Before proceeding with the rest of the column, please join me in partaking in a minute’s silence for all those who don’t like football. One, two, three.. sixty. Alright then, let’s crack on.
All season there has been talk of whether this current Manchester City side was the best ever assembled in the Premier League, even eclipsing the great Manchester United of 98/99, and Arsenal’s invincibles. Perhaps, while we are/were admiring the way they play, we also got carried away? Pep Guardiola truly had the chance to rub salt in the wounds of old nemesis Jose Mourinho last Saturday. He had the chance to win the Premier League title, at home to their neighbours. The first half was so one sided, they could have easily been up 6 nil before the break. Most of their chances fell to inept finisher Raheem Sterling, which sounds somewhat contradictory due to the 21 league goals he’s scored this season. In the words of The Daily Show host Trevor Noah, “If someone ever sends an assassin after me, I hope they send Raheem Sterling”.
And then Paul Pogba joined the party, sporting his new blue hairstyle. Apart from the pointless tricks in his own half, he was brilliant. He chipped in with two goals, and Chris Smalling redeemed himself with the winner after his mistake in the first half for Kompany’s header. It all got worse for the greatest team in the history of sport three days later in the Champions League. Liverpool headed to Manchester with a fanciable 3-0 lead, and it didn’t look so straightforward for them a couple of minutes after kick off when Gabriel Jesus tapped home. A valid, acceptable goal by Leroy Sane was then ruled out, leading to the referee to induce the full wrath from Pep Guardiola and then sending him off. With time running out, Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino ensured there would be no miracle this time round.
Anyway, Liverpool were handed a draw against Barcelona eliminators Roma. The Italians were 3-0 down from the first leg at the No Camp, so would probably have to Troy again next year. But no, the Gods of Rome shan’t allow Barca to venture through the gladiator arena victorious. And Roma would have been gladius to know they would achieve the impossible – by pulling off a 3-0 win to reach the semi finals.
Home sweet Rome.
Arsenal’s upturn in form continued with a tough 3-2 win over Southampton in front of a half empty Emirates, before Dat Guy Welbz inspired the Gunners to come from behind to seal a draw against CSKA Moscow. It looked like another exit from European football again for Arsenal, only this time in the Europa. Agor Akinfeev must be sick of the sight of Aaron Ramsey right about now. Not only did he score that fantastic goal last week, Rambo got another goal here as well. While one on one with the keeper, he chipped Akinfeev to get Arsenal’s second, which was reminiscent of his goal at Euro 2016 against Russia.
Harry Kane has had both a week to remember and forget. Following Spurs’s hard fought 2-1 win at Stoke, he incomprehensibly persuaded his club to appeal for Christian Eriksen’s goal to be chalked off and given to him. I’m still unconvinced Kane actually touched the ball, yet the appeal was still won. Is he selfish? Definitely. Although it’s a trait every top striker in the world needs. Looks like Pep had a point when he called Spurs ‘The Harry Kane team’.
Blood ‘n’ guts appears to be Rafael Benitez’s philosophy at Newcastle this season. The Georgies recorded a 2-1 victory at the Foxes, solidifying their Premier League status for next season. Ayoze Perez had bis best game for a while, but the spotlight after the match shifted to a sequence of 7 committed tackles from the Newcastle players. Stick your foot in, lads.
At another dramatic Bournemouth match, Eddie Howe once again took credit for the goal scoring impacts of his substitutes. Two of his three subs, Lys Mousset and Joshua King, rescued a point at home to Crystal Palace. Maybe he should try starting them. What was last season a ground where the away side would more than likely be facing defeat, Stamford Bridge saw another side travel home with a point or three. Cesar ‘Dave’ Azpilicueta scored the only Chelsea goal, with Chicharito striking for the Hammers. Meanwhile Joe Hart made a few saves, which to the press meant only one thing, ‘GET HIM ON THE PLANE’.
Brighton vs Huddersfield was a massive game at the bottom, and nothing could separate the two when it finished one apiece. Bottom placed West Brom vs Swansea also finished the same. And how about Burnley? They’re going on a European tour. They picked up all three points at Watford, courtesy of a Harry Kane double (Sam Vokes and Jack Cork). Sean Dyche will mastermind a 1-0 victory at the San Siro next year, mark my words.
I would review the Merseyside Derby for you, but literally nothing happened.
Have a great weekend everyone.