This weekend’s matches were full of SHOCK and HORROR which only tells me that the farce that is Halloween must be nearing us.
SHOCK HORROR! Manchester City won’t win every game 5-0 or 7-2 this season. Burnley, completely uncharacteristically, made life a little difficult for Pep’s free-flowing artists and City even had to resort to scoring a headed goal from a set-piece. Sergio Aguero’s penalty made him the joint record scorer in the club’s history and Kevin de Bruyne did what Kevin de Bruyne has been doing a lot of recently and assisted a goal beautifully.
SHOCK HORROR! Jose Mourinho blames players for losing a football match. EVEN MORE SHOCK HORROR! Jose Mourinho praises the opponent for winning said football match! Little Huddersfield Town bashed up big strong Manchester United 2-1 in a result so surprising that Mourinho wasn’t really sure which excuse to use. Jose was motivated. Jose was prepared. Jose’s desire was 100%. Jose did his bit. It was just that eleven on the pitch that let him down. Another thing regarding Jose, surely £31m gets you a complete central defender, even in this day and age? I’m not going all Paul Merson or Ray Wilkins, but is there any universe in which Victor Lindelof is a better fit for the Premier League than Timothy Fosu-Mensah or Axel Tuanzebe? Huddersfield’s second was about as Sunday League as you can get (a whole day early) and any Sunday League defender letting that ball bounce would have got an absolute bollocking from his manager. But of course, clubs have to keep these agents happy by moving their commodities across the world, right?
SHOCK HORROR! Antonio Conte is NOT fearing the sack. Well, you wouldn’t would you if you were secretly plotting to head back to Italy at the first available opportunity. Chelsea came from behind to beat an impressive Watford side. The match gave Chelsea fans online the opportunity to show their tactical acumen once more. Twitter went into idiot overdrive when Conte took over Alvaro Morata (club record signing and top goalscorer) when 2-1 down on Saturday, especially when he was being replaced by Michy Batshuayi. How dare Conte consider the fact that Morata had just come back from injury? And the abuse that came the Italian’s way for bringing on Willian was online football “fandom” at its peak. Chelsea were 2-1 down when these two entered the field and won 4-2. Who scored? Michy got two. Who had a huge hand in all three goals? Willian. Funnily enough, Antonio won’t be changing his tactical plans next week because @gazza454 thinks that he is a clueless fraud who should leave HIS club immediately. Thanks for your input Gaz. As for Watford’s Richarlison, was that a case of karma catching up with him a week later, as he missed two gilt-edged chances to put the game out Chelsea’s reach? Probably not, it was a penalty against Arsenal all day long.
SHOCK HORROR! It only took four minutes for me to begin penning chapter 138 of “Liverpool cannot defend for toffee” as the sight of Harry Kane scoring early reminded Dejan Lovren who Kloppo had suggested marking. The chapter became a lot longer shortly after when Dejan failed to locate Tottenham’s main man yet again. The Croat was subbed after 26 minutes at Wembley having put in one of the worst displays at “The Home of Football” since, well, last time Spurs stank the place out. The problem is though, it’s not all Dejan’s fault. It says a lot when Alberto Moreno has been your best defender for the last few weeks. Leo Messi may have perfected the “false nine” role, but Liverpool are getting the false 1-5 pretty much sorted too. I wonder if Jose still thinks his approach last weekend was the best way to play Liverpool?
Arsenal fans are cute, aren’t they? They still believe that Jack Wilshere is the future of the club judging by the reception they gave him at Goodison Park. All this because he didn’t look terrible against Red Star Belgrade. People are even talking about him being in England’s World Cup squad next summer. Do me a favour, Theo Walcott has got more chance. Actually no, Alexis Sanchez has got more chance of playing for Southgate than Jack. Anyway, Arsenal delivered Arsene a nice birthday present by stuffing a woeful Everton 2-5, even if they did manage to concede to Wayne Rooney and let Everton score a hilarious injury-time consolation. In fact, I’d say that Jack Wilshere has more chance of playing in the World Cup than Ronald Koeman has of getting that dream job at Barcelona. You know it’s not the job for you when Mesut Ozil scores a header against you. Things are so bad at Everton that people are talking up a dream return for David Moyes? Who’s dream is that I wonder? Moysey wants to make Scotland worse, anyway.
There appears to be a default template at the King Power Stadium for every time Leicester City sack their manager. The “caretaker” goes 4-4-2, picks Okazaki and tells Mahrez he is the best in the world and Leicester win. Simple! The former champions beat Swansea City 2-1 giving Michael Appleton absolutely zero chance of replacing Craig Shakespeare permanently. Why not? Because that’s why.
There’s also a default template in place at West Ham United it would seem. Slaven Bilic gets all his players and staff in the changing room and there is a big hat in the middle of them all. In that hat are various formations, like 4-3-3 or 4-4-2 for example. Bilic gets a player at random to pull out a formation, and that is how they will play at the weekend. Slaven then puts the entire squad in the hat and pulls out a team one at a time. It almost sounds plausible, doesn’t it? West Ham played Brighton on Friday night. Sorry, West Ham were scheduled to play Brighton on Friday night and in the end it was only Brighton that showed up, getting the standard 3-0 win for an opposition no-show. West Ham are going down, I am saying it here and now. All the outrage about playing Javier Hernandez down the right or left and not down the middle all becomes totally irrelevant when your team isn’t anywhere near good enough to get him the ball anyway. Hell, even Sunderland managed to pass to Defoe a few times last season. All the West Ham fans that hounded Sam Allardyce out should hang their heads in shame because they wouldn’t be this bad under him.
You don’t get many goals at St Mary’s anymore, but Boufal’s was half decent in their 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion. Boufal picked the ball up in his own half, dribbled past most of the Albion side before getting into their area and netting. Only Matt Le Tissier has scored finer goals for Southampton and if Messi had scored that then the world would be bleating on about it until Ronaldo did something interesting.
Stoke City, another of my tips for relegation although I do seem to be saying six teams are going down, are now in the bottom three after losing to AFC Bournemouth who are now out of the bottom three. Finally, what was the point of beating Chelsea if you then go and lose to Newcastle United, eh Palace? The answer is no point at all. If Newcastle keep this up, there is every chance that Mike Ashley might actually be selling a club in the right half of the Premier League which is more than they were when he bought them. Still, the Geordies will still give him a fond farewell.
I leave you today with a simple question. Which of these are the most laughably bad of deals? Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Victor Lindelof, Marko Arnautovic or Gylfi Sigurdsson? At least two of them are going to cost someone their job.