of taking a dump in the Queen’s kitchen garden. Not really; he just chose to play for the country of his birth, the Ivory Coast, and in the process ‘snubbed’ mighty England and put a few noses out of joint at FA HQ. Against Chelsea, he showed exactly what England would miss, scoring one goal and assisting the other, all while humming ‘You Can’t Touch This’ by MC Hammer.
Crystal Palace and Sam Allardyce: Sam Allardyce rolled into Stamford Bridge and rolled out with all three points, dragging Palace a step further away from the relegation mire. Sam presumably celebrated with his customary pint of white wine and noodles.
Hull City and Marco Silva: Swansea’s Paul Clement and Hull City’s Marco Silva were on a hunting trip when suddenly they were attacked by a bear. As they started running, Paul says to Marco, “We can’t run forever. It’s gonna catch up to us some time”. To this, Marco replied, “I don’t need to outrun the bear, I just need to outrun you”. And he just might, too.
Leicester City and Craig Shakespeare: “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” –
Craig William Shakespeare. The first English manager to win his first four games in charge.
The Neutrals: All those weeks of putting pins in voodoo dolls of Chelsea players finally paid off. Against Crystal Palace, they just could not score. It was as if the goal was being protected by a supernatural force. And now we *might* have a title race too.
Chelsea: Ooh, are they getting the jitters? Like a batsman in his nervous nineties, Chelsea might be feeling a bit anxious in the final stretch of the season. Could Conte defy all expectations and do a Keegan? They’ll love it if that happens.
Sunderland and David Moyes: Sunderland have been flirting with relegation for several years, but nothing ever truly materialised. David Moyes, with his forthright Britishness, has taken relegation out to dinner and intends to make sweet, sweet love to her before the season is done.
Manchester United and Jose Mourinho: Tasked with making
America Manchester United great again, Trump Mourinho has, so far, alienated his own players, blamed everyone but himself and has generally looked a combination of angry and confused. It’s not going too well at The Theatre of Draws.
Slaven Bilic: After yet another loss, West Ham’s owners have given him their vote of confidence. You know what comes next.
Middlesbrough: What do they say about scoring and brothels? Yes, that. Boro, at the moment, are all foreplay and no penetration. Relegation won’t be so gentle.
Romelu Lukaku: It must be a cause for real concern when your first touch is so poor that the ball usually ends up in the Mersey. The league’s top-scorer was completely neutralised by Liverpool’s defence, which should make him feel ashamed.
Defending: I shall be commissioning an aircraft to fly a banner over The Emirates and The Etihad, with the message – ‘DEFENDING IS DEAD’. Please donate generously.
Ross Barkley’s Tackling: o Watching Ross Barkley play against Liverpool reminded me of my childhood. When I first started playing FIFA, my first response to losing the ball was to slide tackle the opponent immediately, usually resulting in a sending off. It took me 2 years and an intervention to lose this habit. For his sake and for the sake of his opponents, I hope Barkley is a faster learner than I was.
Darron Gibson’s Corner: Somewhere in Spain, Iago Aspas sat watching the television, smiled to himself and said, “That’s my boy”.
Arsenal Fan Protests: They hired a van this time. A van! As if flying two aeroplanes with opposing messages wasn’t embarrassing enough, one of the groups has gone and hired a van imploring the Arsenal board to get rid of the manager. The ‘Wenger In’ van couldn’t make it to the stadium, presumably due to traffic. Meanwhile, both camps have descended into open warfare now, allowing the rest of us to laugh or shake our heads in dismay, at grown men fighting each other like children.