I don’t know about you but I am truly at the mercy of the cold weather at this time of year. Wrapping up warm to venture to a night game to witness 90 minutes of long balls courtesy of Neil Warnock doesn’t exactly do much to warm anybody up. It’s literally the only time when I see a footballer wearing gloves and a snood and think to myself “Smart ass”. Where I’m going with this I have no idea, so i’ll stop myself off there and get on with the round up.
You know that whole Coutinho to Barcelona saga which dragged on until the very last day of last summer’s window? Well, it’s back. And so too is Coutinho’s injury, conveniently occurring as soon as the window opened, right up until the deal reaches a conclusion. Only this time, it looks like it’s finally happening (hurrah) sometime next week for about £140m – 150m.
One big deal already concluded was Ross Barkley’s switch to Chelsea for £15m, some £20m short of the £35m fee agreed in the summer. The boyhood Evertonian hasn’t played a single minute of football this season, explaining the fee dropping. Unlike Coutinho, I do believe Barkley has *actually* suffered from an injury.
New Liverpool record signing Virgil Van Dijk was in the stands to watch the two centre halves he’s replacing combine to snatch a 90+4 minute winner at Burnley. A free kick was met by Lovren and pounced on by Klavan. 48 hours earlier they sneaked another late 2-1 win at home to Leicester. Nobody is catching Man City, or Wolves in the Championship. Which only goes to prove once again all the action is at the bottom halves of the Premier League, and the Championship (well, more often than not in the Champ).
Second place is Liverpool’s to lose, and the battle to finish in the Champions League places are about as exciting as watching a tumble dryer spin around. It can get interesting when unfancied sides such as Everton and Newcastle make the top four, though that’s not likely to happen again for some time.A Roy Hodgson masterclass ended Man City’s winning streak, who are no longer pumping 4-5 goals a game. Crystal Palace went toe to toe with City, and probably should have nicked it, if it wasn’t for Townsend skying the ball near the goal.
Will Arsenal ever play a boring game against one of their rivals? It was an brilliant London derby at home to Chelsea on Wednesday night, finsihing two apiece. Living up to Arsenal’s name, a stoppage time equaliser from Hector Bellerin still resulted in the last of Alvaro Morata’s one on one’s. Obviously, the way his night went, he never capitalised on any of them. Somebody summed him up as Fernando Torres with Duncan Ferguson’s heading ability. Harsh but true. His solo goal at Stoke still proves he still has something special about him mind.
Two dives (Or one, depending on how you see Wilshere’s) caused the main talking points of a thrilling game to be once again overshadowed by criticisms of the standard of refereeing in the Premier League. It’s like an experienced ref could have a thousand games under his belt and still be affected by one difficult call to make, where a negative reaction from the crowd/players/coaches sets the precedent for the rest of the match. I don’t know.
I’ll leave you to think about that one. Have a good ‘un.