Thirty years ago this month Manchester City beat Huddersfield Town 10-1 back when neither team was really very good. Of course, most of Pep’s Army won’t remember this as they’ve only been interested in the club since switching from Chelsea in about 2009 but the kind of City fan that was in Yorkshire on a cold Sunday afternoon was fully aware of the fact, especially when Huddersfield fans politely enquired, “where were you when you were ****?” Er, “beating you 10-1 folks, that’s where” was the reply in not so many words. Another nostalgic fact – Manchester City had not come from behind at half-time away from home to win the in the Premier League since 1995. Well, scoring 60 seconds after the restart helps and taking off a centre back and throwing on Gabriel Jesus helps too. Other teams from Manchester have lost in Huddersfield this season, don’t forget. The 1-2 win, City’s 11th league win in a row, leaves Pep’s team eight points clear at the top of the table.
Jose practically beamed, his eyes saying “the fans wanted more attackers, so I played more attackers and look what happened!” Mourinho loves being right he has manufactured the perfect reason for United to go back to playing the type of football that he knows is best for him and maybe Manchester United. Brighton deserved more from Old Trafford, but deserving a point doesn’t always lead to a point. Having made one of the best double saves of the season, Mathew Ryan can feel particularly hard done by as Ashley Young, of all people, managed to score via a massive deflection of Dunk.
“I’m happy with a point,” said Jurgen Klopp wearing very much the expression of a manager that has zero confidence in his team holding on to a lead. Having managed to draw from 3-0 up against Sevilla in the week, nobody was really convinced that Liverpool could keep Chelsea out for 90 minutes at Anfield. Mo Salah scored and celebrated in a mark of respect for the people who lost their lives in Egypt over the weekend. Willian scored and celebrated in a way that made it pretty clear that it was a cross. Still, Chelsea “dominated” the game according to Antonio Conte. Eh? Anyway, enough of that Antonio – what happened to your beard?
The “Greatest Team in the World” haven’t really been that great since taking the title off Real Madrid in that famous night at Wembley. Sure, Tottenham beat Borussia Dortmund in the week but what are Dortmund these days? They threw away a 4-0 half-time lead to Schalke this weekend after all. Gary Megson might be unsure as to what “banter” is as he returned to the dugout after what feels like three decades away, but he will have been delighted to have left Wembley with a point tucked under his arm. He claims not to be a ginger version of Tony Pulis, which is a good thing we believe. Either way, Harry Kane saved Spurs and Alan Pardew will be in the WBA hot seat before long. Megson did say after the match that this “has whetted the appetite” so maybe he can be added to the shortlist of managers to call in a crisis, especially as Big Sam Allardyce doesn’t seem to be too bothered to get back into work.
Sean Dyche can now be ruled out of “all the big jobs”. He let English managers down the world over by going for broke against Arsenal, throwing on a second striker with ten minutes to go. How dare Burnley believe they can push hard for a win against Wenger’s men? They were duly punished with a controversial last-minute penalty which Alexis Sanchez slotted home. That’s two pretty big Premier League wins in a row for Arsenal though, both of which being matches you could have seen them losing. What odds on them losing to Huddersfield on Wednesday?
With all Liverpool’s defensive woes, they could do worse to look at Crystal Palace centre-back Mamadou Sakho as a potential saviour. Only joking, of course. Klopp decided having a heart attack every time the opposition gets a corner is a better way of life than forgiving Sakho for being late to a team meeting and the Frenchman is pivotal once more to any hope Palace have of staying in the Premier League. It was he who scored very, very late in their 2-1 win over Stoke City in a match that completely sums up the present day Stoke. Yes, Shaqiri scored an excellent goal but excellent goals don’t guarantee points. Ruben Loftus-Cheek equalised almost immediately, meaning the wondergoal was even less relevant and Palace deserved the three points they got. Could they get out? They could, especially with how some of the other sides are playing.
If Swansea City are having to point at a 0-0 draw with Bournemouth at home as a plus point, then Swansea City are in big trouble. Yes, it stopped four defeats on the bounce becoming five but is that what people live for? Swansea are horribly out of form, and when you are out of form you don’t get goals like Wilfried Bony’s. Sure, it wasn’t a foul but that is what happens when you are down there.
Newcastle United’s players are currently doing everything they can to drive the value of the club down so someone might buy it. There is an offer on the table but it has more clauses than Santa and is far from guaranteed to go through. In the meantime, Rafa is sitting there looking at a team getting bullied 3-0 by Watford knowing that every week nearer the transfer window that the club remains unsold equals one less player he is going to be able to bring in in January. Newcastle are not in league crisis at all (yet) but another couple of defeats in the next few games and they might be. As for Watford, they like losing a manager after a short spell but normally they get to make that call. Can they keep Marco Silva?
The way things are going at Everton, they should try and get a refund on Gylfi Sigurdsson and throw the money at the Portuguese manager. Everton lost 1-5 in the Europa League and headed to Southampton knowing that the Saints don’t score too often at St Mary’s. Well, until they face Everton that is. The question is, other than the obvious answer of a bucket full of cash, why would Silva want to leave a Watford side doing very well to take over an Everton side that are, frankly, woeful right now? Southampton are not even the best side on the South Coast currently and they strolled past the Toffees who really do need to call time on the Unsworth period if they are to have any hope of turning this round before Christmas. Losing 1-5 with a reserve team in the Europa League you are already out of is one thing, getting done 4-1 by Southampton is something else entirely.
David Moyes managed to avoid defeat in his first home game as West Ham manager and, as hard as this is to type, West Ham looked like they improved as the game went on against Leicester City. Sure, there was the usual comical defending that led to Leicester taking the lead but the Hammers actually rolled up their sleeves, dug in and went about getting an equaliser and not throwing it away. Could this be the beginning of a Moyes revival?
We are all lucky so and so’s this week as we get a midweek dollop of Premier League action. Who says Christmas cannot come early?