Barely does an uneventful week go by in the Premier League and last weekend was no exception, in fact, it spewed up its fair share of controversy. We saw hooliganism return to the game but in a new stadium, we saw someone show off his ability to make saliva and we saw that what you lack in managing capability, you can’t make up with height.
3. Mauricio Pellegrino
Football fans of the world, but especially those hailing from Southampton, be careful what you wish for. This time last year, the Saints sat comfortably in the top half and had just reached their first cup final for 14 years but complained about how boring Claude Puel’s football was. By popular demand, Puel was sacked and replaced by former Alaves manager Mauricio Pellegrino. The 6ft 4in Argentine has overseen a drastic fall from grace for one of the league’s most heralded clubs for the way they continue to perform despite losing their best players. After a 3-0 defeat to Newcastle on Saturday in which Pellegrino’s side produced a turgid display for the fans that had travelled the entire length of England and the manager was duly sacked on Monday night. The big question is, why did it take the club so long to get rid of this substandard coach when it was clear he wasn’t good enough for the Premier League.
2. Jamie Carragher
After a distinguished playing career for Liverpool, Carragher moved in the studio with Sky Sports and has become one of the most respected pundits in the industry. This week he was suspended by the TV company after spitting from his car into another one while driving home from Liverpool’s defeat at Old Trafford on Saturday. The driver of said car was filming himself taunting Carragher through his car’s passenger seat window and I think it’s fair to say he was enjoying it. Carragher then proceeded to spit, quite a large amount of saliva I must say, across into the other car, covering the driver’s teenage daughter who was sat in the passenger seat. Carragher has since apologised to those involved and, despite his suspension from Sky, slightly rescued his reputation. Maybe he isn’t the wally after all, because the taunting driver has since been the subject of a police investigation for the use of a mobile phone whilst driving.
1. West Ham United
I’m not really sure who to blame directly for this mess but I’ll stick to targeting the club in general. What a state West Ham have become. At the weekend, they went down 3-0 at home to Burnley and are sitting precariously above the relegation zone – a position in stark contrast to that promised to the fans by the owners when the club moved to the London Stadium two years ago. The loyal West Ham home crowd have been simmering all season with discontent and you’ll struggle to find one fan who prefers the new ground to Upton Park so it was no surprise to see the stadium boil over when Burnley started finding the net during the second half.
Ashley Barnes rifled the Claret’s first goal in and the stadium, with its dodgy acoustics, erupted in anger with banners protesting against David Gold and David Sullivan (the co-owners) being unveiled in some areas. The security at the London Stadium has been questioned in the past and this time the weak security around the edge of the pitch could do nothing to stop a few fans invading the field with one being attacked by captain Mark Noble in incredible scenes. In the absence of any sort of stewarding on the pitch, invaders were escorted off by James Collins and I wouldn’t want to argue with him to be fair. One fan managed to pick up and corner flag and insisted on planting it on the centre spot while both sets of players looked on in a mixture of anger and disbelief.
The focus then turned off the players and towards the owners, sat in their comfortable directors’ box and watching the events unfolding. A mob of furious fans gathered below the box and began hurling abuse at Gold and Sullivan before the owners were escorted out of the firing line for their safety. Much of the directors also retreated inside which left Trevor Brooking sat on his own, like the valiant club legend he is, and stared into what his club had become. The visitors managed two more goals before the final whistle but must’ve feared more for their safety than their three points.