Apologies for the absence of last week’s column. I was completely snowed under with three University assignments all due the same day. And as you could imagine, it was a bit like the whole David De Gea fax machine fiasco. Only this time, I submitted the work in time. Have that, Manchester United.
Let’s begin with the appalling nature Watford owner Gino Pozzo treats the managers. The club now have a new name in temporary charge in the Spaniard Javi Garcia, before they move onto someone else tasked with the moderate target of at least qualifying for the Champions League. That is because they sacked Marco Silva earlier this week, citing a deterioration in form as the reason behind their decision. His first difficult spell in charge and he’s gone. Ridiculous.
And it’s fair to say it has left us all feeling a bit shocked and discombobulated when we really should be used to Watford’s familiar managerial trend by now. This is the same Marco Silva who was the subject of an approach by Everton earlier on in the season, where the club had rejected a £10m compensation package.
Reacting to the news, Gary Neville instantly tweeted (as is the norm) ‘a rule change is required to moderate sackings of managers mid-season in their first year at a club.’ Yes. Yes. And yes again. Make it happen. And let’s call it the ‘Watford Rule’, because I suffer from a severe lack of originality.
Monday Night Football served us up with bottom of the table Swansea versus a Liverpool side fresh from their dismantlement of Manchester City. It came as no surprise then, when Swansea won 1-0 due to an instinctive Alfie Mawson effort. The Reds dominated the game, yet got nothing for their efforts. Having created several chances right up until the very end, they had one last chance to earn a draw after Virgil Van Dijk’s (Who started cross to celebrate as soon as the ball left his boot) cross to Firmino saw the bright teethed Brazilian hit the woodwork.
New Swansea head coach Carlos Carvalhal has earned a reputation as a bit of a poet since his arrival in the Premier League. And post-match, his latest words of poetic wisdom were “We’re still in the hospital, but now we are able to take visitors!”. And it didn’t stop there. He also likened the win over Liverpool to stopping a Formula One car in London traffic.
Elsewhere on Monday, a good deal for both Arsenal and Manchester United ensued with Alexis Sanchez and Henrikh Mkhitaryan changing clubs. They both gain players who fit the mould of their new clubs, and it also allows some of the cash Arsenal will save from Sanchez’s hefty salary to find a decent centre-half within the next two windows. New Greek defender Konstantinos Mavropanos could come good, although he’s only a youngster.
We now know who will be competing in the League Cup final next month. Antonio Conte’s pretty unimpressive record against Arsene Wenger continued after seeing Chelsea bow out of the semi-final with a 2-1 defeat. They didn’t have Alvaro Morata to blame on this occasion for losing at the Emirates. But don’t feel sorry for the Chelsea fans. Oh no, spare a thought for the Arsenal fans who have to endure another cup final under Arsene Wenger’s reign. Hashtag Wenger out and all that.
In the other tie, Manchester City breezed through the Championship’s Bristol City (eventually) after another Kevin De Bruyne masterclass saw them earn a 3-2 victory. In truth, the scoreline flattered the home team. But Cardiff could learn something from how they kept the score down, while also posing a threat in the limited time on the ball they were afforded.
At least I hope so. I have a ticket to watch the FA Cup game against Man City on Sunday and I’ll be heading there with trepidation.
Onto next week.