#1 Jurgen Klopp
He is a bit of a character, is Jurgen. Fresh from seeing his Liverpool side end Manchester City’s hope of an “Invincible” season he bounced to the pitchside for a post-match interview with USA broadcaster NBCSN and let the F-bomb slip within 30 seconds, having already suggested his boss was probably watching. Whatever he is doing, Klopp is entertaining to watch.
#2 Pep Guardiola
The Catalan has spent the majority of this season teaching Jose Mourinho how to win with an element of style and now he is teaching him how to lose with grace. Pep had no complaints following his side’s defeat at Anfield. He didn’t blame the referee. He didn’t blame his players. He didn’t suggest that he needed more money. He didn’t try and deflect any attention away from the fact that Liverpool were very good on the day.
#3 Ryan Giggs
So that was the job you’ve spent the last two or so years waiting for, was it Ryan? Giggs has been announced as Chris Coleman’s successor as the Wales manager. He clearly really, really wanted the job as he even went as far as interviewing for it and didn’t publically rule himself out of the running before they suggested they might be interested. I hope he has read the job spec properly though, as I would have thought being manager means you have to turn up to friendlies?
#4 Paul Lambert
I get the feeling Paul Lambert might have been as surprised as the rest of us when Paul Lambert was announced as the new boss of Stoke City. Having been turned down by Martin O’Neill, Quique Sanchez Flores, Gary Rowett, the cast of Peaky Blinders and the late Johan Cruyff, Stoke clearly turned to the next man to drive through Stoke-on-Trent. Peter Coates said, “we were impressed with Paul’s knowledge of our squad and where we could immediately improve”. Whoa there, Pete. That doesn’t make Lambert a football expert by any stretch. Most of us know what your squad is like (gutless, overpaid and unable to do it on a wet Wednesday at the not-the-Brittania-anymore). And most of us also know what you need to do to improve. Win! Still, good luck with that. It’s yet another former Champions League winner added to the ranks. He should fit in.
#5 Andy Carroll
There has to be a small part of Andy Carroll wondering if it is all a wind-up? Chelsea are being genuinely linked to the perennially-injured West Ham United number nine and the only logic I can muster is that Antonio Conte has run out of ideas to show Michy Batshuayi exactly how crap he thinks he is. I might be wrong, but Carroll has never scored more than ten Premier League goals in a season and we can assume that is because (a) he rarely manages ten Premier League games a season and (b) well, we don’t need a B. The really daft thing is that Carroll is best known for scoring with his head which is the only way Alvaro Morata seems to actually score himself. Surely they’d be better off looking for a striker that has the ability to finish one-on-one when he has time to think?
#6 Eddie Howe
I have a weird respect for Eddie Howe. I often fear he is becoming like Arsene Wenger far too young, and by that I mean so rigid in his principles that he will never change. But then, why should he? He has taken Bournemouth from the bottom to the top playing the right way and although they always look like they could get a hammering they still pick up some brilliant results along the way. Arsenal were the latest victims as Bournemouth went out and played and continued to play even after Arsenal took the lead. Keep it up Eddie and never change.
#7 The Arsenal Fans
Some of the Arsenal fans get a fair bit of stick a lot of the time. Much of the time it is fully deserved. At Bournemouth, we had examples from both ends of the stick. Firstly, the excellent chant picked up on TV of “we’re winning away, we’re winning away, how shit must you be, we’re winning away”. Of course, they weren’t winning for long leading to the post-match image of a random fan shouting and gesticulating at the fans, “RUBBISH! BOOOO! RUBBISH! RUBBISH! RUBBISH!” as Bellerin and co trotted back to the safety of a nice warm changing room, got on their luxury coach and popped home to count how much money they had earned for dropping eight points off the Champions League places.