#1 Fixture Schedulers
The first of two computer-based groups of people getting a big round of applause today. Well done, indeed. Leaving the best until the very last is a fine skill to possess, but not an easy one to master. Having sat through the dullness of Sheffield Wednesday and Swansea City, followed by Huddersfield Town and Manchester United it was great to end the round with Rochdale and Tottenham Hotspur looking like they played each other every week and Wigan Athletic doing it like it was 2013 (and 2014). Nobody minds a slow start if it finishes with a bang!
#2 Wigan Athletic
Let’s give them all the credit they deserve, right here, right now. I have to admit, when Nick Powell limped off in the first half I said to myself, “well that’s their tiny chance gone then” and how wrong I was. I’d forgotten to take into account that Wigan Athletic always seem to beat Manchester City in the FA Cup. The 2013 Final was a shock, this was utterly unthinkable and Will Grigg will now be able to rake in some more royalties on the single released in his name.
#3 Claudio Bravo
Staying with the match just a smidgen longer, has anyone ever seen Claudio Bravo save anything that wasn’t a penalty? No, didn’t think so. Sure, Pep gets credit for unearthing Ederson for a mere £34m but never forget he signed Bravo twice.
#4 Ian Henderson and Steve Davies
There is not a lot better than watching a lower league strike partnership making muppets of an expensively assembled Premier League backline. I think it is fair to say that Juan Foyth won’t have played against too many players like Ian Henderson who refused to give him a moment’s rest to be that pretty-little-ball-player from the back that everyone thinks is in fashion. And you can imagine his face when he saw Steve Davies bundle on to the pitch, looking like he’d just finished a shift at the factory and still had crumbs from his pie around his lips. But, aesthetically pleasing or otherwise, both Henderson and Davies found the back of the net against Tottenham and will now get to look like fishies out of water at Wembley.
#5 Paul Pogba
Come on now, we’ve all had a row with our boss and considered not showing up to the next meeting. Credit to Paul Pogba, he actually went through with it, calling in sick ahead of United’s trip to Huddersfield. Jose was not happy, and I think we can all start to place bets on where Pogba will be playing his football next season.
#6 The person who paints the lines for VAR
Come on now, we’ve all gone back to the office after a couple of pints at lunchtime and regretted it. However, doing that when you know you are in charge of making sure some very important lines are nice and straight is one hell of a risk, so fair play to this person. Juan Mata was called offside, mainly because the line was so squiggly it looked like Mr Tickle’s arm.
#7 Alan Pardew
Alan likes to pretend he is “furious” with the boys that nicked a taxi, but deep down he is relieved. They’ve just given him the perfect excuse to lose the next five in a row, which he was likely to do anyway.