International week is over. Rejoice as normality is restored and Pan The Pundits returns to lurk in your internet browser history like that dodgy website you love. Gary was back too and he was delighted to announce he wasn’t joined by “April Fools”. Unfortunately, Martin Keown was in one of the seats so Gary has already lied to us. Still, eight games. A Merseyside Derby. This could be good…
We started at Stamford Brid…wait, what?! That’s right, the titanic battle between Chelsea and Crystal Palace was first on the call sheet this week. You can draw your own conclusions for that one but such is the order we must work with. Antonio’s Terminators are homing in on the Premier League title like… well… Terminators. Big Sam’s pints of wine are finally working some magic with Palace having won their previous three games even with the World’s Best Player® James Tomkins lining up for them. Palace had only won at the Bridge once in the top flight, Jonathan Pearce said. It’s almost like it was meant…
Oh, how foreboding Mr Pearce proved to be. The pints of wine brigade roll on while the Terminators…erm…reboot. Wilfried Zaha ran the show squeezing a shot into the bottom corner before setting up Christian Benteke for a goal worth £30 odd million. Well, not quite but it was a decent goal. Palace defended stoutly, Wayne Hennessey made a boatload of saves and they got what they deserved in the end. Chelsea, though, can feel a little hard done by with plenty of chances and a penalty shout turned down.
Here is Keown’s analysis in a nutshell – “I was a Palace fan, Chelsea attacked lots and Hennessey made umpteen saves.” Excellent considering “umpteen” isn’t an accurate number.
It was Merseyside Derby time where we were given a wonderful tribute to Ronnie Moran – a true unsung hero and icon at Liverpool. As always with the Merseyside Derby, it was wonderfully observed by both sets of supporters. Sneaky Everton decided to go and give a debut to Matthew Pennington, a fool-proof plan in a derby. Jurgen Klopp decided it was time for the obligatory Lucas start in midfield.
Where do I start with this? Well, Joel Robles might just be one of the dodgiest keepers I’ve seen in a while. Quite why he thought he could chase Mane’s goal I’ll never understand, quite what he did about Origi’s goal is beyond anyone with a brain and how he did manage to save anything was baffling. Koeman said he was proud of his team’s performance which is fair in some aspects. They created some chances but Everton were largely outclassed and, at points, had to resort to thuggery with Barkley and Williams may be lucky to stay on the pitch.
A trip to Turf Moor was next with Onyx’s Burnley firmly stuck in mid-table and pretty content about it. Spurs, meanwhile, were clearly second but without Harry Kane meaning that the wonderfully prolific Vincent Janssen got a start.
They did it, just about. Mauricio’s incredible patchwork Spurs including a cameo from oft-forgotten panic signing Moussa Sissoko. Eric Dier managed to score for the first time in a ludicrous amount of time and he looked positively stoked about it post-match. It was gnarly dude.
It was time for my second favourite team in the league with the foreign guy leading his patchwork team into battle against angry Slav and his rubber Hammers. The angry man has seen his men stumble from week to week around lower-midtable. The foreign guy has had mixed fortunes in the Premier League, being almost unbeatable at home but struggling badly away from home. They’re like Luis Garcia. But a football club as opposed to a wildly talented Spaniard who drinks sangria.
Poor Robert Snodgrass. Imagine being a walking set-piece and leaving for West Ham then realising they’re not a whole lot better than Hull. Still, there was a positive for Hammers fans with Andy Carroll not getting injured. He also scored but no injury is the big news. Still, in standard West Ham fare, they managed to blow it and let two defenders score. Better yet, they let two defenders score their first ever goals in the Premier League. One of those is a punchline in Italy too…
Leicester were next who took on the ninth best team in England for the past 500 years, Stoke. Stoke are not in danger of going down and certainly no danger of going any higher than they are while Leicester have regained some semblance of how to play football again. The *cough* tragedy is that it’s taken so long.
Wilfried Ndidi scored a belter, Jamie Vardy scored a goal and Stoke were terrible. Glen Johnson did Glen Johnson things for the second goal. Move along.
It was time to hop on board Moyesey’s relegation bus as they travelled to the United Nations. The only positive for Moyesey is that Jermain Defoe at the age of fifty-three managed to start and score for England against the might of Lithuania. Lithuania was one of the ninety-eight nations represented in the Watford line-up in the match.
Has there ever been a relegation more inevitable than Sunderland’s? They have sleepwalked and moped their way towards the Championship in a manner that is only slightly better than the Derby side in 2007/08 or the Sunderland side of 04/05. Watford seem to be fairly set for another season in midtable.
What a way to follow up that stellar action than with a trip to the Theatre of Silence as Tactics Tony looked to build his wall at the Stretford End. Jose has been complaining about something this week. I don’t know about what but I’m sure there’s something. It’s been a quiet week at the Wall with the stench of Saido still hanging around.
Classic United. Playing for the draw against a better side. The Wall were solid, impenetrable, and very good. United were terrible, uninspired and terrible. It finished 0-0 and there were legitimately six “highlights”. The high point was that it ended. Oh, and Jose complained about the game after the fact. Maybe he should complain about his striker’s inability to hit the back of the net. He did? Well then…
Finally, we were sent to the south coast derby between Bournemouth and Southampton. I’ll be honest here, I tuned out because this was very dull. Here then is the abridged version of my notes – midtable clash, I have nothing to say about either team, Harry Arter conversion, game over.
So what have we learned this week? Well, Jose complains a lot, Tony built a wall at Old Trafford, Hull are like Luis Garcia, Joel Robles is terrible and Moussa Sissoko is still alive!