And what a week it was. We have had dangerous high boots, ‘fair’ reciprocal high boots, managerial sackings and more handshake gate involving Mark Hughes.
The opening month of the new Premier League season has barely passed and already, there has been a managerial casualty in the Premier League. Crystal Palace’s Steve Parish and their American owners deemed four games was more than enough to sack a man (Frank De Boer) they wanted to take Crystal Palace to the next level. That is at least 4 places up from the 14th position they finished last year, into the top half of the Premier League.
In June 2017, Steve Parish stated, “We need an evolution over time”. A couple of months later and the chosen man Frank De Boer is gone. Make your mind up, Steve. De Boer may yet be an awful manager, but four games is far from enough to give a manager to confound his doubters. Frank was no doubt a victim of profligacy in the squad he was willing to work with, which only begs the question, was he backed? He was replaced by 70-year-old returning Icelandic icon Roy Hodgson, who if the papers are to be believed, is ready to be backed with a £40m war chest in January. I imagine his first port of call will be to assign Christian Benteke as the corner kick taker.
All the talk last weekend was the high kick from Sadio Mane to Ederson’s face, which was followed by comparisons to a similar high kick the following day from Matt Ritchie on Alfie Mawson. Now I want to avoid sharing my opinion on the comparison, mainly because fans and pundits alike had all locked horns and failed to accept others point of view (Mane deserved to be sent off and Matt Ritchie should have followed suit). However, players reactions always play a part in refereeing decisions, and this is just another example.
Meanwhile, on Sky Sports News, ex- West Ham legend Tony Gale questioned Ederson’s masculinity when he suggested Ederson was not a ‘proper man’ for laying on the ground for 5 minutes receiving treatment, whilst Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton waved to the crowd having dislocated his shoulder. He was kicked in the head, Tony? Final Score pundit Garth Crooks’s teams of the week are always worth keeping an eye out for, and his latest selections are no different. I’m just surprised not to see Lee Chung Young included for setting up Chris Wood on ‘Super Sunday’. In his comments on Choupo-Moting’s inclusion for his double against Man United, he then used this as an opportunity to knock Paul Pogba’s haircut and accuse him of behaving like an adolescent. To only choose now to speak of a footballer’s dynamic hairstyle choices, perhaps Garth Crooks has been salivating Pogba’s next grand design. If a pundit wants to criticise the French marketing soprano, the dabbing and the emojis warrant a word or two.
And so, the first round of fixtures in the Champions League and Europa League group stages are over. That was pretty much all we needed for us all to come to the shared conclusion that English teams are now invincible in European competitions, with the exception of Everton.