Once every so often a weekend happens in English football where nothing out of the ordinary appears. This, readers, this is one of them. United won. City won. Chelsea won. Liverpool won. Even Arsenal won. Both Palace and West Ham would have normally lost, but they were playing each other. Oh, and a group of English kids cobbled together and went and won a World Cup. As I said, a perfectly normal weekend.
So where to start in this mediocre end to October? We could go to Old Trafford I guess where Tottenham arrived without their injured strikeforce of Harry Kane and, well it’s just Harry really isn’t it? The game was quite an entertaining 0-0 until United went and did what United have done more than most teams this season and score in the last ten minutes. Jose put his finger to his lips to tell people who criticise and talk too much to “calm down”. There is absolutely zero chance dear Jose was referring to himself. As there was little else to moan about, Mourinho took aim at the Manchester United fans for not supporting Romelu Lukaku enough over the course of 90 minutes. I’d take that as meaning Jose was quietly pleased with picking up three points against a team believed to be title contenders.
Antonio Conte was not best pleased with either, with media suggestions that Carlo Ancelotti had been texted by some of his team, complaining about training. The media love to stir things up, especially when Conte always looks like he is one press conference away from storming out and heading back to Italy. But, boringly, Antonio and Carlo are good friends and there is no way the former manager is returning to replace the current one. Oh, and Chelsea beat Bournemouth 1-0.
I’m not sure if Jurgen Klopp had suddenly realised he’d left Dejan Lovren in the team to play Huddersfield and made a late change to save us all laughing at him or that Lovren genuinely did pick up an injury in the warm-up, but either way we were denied to see whether the old adage of “getting back on the horse” was relevant at Anfield. Liverpool eased past Huddersfield 3-0 and there was a rare sighting of the lesser spotted Daniel Sturridge who played, scored and is currently waiting to learn which bit of his body is now broken.
Tony Pulis had promised to try something different against Manchester City and it turned out he meant “attacking”. Of all the teams to throw off the defensive shackles against, Tony chose Pep’s City. Yet, it almost worked. Sure, City scored three just like they normally do but WBA scored two, which must have almost doubled their October tally. The Man City report at this stage of the season really must suggest that Pep is on to something rather special, but if he wants to be truly Manchester City then he needs to find a way of building up the hopes of the older fans before cruelly finding a way to throw it all away.
I actually wonder whether Arsenal do it on purpose. The atmosphere at the Emirates at halftime against Swansea had gone from quiet to awkward silence as the visitors led 1-0. Within 15 minutes of the restart, Arsenal had the game sorted, and the fans that were interested in making some noise were audibly questioning why the Gunners didn’t just to that, to begin with.
Only West Ham United could win a game from two goals down during midweek and then throw away a two-goal lead against a team that has not scored two goals of their very own this Premier League season. West Ham led against Palace, meaning they had managed to score five without reply in their last game and a bit. Clearly, this freaked them out as they contrived to grasp a draw from the hands of victory, a draw that Slaven Bilic said: “felt like a defeat”. Andre Ayew, not the most favourite of Hammers currently wearing the shirt, scored the kind of wonder goal that means defenders fear for their lives when they concede a goal like Wilf Zaha’s deep into injury time. Roy Hodgson seems to be genuinely enjoying the struggle, wheeling out the standard relegation zone cliche of “teams at the bottom need two things, character, and ability”. Personally, Roy, I feel teams at the bottom need exactly the same as every other team that plays this beautiful game – goals and clean sheets.
Claude Puel is planning to seduce Riyad Mahrez into staying at Leicester City now he has been confirmed as the new manager. If it is not too x-rated, I will keep you up-to-date with his progress. An alternative method would be to win games of football and Puel got right on with that, beating David Unsworth’s Everton 2-0. Considering Unsworth became caretaker this time last week with the battle-cry of making Everton good again by “winning football matches” his record of two played, two lost is making it more and more difficult for Keysey and Gray to justifiably say he should get the job. Not that they will need any more reason than the mere fact he is British, hey?
Speaking of British coaches, Rafa Benitez said this weekend that it was easier for an Englishman to get the England job than it was to get a Premier League job. Yes, Rafa, Gareth Southgate proves that. A Championship level manager at best managing a Championship level side.
Brighton and Southampton pretended they were some kind of derby match long enough to draw 1-1. They are doing alright Brighton, and look! An Englishman is in charge. Someone tell Keys and Gray.
Finally, Troy Deeney is fast becoming known for things that aren’t completely related to playing football as he managed to kick off a bit of handbags at the weekend, this following his assessment of Arsenal the other week. Either way, Stoke won 1-0 from a cleverly worked set-piece. Hang on, didn’t they appoint Mark Hughes to change all that?