Did anyone doubt it was going to happen? Really? He was playing against Southampton for crying out loud, and they didn’t even pick Virgil. Harry Kane is “THE GREATEST GOALSCORER THE WORLD HAS EVER SEEN” if you believe football started in 1992 and if you also believe football can be judged in a calendar year. If you do, you’ll have been orgasming as hard as most of the people on the telly box yesterday. Kane’s achievement is pretty good in a time when there is little to get excited about English football wise above the age of 21. 39 top-flight goals in a calendar year is proper, even more so when you remember he is playing for Tottenham Hotspur and they still tend to bottle the big games. Don’t Real Madrid me, have you seen how they are doing this season? To score more goals for club and country in a calendar year than Leo Messi is also pretty exceptional, so Harry – well done. I look forward to reminiscing about this achievement when England draw 0-0 twice in their group at next year’s World Cup.
Is it wrong of me to say that the best joke I heard over the Christmas period did not come from an actual cracker but from Jose Mourinho? Manchester United came back from 2-0 down at home to Burnley to nick it 2-2 thanks to two goals from Jesse Lingard. Understandably, Mourinho saw it as two-points dropped because they are Manchester United and they were at Old Trafford and they were playing BURNLEY. Now, I do not wish to be disrespectful to Sean Dyche’s men, oh no, but I am pretty sure that Romelu Lukaku cost more than their entire squad. Which brings us on to that point, money spent. “£300m? Is not enough, is not enough”, said Jose when questioned on the fact that he had, as ever, spent a lot of dosh and wasn’t going to win the league this season. Mourinho went on to talk about another team that “spends the price of a striker on fullbacks” completely forgetting that the club in question had also signed some pretty decent strikers for the price of fullbacks – if, of course, the fullback in question is Luke Shaw. Lingard, who cost the club nothing, got a double but also managed to miss the easiest chance of the day managing to locate Nick Pope’s nostrils rather than the back of the net from half a yard out. Burnley though, still chasing down that European spot which will no doubt please the Lancashire leave voters.
I am starting to realise why Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain felt out of place at Arsenal. Liverpool had just beaten Swansea City 5-0 and he mooched into his post-match interview with Sky disappointed in himself. The Ox had scored and played pretty well, albeit against a team still mentally playing charades with the family, but he pretty much laid into himself on live TV about how he should have played better. No doubt he used to look around the Emirates changing room after Giroud celebrated a last-minute equaliser against a team Arsenal should have beaten and thought, “it might be time to move on”. Jurgen Klopp suggested he had only selected Trent Alexander-Arnold for this game because his mother had been very persuasive. The young English right-back rewarded Kloppo for his faith and scored his first Premier League goal. Yes, yes Liverpool were good and I would much rather watch them, Tottenham, Arsenal and City right now than Manchester United and Chelsea any day of the week but Swansea have quickly become the new Crystal Palace this season. Caretaker manager Leon Britton lamented “basic mistakes”. You are probably right Leon, basic mistakes like selling your two best players before the window closed and not having time to replace them. Basic mistakes like bringing in managers and not giving them enough time to do anything. Basic mistakes like letting a 35-year-old player with no coaching experience look after the team over the Christmas period because they don’t actually have a replacement lined up. Those kinds of basic mistakes.
There have been some very poor performances this season when either West Ham United or Bournemouth have been involved – think Joe Hart, Andy Carroll and from time to time some of the Bournemouth players too. However, it was very much Bobby Madley wearing the Christmas hat, swigging from the bottle of brandy and clearly just dragged away from his Christmas party to ref this game. Bournemouth scored in injury time to make the score 3-3, except (a) Callum Wilson was possibly offside and (b) he nudged it in with his arm. No problem though, as the assistant on the sideline had spotted both these facts and whacked the old flag up. Bobby sauntered over, had a chat and a mince pie before deciding that sod it, he’s going to give the goal anyway because it’s Christmas. Was this the only error Bob made? Oh no. Had Simon Francis’ tackle on Cheikhou Kouyaté happened on a rugby field questions would have been asked. I can only assume that Francis got a yellow card as that was the first one that came out of Madley’s pocket. You want more errors from this game, eh? How about Asmir Begovic falling over with the ball at his feet to allow Marko Arnautovic to score yet again. Or should we say Marko Arnoutovic? The big Austrian took to the field in the first half in a shirt with his name spelt wrong. Too much sherry all round I think.
I would imagine that Alvaro Morata and Cesar Azpilicueta spent their Christmas Day practicing crossing and heading and it clearly worked as Azpilicueta threw another cross into the box which Morata headed home to put Chelsea ahead against Brighton. I don’t know how many times this has happened, but it’s more than a couple and it’s more than Swansea have scored all season. Marcos Alonso also scored in Chelsea’s 2-0 win but, once again, there was little to really talk about at Stamford Bridge.
Whoa there Watford, less of that. Winning? You gave that up for Advent did you not? Kasper Schmeichel managed to score a bizarre own-goal to give the Hornets a much needed three points. Leicester were by far the better side and lost, something that Claude Puel correctly noticed “needs to be fixed”.
I really, really wanted Huddersfield Town to hold on to their 1-0 lead against Stoke City just to see what would have happened. Mark Hughes praised the Stoke board before the game for their “patience and letting the experts get on with their job” after the owners had spent the morning reassuring everyone everything was going to be OK. Hughes apparently kept his job by beating WBA, but what would have had happened if he had lost the next one? Either way, Stoke equalised so we will never know.
Hands up if you had West Bromwich Albion and Everton down as a dull 0-0? You little genius you. Can we all just take a moment to collectively point and laugh at Alan Pardew once more? My new wish for the rest of the season is to see WBA go down and Middlesbrough come up, as Pulisball is being taken to the Riverside. I’m tempted to send a few of the Boro fans I know videos of Juninho, Emerson, Ravenelli and Alen Boksic just to rub it in. But hey, they need Pulis up there. It was yet another clean sheet for Everton and Big Sam. I can imagine him and Little Sam sharing a Christmas Day pint of wine and a cigar, working out the master plan for keeping out West Brom. To be fair, give me a pint of wine even now and I reckon I could get a clean sheet against Pardew.