We all knew it was coming. We are all surprised it came when it did. What are we talking about? #1 will no doubt explain.
#1 Alan Pardew
There’s got to be some weird betting syndicate reason to make sense of the logic behind sacking Alan Pardew now. It cannot just be because he was sacked by Palace the day before Christmas and WBA thought it would be funny to sack him the day after Easter. Pardew has been sacked on many different days, after all. Alan said he “felt he had taken the team as far as he could,” which, quite frankly was down/backwards/not-very-far-at-all. I’ll let you choose which one suits you best. Pardew talked of taking the shackles off after the PulisBall years. PulisBall would not have sent the club down into oblivion. The returning CEO said he was shocked at the wage bill considering the position. Trust me, sir. It will shock you more when you have that wage bill in the Championship. Get on the phone to Nigel Pearson, he is modern, forward thinking and dying to get back into England. OK, he is the last one.
#2 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
You know what tells me that Yo-Pierre is not a proper goalscorer? And by proper goalscorer, I mean someone like Alan Shearer, Gary Lineker, Harry Kane, Robert Lewandowski et al. Pierre was on a hat-trick against Stoke City when Arsenal were gifted another penalty. A ‘proper’ goalscorer takes that penalty, scores, grabs the match ball and buggers off home to watch videos of all the goals he has scored in his life. He does not give the ball to the striker competing for the same shirt and let him take it. Alexandre Lacazette scored. Of course, he did. There was nothing riding on it.
#3 Arsene Wenger
Staying with Arsenal (shocking I know, seeing that they actually won), was the weekend a glimpse into what the future could actually look like for the Gunners? Arsene Wenger was, if we believe the spin, unable to give the pre-match team talk due to his poorly throat. Now, we can decide where we go next. One theory is that Steve Bould took over and Arsenal were awful for the first 45 minutes before Wenger sorted them out at half-time through a mix of hand signals, semaphore and sending messages into the WhatsApp group. Or, Bouldy gave them the kicking they needed at half-time leading to that much improved second half. Shall we say it was the former?
#4 Antonio Conte
“I am not worried,” claims Antonio when talking about his job. Of course, he isn’t. He’s going to get sacked, paid off and walk into the Parc de Princes with a £10m a year deal weighing him down. And, better still, he has excuses coming out of his ears that almost make sense. Chelsea have been shocking in the transfer windows since they won the title last season. And if you don’t strengthen when you are strong it will be too late when you are weak. Conte doesn’t care. He barely wanted to be there when they were on that winning streak last season.
#5 Mark Hughes
Surely the experience at Stoke City would have made it wise to avoid red and white stripes for a while? It took Sparky approximately 17 minutes at the Athletics Stadium to feel satisfied he had fully implemented his defensive philosophy at Southampton. West Ham led 2-0 and, yet again, it was Marko Arnautovic managing to serve some cold revenge to his former manager. You really have to worry about a board of directors that looked at the managers they could recruit and opted for Hughes. He’s taken Stoke down this season and he’s going to do the same to the Saints.
#6 Glenn Murray
Randomly, following Glenn Murray being done for alleged tax fraud he went on a delightful little goal-scoring spree that suggested he might need the goal bonus or something. Some crazy fools were suggesting he could make a late bid to be in the England squad for Russia. His goals were giving Brighton fans hope they could stay up. We have seen some important penalties missed this season – Benteke and Milivojevic at Palace and Charlie Adam at Stoke for example, but this was right up there. 12 minutes to go, Murray has a chance to probably grab all three points. 12 minutes later, Leicester City have won 2-0. Ouch.
#7 Dele Alli
Gareth Southgate doesn’t seem to fancy Dele Alli. He thinks he cannot play without Harry Kane. Others have been suggesting Alli doesn’t have a tournament temperament, that he is too hot-headed. So what better way to get all those idiots to shut up by scoring the two goals that mean Tottenham have finally beaten Chelsea in a Premier League match at Stamford Bridge?