We have had quite a week haven’t we? English football is in a very good place at the moment. The England youth teams conquered the world in the summer, with the successful teams clearly possessing some genuine talent for the future. Although it’s not quite the same, the Premier League’s psychological problems in European football appears to be ending, after our top flight boasted five teams through to the knockout stages for the first time.
So folks, there is only one place to start. At the Hawthorns, for jWest Brom vs Crystal Palace. The score? 0-0. Alan Pardew’s first game in charge of his new club. Well, obviously I won’t be expanding any further on that. You know how those huge games where there there is a colossal amount of build up, only for it all to be in vain and we suffer ninety minutes of boredom instead? Arsenal vs Manchester United had all the hallmarks of becoming another one of those.
How wrong was i on this one?! Arsenal huffed and puffed, created chance after chance, dominated possession and territory. And it finished 3-1 to Man Utd. It came after what pundits are calling ‘one of the best performances by a goalkeeper they have ever seen’, courtesy of some sheer freak saves from the United supporters’ lord and saviour, David De Gea. So despite De Gea making the most saves ever in a Premier League match with 14, naturally two goal man Jesse Lingard picked up the man of the match.
I can only presume his Milly Rock dance swayed whoever casted the vote. The game was bonkers, from start to finish. It all stemmed from a mistake from Shkodran Mustafi, which then allowed United to execute their counter attacking game plan to even more perfection.
Since Big Sam was appointed the new manager at Everton, they have yet to lose. His presence is so great, the Toffees won their first game after he was confirmed as the new boss, while he was watching from the sidelines. He also missed Thursday night’s 3-0 win in Cyrpus over Apoel Limassol because of a ‘pre-arranged medical appointment’. He is still producing his magic at 63, and their 3-0 victory on the weekend over Huddersfield suggests they are getting stronger.
In the Champions League, Manchester City were defeated by Shakhtar Donetsk out in Ukraine, to pile further pressure on under-fire boss Pep Guardiola. Joking aside, is he not comfortably the best manager in the game right now? He’s already been taking a leaf out of Jose Mourinho’s book by playing mind games. Earlier in the week he claimed David Silva was injured, putting him out of contention for the Manchester derby on Sunday. Friday afternoon and he’s deemed fit. That’s news.
Elsewhere, and Spurs have decided to do something about being dubbed the nearly men for challenging for titles without succeeding. and put all their focus on European competition. After the fortunate 1-1 draw at Watford on Saturday, they bounced back with a 3-0 win over Apoel Nicosia. Even Fernando Llorente got himself onto the score sheet. Chelsea shared a decent enough 1-1 draw at home to Atletico Madrid, and Man Utd’s Marcus Rashford’s goal drought ended when they came from behind to beat CSKA Moscow.
However, Liverpool riled old nemesis Roy Keane even further when they absolutely destroyed Spartak Moscow by seven goals to nil. The ex-Ipswich Town boss previously said he would draw the blinds if Liverpool were playing football in his back garden. Must have found them pretty boring then. Penny for his thoughts now? Speaking of Ipswich and Roy Keane, a word of advice if you’re ever attending a Roy Keane press conference, keep your phone on silent. Anybody else remember the reporter getting a talking to for allowing his phone to ring while Keano was speaking?