Kieran Davies shrugs off the international ennui and relishes a week of clock-punching, free hits, and famous last words.
Walking through the gates, ‘I don’t want to be here, I want to be somewhere else! The nights are getting darker earlier, the temperature is dropping and I just want to be with them.’ As he gets changed into his work clothes, mainly red, he trudges off to another day of the daily churn of doing a job you don’t want to do. Everyone is looking at him, he’s been off for a while on the sick, lots of signatures required to explain that absence. His work colleagues seem pleased to see him, even the boss is smiling at him. They know that he wants a new job; they know he wants to leave. ‘Why are they being so nice? What are they up to?’ he wonders. ‘There’s no chance of me getting that new job now’, he thinks to himself. ‘I’m pretty sure they got some guy in from Germany to do the job’. ‘Life sucks’ he thinks. As he leaves work in his car, the image of the building he has to spend his days getting smaller and smaller in his rear-view mirror, he just thinks how different life could be. ‘Chin up Phil, good things happen to good people’ he reassures himself. We can all relate to this feeling but this is not somebody forcing themselves into the humdrum of another day punching the clock in a job they despise for measly pay, this is a Brazilian footballer on £150k a week to play one, maybe two games a week at a push. Meet Phil Coutinho.
Well, he will get to stay at home this weekend and watch Saturday Kitchen with the family this weekend as Jurgen Klopp decided he was not match-fit enough to be included in the matchday squad. Let’s hope there is a lovely tapas dish for him to salivate over. Currently, he does not warrant a place in a team that is doing very well. This weekend Herr Klopp’s side travel to Manchester to face the blue side of the city. Fourth versus second, unbeaten records on the line. Klopp got the better of Guardiola over the course of last season’s meeting and will hope his new look Liverpool team are perfectly set up for this game. City will have to attack and like a fly into a spider’s web, that is just what Klopp wants. As soon as that happens his team will hit them with waves of pacy counter attacks looking to tear Pep’s side apart through the middle and flanks. Will this new look but still untested City defence be able to cope with seemingly one of the most fluid attacks in the league? We shall see! With their local rivals travelling to Stoke for a tricky game, this could be the weekend where former Oasis frontmen are singing from the top of their lungs should City win and United lose.
United are everyone’s title tips after the early encounters of the season, but there is a long way to go. Injuries, dips in form and genuine bad luck still have a big part to play in this season no doubt. If Jose’s side are going to be strong candidates for the title, Stoke is the sort of place they need to go and come away with all three points. If Coutinho thinks he has it bad at the moment, he needs to spare a thought for Arsene Wenger. Literally the most hated man in parts of London since there was a ripper on the loose, yet again Arsenal fans call for the manager’s head. Ironic really that they call for a Frenchman to lose his head, craving their own little revolution where the hierarchy is reconstructed. A defeat against Bournemouth at home this weekend and I think we will all have to agree that Wenger may be on borrowed time. Maybe a pivotal factor in this game could be whether he decides to play his £50m striker against Howe’s team. This is a free hit for them as it is no doubt not a game they highlighted as a must win game.
Brighton are looking to build upon the solitary point they have so far facing unbeaten West Brom at home. One thing Hughton’s side can be sure of is that any team coached by Tony Pullis will be tough to break down and they will have to work hard for any points they are going to earn this weekend. Ronald Koeman will be hoping his Everton team can drive a stake into the title charge of Pochettino’s Tottenham this weekend. This will be the only type of driving that Wayne Rooney will be doing for a while that is for sure! Maybe he can repay the home faithful with a man of the match performance against a Spurs side he always tends to perform well against. Tottenham have a mixed bag of results and have yet to win at their new home Wembley so maybe a trip to Goodison Park, a ground they have done well at recently, is just the tonic they need to take their mind off this. The home fans will be hoping to be drunk on vintage Rooney performance.
Leicester City will feel they have been better than their results so far this season, unlucky not to come away with anything from their trip to Arsenal. Chelsea, the visitors, have now got two ex-Leicester midfielders in their ranks with both Drinkwater and Kante playing their trade in West London. Conte will be hoping to build on their two recent wins to take the pressure off the champions start and opening day defeat. Southampton face Watford with both teams boasting unbeaten starts to the season. Hopefully, both sides will look to go and win this one and won’t be worrying more about preserving unbeaten starts as this could prove to be a real damp squib. Burnley find themselves contently in mid-table after three games and even this early in the season can put real distance between themselves and fellow basement strugglers Crystal Palace with a win in this fixture. The is on De Boer with Palace sitting in the bottom three, pundits and ex-managers saying they have too much firepower to go down. Famous last words.
Swansea entertain Rafa’s Newcastle on Sunday with Clement hoping The Magpies dismal away form continues. Unless they turn things around, you are more likely to get a hassle-free cash refund on a product at Sports Direct than you are seeing a Newcastle away win. Both find themselves at the wrong end of the table but with things being so tight, three points can change a team’s standing in the table quite drastically. Huddersfield will be looking to cement their Champions League spot with a win at West Ham. Sources are saying Bilic is one defeat away from the sack, the last thing he wants this weekend is to face the real surprise package of the Premier League so far. Things haven’t gone too well for West Ham at home ever since relocating to the London Stadium, the fear factor of the cauldron that was Upton Park is no more and away teams take points away with way too much ease. By the end of Monday evening the table could look very different, managers may be out of employment and no doubt referees will be scrutinised but never held accountable for errors. Another unpredictable weekend in the Premier League.