The big game on Super Sunday was unequivocally Chelsea’s game at Manchester City, hoping they would fare better than they did on the other side of Manchester a couple of weeks ago. On paper at least, it looked as though that if anyone could inflict Man City’s first defeat at home since 2016, it would be Antonio Conte’s reigning Champions. It wasn’t to be. Yet it could have been very different had Chelsea played with a number 9 and showed a bit more ambition.
Instead, they approached the game without any intention of winning. Pretty embarrassing if you ask me. Only the one goal settled it via ‘Bubblegum’, aka Bernardo Silva (apparently, he got the nickname because the ball is always stuck to his feet). At full time, there was a clip of a small passage of play that went viral, which showed the Chelsea players all walking while only 1-0 down with 20 minutes left. Inexcusable.
Arsenal’s perennial quest to wind up their own supporters for everybody else’s amusement showed no signs of coming to a halt after their dreadful showing at Brighton, where they suffered the now familiar feeling of defeat. Manager of the month Chris Hughton’s Seagulls truly overran the Gunners in the first half, with Lewis Dunk bagging the opening goal before 34 year old Glenn Murray scored the deciding goal. The former put in a brilliant performance, tormenting the Arsenal defence (not that is too difficult these days) from start to finish.
True, if Brighton had somebody quicker up front, or at least a nippy partner, then they could have put Arsenal away. While Arsenal had pushed everyone forward, Murray could only hold the ball up (although extremely well) when he was the furthest man forward. New signing Aubameyang got the consolation. Things could now be on the up for Arsenal however, after a convincing 2-0 win over AC Milan at the San Siro on Thursday night. Armenian Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s early deflected effort found itself past Donnarumma before the criminally underrated Aaron Ramsey rounded the keeper to seal the victory.
At Selhurst Park and Manchester United came out on top in a, to borrow a word from Brendan Rodgers’s vocabulary, “terrific” game of football against the depleted Crystal Palace. Former Newcastle wideman Andros Townsend has been handed the thankless task of stepping into Wilfried Zaha’s shoes while he has been out injured. And he did so on Monday when he set Palace on their way to win, before a Fergie style comeback to win 3-2 in stoppage time. Centre back Chris Smalling started things off for United, followed by Lukaku’s instinctive finish to equalise, then came the pinger from Nemanja Matic.
He noticed the ball was bouncing in front him from 30 odd yards out, saw nobody closing him down, and let one fly into the top corner away from Wayne Hennessey. The Welsh keeper is a haven for those wishing to score world class goals. He was in goal for Andy Carroll’s scissor kick at West Ham, Dimitri Payet’s loopy free kick into his corner into the top bin, Dele Alli’s touch, control and hit for Spurs, and now this. *Put’s on Lucas Leiva voice* “Unlucky“.
The trophy cabinet at Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium looks like it will need to be increased. Their Champions League hopes were crushed by The Old Lady. With a side containing a plethora of veterans, Juventus came from behind to beat Spurs 2-1 to advance to the Quarter Finals. Sure, Spurs were probably the better team over the two legs. But they lacked the know how of the Italians, who defended valiantly throughout. Gonzalo Higuain cancelled out Son’s opener before a beautiful goal from Paulo Dybala proved to be decisive.
Not even the referee was falling for Dele Alli’s dives this time. Still, at least they can now add the ‘Deserved to beat Juventus’ trophy to the cabinet, right alongside the ‘Put pressure on Chelsea’ trophy. And their week began so well, after beating Huddersfield with the brilliant ball from Harry Kane to set up Heung-Min Son’s first leaving me absolutely dumbfounded.
Meanwhile Liverpool used up their entire goal allocation for the first leg at Porto, as they shared a goalless draw on Tuesday. Jurgen Klopp was able to instruct his players to take it easy, knowing they were already through.
That’s it for this week. Have a good ‘un.