Well, if the reward for international football is a bumper week of Premier League football then I apologise to international football for all the rude things I have called it recently. What a week of action we’ve had, with some twists and turns, some slap and tickle, and some expert displays of boosting footballers’ confidence in public!
Cast your mind all the way back to the weekend, if you can. Ah, the weekend. David Moyes was just a rubbish manager back then, rather than a sexist pig who is also a rubbish manager. Chelsea thought they would give all the bookmakers who have already paid out on them winning the title a little fright at the same time as giving all the people who have tipped Palace to go down a minor heart-attack.
What was that all about Chelsea? Losing to Palace? Mind you, Zaha looked good enough for that long-awaited call-up to the England squad, eh Gareth? Oh. Also, Christian Benteke! I have never seen such a bad touch and such a good touch in the same move leading to a goal. Bravo, you are almost worth half what Palace paid for you now.
Spurs kept going as well, without drama, winning at Burnley, but that’s boring. We want to talk about Leicester, don’t we? If you thought Leicester’s owners got it wrong and still haven’t admitted you are an absolute fool then stop reading this now. I mean it, do one.
Craig Shakespeare is the first English manager to win all six of his opening Premier League duels, which is good enough to catapult him to be my favourite for “England manager sacked after dismal Euro 2020 campaign”. Two wins for the Foxes this week, plus a 30-yarder from Ndidi, yes indeedy.
If you want to go and spend money on watching Premier League football, avoid Old Trafford like the plague. And, if you didn’t back the double of two home draws for United this week then you are also a fool. Still, Jose knows whose fault it is and Luke Shaw is breathing a huge sigh of relief as, just this once, it isn’t him. Jose says his strikers are lacking in confidence. That might be because you keep telling the world they are rubbish, Jose.
Arsenal have actually had a decent week, remarkably. First, they showed some backbone to get a draw against City. Then, they turned in an impressive second half showing against the Hammers. I can only imagine that Wenger said at half time, “Lads, if we don’t win this I promise you I am signing that two-year deal”. Funnily enough, Arsenal played very well in the second half. Shocking.
They certainly had a better weekend than City, who added precisely zero points to the one gained against Arsenal, by losing to Chelsea. Chelsea were right back on the horse, snuffing out any hope that they had left the door ajar for Tottenham. Tottenham manager Pochettino said “his team have the mentality of champions” after their thrilling comeback against Swansea. The mentality maybe, Poch. Sadly you don’t have the results of champions, Chelsea do.
As for Liverpool, well they’re both unbeaten in five and still defending like a Sunday league outfit. Bravo to Wijnaldum for watching Gerrard’s pass back for England against France in Euro 2004 and doing that BT Sports segment live in the match. Liverpool did the hard thing, no not beating Everton in a derby, but getting back into the lead against Bournemouth, only to fail to take one of the ten opportunities to clear the long throw and end up with a point.
At the bottom and well, Sunderland are still doomed. Moyes claimed that “slapgate” didn’t make any different to the result in midweek. You don’t say, Dave. You lost. Had you won, I’d have thought it might have made a difference.
Middlesbrough are also doomed, and it looks like any one from West Ham, Swansea, Palace and Hull will join them. Part of me wants it to be West Ham just to see the look on Lady Brady’s face (and profit and loss analysis) yet part of me wants to see how much more pain Big Sam can take in one football season. I don’t want it to be Clem or Marco, they seem like nice boys.
So, 4th place isn’t over for Arsenal or United yet. Could you imagine Pep finishing 6th? Surely the British press might point it out in the way the would if Jose ended up there, no?