So it turns out that putting 11 men behind the ball against Manchester City (even after they’ve given you a one-goal head start) doesn’t work either. I know we’ve seen teams lose titles from this kind of position before, but shall we just call it a day now? At this rate, it will be over by Valentine’s Day anyway.
Here’s this week’s list.
#1 Gary Megson
“He’s not a Ginger Pulis! He’s not a Ginger Pulis!” they should have been chanting at Wembley. Did you spot the difference in how WBA approached the game? No, me neither. Apparently, Gary was on the phone to Tony all week, but hey. It’s his result. Megson says that being back in the dugout has “whet his appetite” to return to management and although he is going to get overlooked in favour of Alan Pardew this week, there must a be a club in trouble somewhere that could do with some good ol’ Megson grit? Maybe not in the Premier League though eh? Please.
#2 Wilfried Bony
Once upon a time, Wilfried Bony was a feared striker for Swansea City, so feared that Manchester City paid silly amounts of money for him only never to pick him. Bony has endured a torrid few seasons since becoming so rich he and his family will never have to worry again, but there was just a spark of a revival in the Swans’ 0-0 draw with Bournemouth. Bony did his bit, a cute finish going in off the bar. Nobody can blame him. Oh no. It’s all Ayew’s fault!
#3 Jose Mourinho
Jose loves being right, this we already know. So his glee was apparent after choosing the Brighton game to stick one more attacking player in the line-up than usual, only to see the system not work in the way the fans expected. “I told you, I told you!” proclaimed the Special One after the game, telling the United fans to get back in their box and leave the tactical stuff to the experts. Any hope of seeing Martial, Zlatan, Rashford, Romelu and Pogba on the same pitch seem to have just faded away.
#4 Danny Drinkwater
This was why you moved, wasn’t it Danny? To play in the big matches for Chelsea, to compete regularly for titles, to push on with your England career! Danny Drinkwater was finally reunited on a football pitch with N’Golo Kante at Anfield, the only problem being that there was a third person in the relationship now, a proper gooseberry in Bakayoko. Drinkwater has had his glory period I feel and his only at Chelsea to make up the English quota, but it was nice to see him at least get a game and for Crystal Palace fans to get a look at someone they could well end up buying in the next season or two.
#5 Mamadou Sakho
Each week that goes by where Liverpool concede a comfortable lead and their defence look like people who have just met on an internet dating site makes Jurgen Klopp’s decision to bomb out Big Mama for being late to a team meeting weirder and weirder. Sakho is one of the best centre-backs in the country and it is a complete waste of his ability to be at Selhurst Park. But, he is loved there and his last minute winner at the weekend breathes belief into the club that they might just get out of this relegation thing after all.
#6 Marco Silva
The myth of Marco being the saviour of any football club out there grows daily. Everton want him but can’t have him. Others are casting envious glances in the direction of the Portuguese manager who has managed to cobble together a random group in the name of Watford and got them doing rather well. Please stay with the Hornets Marco, just to see if (for once) the team fancies putting in a shift after Christmas. If you can get them to do that then I reckon the AC Milan gig might be all yours next season.
#7 Sam Allardyce
The last two weeks have been a masterclass in being Big Sam. Pretending to be aggrieved that Everton didn’t offer him the job on the spot, Big Sam officially withdrew from the running to be the new boss at Goodison, knowing full well that they’d come knocking again with an even bigger paycheque when the shit really started to hit the fan. Losing 5-1 to Atalanta and 4-1 to Southampton in the space of a few days is very much said shit hitting said fan, so I reckon Allardyce’s salary request might have just gone up a notch or five.