The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Status Quo

Anyone else getting bored by the consistent excellence on show from the blue side of Manchester? Or by the unrelenting pursuit that the two teams below them have embarked upon? Come on, fellas. Drop a point or three, make things interesting. Look at the two North London clubs for inspiration! With that in mind, let us take a look at the events of the weekend that flew by.

The Good

The Late Show With Pep Guardiola: Manchester City have been put under a lot of pressure by their opponents these past few weeks. West Ham tried it too, only to have their hopes of grabbing a point dashed at the very end. Maybe this is how the puppy feels when you dangle a treat in front of it and snatch it away the moment they jump for it.

Manchester United: Everyone expected Jose to park the bus at The Emirates, but instead it was an Airbus that came flying at Arsenal and knocked them out of the park.

Jesse Lingard: Despite his brace, the best thing about him remains the fact that his name rhymes with Messi.

David De Gea: He could save the POTUS from himself, that’s how good he is.

The Allardyce Effect: That didn’t take long now, did it? Everton may have sold their soul by reverting to Allardyccio, the distant cousin of Catenaccio, but they’re guaranteed to stay up now. It’s just their fans who’ll be having trouble staying up watching their football.

Liverpool: Scoring five goals will get you a place on this list. Not conceding four also helps.

Leicester City: Puel-ing clear of immediate danger, if you could pardon the pun.

Mark Hughes: The last time I wrote about Mark Hughes, I mentioned his team’s slide towards the relegation zone. Well, as it tends to happen after I predict imminent doom, Hughes’ Stoke City side ran out winners against Swansea, lifting them as high as 13th in the table.

Eden Hazard: He was okay, I guess. Even Lingard scored a brace, so it’s no big deal.

The Bad

Arsenal: What did I tell you? Let me refresh your memory – ‘No one quite manages to raise expectations before the inevitable trip-up like Arsenal do’. Against United, they did everything but convert a few out of the hundreds of chances created by their “lazy” playmaker. When they’re not firing blanks or shooting their own foot, Arsenal seem to relish the opportunity to use a sawed-off shotgun when a sniper rifle is required.

Tottenham Hotspur: Well, this is not going according to plan. The team touted as legitimate challengers for the title can’t buy a win at the moment. Just goes to show, all that pressure doesn’t always produce diamonds. Sometimes you get a turd.

Burnley: The chip on Sean Dyche’s shoulder grows heavier with each passing day, as vacancies for bigger jobs came and went, while he remained firmly attached to Burnley. It seems to be taking a toll on him, and it might not be long before the Clarets find themselves on a more familiar trajectory.

Paul Clement and Swansea: Surely that’s it for Clement? Swansea now prop up the table, with luminaries such as West Ham and Palace above them. While Allardyce is fighting fires at Merseyside, there are not too many options available that could give them a realistic chance of survival. Time to turn to Tony Pulis and his cap, then.

West Ham: There’s nothing new to say here. Their fate was sealed when they turned to Moyes. It’s like preferring a slow death by poison than a swift gunshot to the head.

Crystal Palace: They may get relegated, they may lose their best players but they’ll always have the record for failing to score in ten (yes, TEN) back-to-back away games in a season.

The Ugly

Paul Pogba: No, not just for getting sent off for violent conduct, but for suggesting that City’s players ought to get injured more. Here’s the quote in full – “I hope – and it’s bad to say things like this – but I hope they will get some very important players injured like what happened with us”. Maybe the stamp on Bellerin wasn’t intentional, but when a player says something like this before a match and gets sent off, it reaffirms one’s belief in the concept of Karma.