The Real Football Man

The opening weekend of the Premier League season had us all celebrating as if it was a religious festival, only this religion was football. No matter where your parish is based the reason for optimism would have been high if your team earned all three points from the opening weekend.

That mood would have no doubt been tempered in North London as both Arsenal and Tottenham were served the bitter dish known as defeat last weekend. The Gunners once again suffered in Stoke while Tottenham’s Wembley hoodoo continues for at least another week after Hugo Lloris’ coq au hands could not keep Marcos Alonso out for the second time that afternoon.

For Mauricio Pochettino the frustration will be that his team were back in the game and in the ascendancy only to then see Antonio Conte once again out fox him, it is now 3-1 to the once bald Italian in terms of head-to-head clashes and 2-0 at Wembley. That does not make for good reading but whether the stadium can really define the defeat I’m not too sure.

One positive that they can take is that there was something resembling an atmosphere at Wembley Stadium, this really is going to be integral to how the team can perform over the course of the season. Ultimately there are only so many flags that can be waved in the stands in a bid to boost the team on, let’s just hope that Spurs are not waving one of the purely white variety towards the end of the season.

Talking of atmosphere, it is always lively when Arsenal arrive at what is now known as the Bet365 Stadium and last week was no different. As seems customary now Mark Hughes’ men raised their game and a debutant managed to earn all three points for the home side. I guess it truly was a case of Jese, breaking bad defences.

Manchester United are already celebrating winning the Premier League in emphatic style, they now join Arsenal as the only other club to have won the title without losing a game. Their record is arguably more remarkable for the simple fact it is a 100% record. Played 2, Won 2, Drawn 0, Lost 0, Goals For 8, Goals Against 0.

They were not quite as scintillating during their victory over Swansea last Saturday but still managed a four goal haul regardless, whether that says more about their attacking prowess than Paul Clement’s men capitulating late on can be argued but you get the feeling the Liberty Stadium outfit are going to be in for a long season.

The same can be said about Newcastle, they have it all in place to be an established top flight outfit so you do have to wonder if they have actually worked out that they got promoted last season. They seem to be still stuck in Championship mode at the moment and need a change of gear very soon.

That was no less apparent than last Sunday when Champions League qualifiers Huddersfield secured their spot at Europe’s top table next season with a 1-0 win over Rafa Benitez’s men. It is great that they have maximum points and all but in all fairness, it is going to take me a good six weeks or so before I actually work out who plays for the club.

Liverpool booked their place in the Champions League after an entertaining win over Bundesliga outfit Hoffenheim on Wednesday night. Jurgen Klopp will no doubt be delighted that his club have reached the promised land of the group stages but he will also be thankful that his attacking trio is markedly better than that of his defensive quartet.

Make the most of your bank holiday weekend though as after that we move into the international break and regular readers (again of which there are some) will know just how much I love them.

Until next week