Welcome to my whistle-stop tour of some highlights of the busy, busy footballing week there’s been since we last spoke.
Europa League! The another brick in the wall of wall-to-wall football. But last Thursday did not disappoint. Somehow, a visiting Atalanta side to a Goodison Park filled to the rafters with empty seats managed to give an Everton team the most comprehensive of dressing-downs – despite them already having their pants firmly around their ankles. It speaks volumes that Sandro Ramirez’s goal to make it 2-1 in the 71st minute after Bryan Cristante’s brace for Atalanta, far from setting up a grandstand finish, actually paved the way towards a 5-1 demolition of the home side.
Over in Germany, bottom-of-the-Bundesliga side FC Koln welcomed Arsenal, where a Gunners side not exactly short of experienced players like Olivier Giroud, Jack Wilshere and Per Mertesacker managed to stumble over the line of qualification for the Europa League knockout stages as Group H winners. That, naturally, was in spite of a dire 1-0 defeat. Sehrou Guirassy’s penalty was the only goal that separated the teams.
Moyeseh just about made it through his first home game in charge of West Ham without being branded a “fool” or a “waste of time”, mustering a 1-1 draw with visitors Leicester.
Tottenham sent the bookies wild after conceding a very early Salomon Rondon goal at home to West Brom, and could only come up with a Harry Kane equaliser to do nothing to ease the North London derby hangover of the previous week.
Newcastle appeared to have forgotten how to play football and, specifically, how to defend, suffering a fourth consecutive defeat, this time at home to a Watford side running riot.
And Manchester United left it ‘til the second half to beat Brighton at home with a horrendously deflected shot by comeback kid of the moment, Ashley Young.
Aforementioned shitters Everton conceded their ninth goal in two games during an embarrassing 4-1 defeat away at Southampton. That was in spite of one of the sexiest strikes I’ve seen in a long time from record signing Gylfi Sigurdsson, who is currently providing his savvy bosses with an impressive return of £45 million per Premier League goal.
I hate Mondays.
A slipping Spurs side now have one point from a possible nine after leaving their shooting boots on the coach outside the King Power, managing to only convert one of their 18 attempts in a 2-1 defeat to Leicester City.
Jesse Lingard slotted a smashing solo strike to seal success and see his side stay second. Manchester United won 4-2 at Watford after the home side had clawed their way back from 3-0 to 3-2 before Lingard settled United nerves late on.
Sterling’s up against the Argentine Peso after Raheem netted a sumptuous injury time winner for Manchester City against Mauricio Pellegrino’s Southampton. It’s the fifth time this season that his goals have won points for his side, and the second Premier League game in a row he has scored a late winner.
Wayne Rooney proved that he’s more than still got it. He bagged a hat-trick – sealed by a stunning goal from the halfway line – in a 4-0 destruction of West Ham in Sam Allardyce’s first game as Everton boss in an unusual game in which both he and new West Ham manager David Moyes were facing their former clubs.
FA Cup Weekend incoming. Bring it on!