So hands up if you are a Premier League manager heading into the international break wondering whether you’ll still have a job when the players reconvene in ten days time or so? Ronald Koeman, I am definitely looking at you, sir. Yes, and you Mr. Shakespeare. Eddie Howe, you might look all young and be wearing your “future of England coaching” badge but you should have your hand raised. Roy Hodgson? Put your hand down, you are not getting out of it that easily.
Ronald Koeman has spent a lot of money in recent months, but it looked like the penny might have finally dropped as Wayne Rooney was benched. However, the obvious plan failed to work and the last kind of team you want to be playing when “your team has forgotten how to play football” is Burnley. Burnley won 1-0 and Ronald Koeman might soon be available to take one of those other jobs he so obviously wants.
Craig Shakespeare might also be advised to turn his phone off for the next few days. The 0-0 with Bournemouth did neither team or manager any favors. Considering the lack of patience shown to Claudio Ranieri last season it is not inconceivable that the curtain is about to come down on Shakespeare’s act as the lead part at the King Power.
Roy Hodgson probably wishes he could be sacked. Crystal Palace are now closing in on ten games without a win or a goal and if Palace show the same level of fairness to Roy as they did to Frank de Boer they will be looking for another new manager come the middle of October. Palace were never likely to get anything from a trip to Old Trafford, but things are bad when Marouane Fellaini gets two against you. Jose Mourinho did his level best to show Palace some respect but he must have been hiding a smirk when he said something like “Palace are too good to be in that position”. Hodgson showed the first signs of madness, likening Palace’s awful position to being a heavyweight boxer flat out on the canvas, knowing full well he needs to get up but also knowing he is going to get many more smacks on the nose.
Who needs to score goals in August when you score as many as Messi, Ronaldo, Pele, the Pope and the Queen in September? Step forward Harry Kane who is heading into the international break looking like Alan Shearer, Jimmy Greaves, Geoff Hurst and Gary Lineker rolled into one and will end the international break looking like a poor version of Michael Ricketts. Google him. Huddersfield were blown away by Kane’s assault on their goal as Tottenham eased to a 4-0 win.
Pep’s Manchester City may well have officially arrived after 15 months and a shed load of cash being spent. The pre-match talk was about Sergio Aguero being involved in a taxi crash in Amsterdam on Thursday night having been to a concert. Aguero ended up with broken ribs, which is not the worst injury he could have got from a night out in Amsterdam. Either way, Pep struggled to pick between one of his other seven multi-million pound attacking replacements but eventually settled on a shape that saw off Chelsea 1-0, the winning goal a beauty from Kevin de Bruyne. You know Kevin, the one Chelsea bombed out because Jose didn’t like how he wouldn’t track back.
There’s something childlike about Peter Crouch when he plays football nowadays. He honestly looks like he cannot believe his luck that he is still getting a game at 37 years of age and he is going to make damn sure he enjoys every single second before he gets found out. The thing is, Crouchy keeps scoring. I feel I have to finally admit that Stoke City will not be relegated this season, but hey – Southampton might be. Their 2-1 loss at the Bet365 does not make the decision to get shot of Claude Puel look any wiser and we can add Mauricio Pellegrini to the list of managers that might want to start getting their CV out there.
If there was one team most likely to defend a set-piece in injury time to close out a win I would humbly suggest it is West Bromwich Albion. Tony Pulis was actually hopping up and down with rage as Watford’s Richarlison scored an injury-time equalizer from a crossed free kick. WBA had led 2-0, courtesy of Salomon Rondon chasing down a long, long ball and Jonny Evans heading home from a free kick of their own. But credit to Watford, they are doing alright this season.
Rumours are saying Slaven Bilic has lost the changing room, despite his side stealing an injury time 1-0 over Swansea City at the London Stadium. West Ham also suffered a sickness bug which meant some of the players were not able to play as well (honest) as they normally do. Could we be adding Paul Clement to that list of managers looking over their shoulder? Probably not, but I would propose that if Bilic loses two more games in a row he could well be out and Carlo Ancelotti could well be in. Yes, yes, the former Bayern Munich manager. It could happen.
Newcastle United and Liverpool played out a 1-1 draw that will mean Rafa was as happy as a Spanish waiter getting a decent tip. Liverpool were wasteful in front of goal, but you knew that already I expect. Because Liverpool were playing. Arsenal did exactly what Arsenal tend to do when there isn’t a great deal of expectation on them, and saw off a woeful Brighton side 2-0. Some Arsenal fans were calling Iwobi’s goal a goal of the season contender, following Alexis Sanchez’s backheel assist. Folks, do that against City, United, Spurs or Chelsea and not Brighton, then we’ll talk – OK?
So, going into another pointless week or so of football Manchester City lead Manchester United at the top by a single goal. Incredibly, Burnley are 6th. Sixth! Arsenal, despite their perpetual crisis, are in 5th which is actually quite impressive. Palace are more doomed than Sunderland ever were last season and it is time for Eddie Howe to step up and show that he isn’t just a flash in the pan otherwise someone like Sam Allardyce is going to take over and undo all the good work he has done for the last decade.
Ah, international football. I can’t wait.