Kieran Davies on seven days of tub-thumping, gangster tripping, and Super Frank.
‘This time next year we’ll be champions!’ No this isn’t Del Boy’s new catchphrase this is the incantation being repeated by Man Utd fans currently almost trying to convince themselves more than anyone. If you believe that, you’ll probably have already had the Daily Mail convince you this week that you should be living in fear of ISIS of who are being controlled by gigantic spiders as a result of an overly mild summer this year in Britain.
Meanwhile back on planet earth, it was another manic weekend of action in the Premier League. Liverpool failed to deliver again with a poor performance against Sam Allardyce’s West Ham. Rodgers made an early substitution deciding to tear up his intended tactics after falling 2-0 down after only 7 minutes. You’ve got to wonder whether Djimi Traore is currently employed as Liverpool’s defence coach as last season’s fragile back four has seemed to have got worse so far this season. There’s no intensity to their play and it seems to have been replaced with sidewards and backwards passing. Yes there are number of new additions, but football is football whatever continent you set foot on that grass. Despite seeing a lot of possession in the second half the Hammers ran out 3-1 winners. Reds fans will be hoping the added incentive of a Merseyside derby will spur their team on to a win that could act as a springboard to their season. Defeat would be deflating and unthinkable against a side who last won when Kevin Campbell scored the winner.
Arsenal blitzed Paul Lambert’s Aston Villa with a devastating four minutes which led to three quickfire goals which was too much for the home side to come back from. Ronald Koeman continues to impress in his reign as Southampton manager with a solid 1-0 victory at Swansea a ground no team finds easy to win at. QPR played Stoke, Burnley played Sunderland and Newcastle played Hull seeing all three games end in a draw doing none of the teams many favours in the table. Burnley fans would feel most hard done by as the other two games ended in Desmonds compared to the 0-0 at Turfmoor. Four of those teams occupy the bottom four positions in the table now with Pardew’s Newcastle stealing that stop much to the displeasure of the Geordie faithful. The calls for the manager’s head continue but it seems Mike Ashley has patience and confidence in his ability to turn this around.
Super Sunday well and truly lived up to its billing this weekend much to delight of most fans up and down the country. Van Gaal’s Man Utd found themselves 3-1 up at Leicester including a sublime chip by Angel Di Maria and if you had asked a bookie for the odds on a 5-3 victory, he could be forgiven for ringing around the local mental institutions to see if anyone is missing you. Unbelievably, the side who splashed out in excess of £150m in the summer folded with more ease than Akira Yoshizawa, the world origami champion. Pearson’s side fired four unanswered goals as United collapsed to the newly promoted side. Esteban Cambiasso got his first goal for Leicester, yes Leicester fans you’re not gangster tripping, Esteban Cambiasso plays for you! A lot of credit has to go to Jamie Vardy who really gave Van Gaal’s ‘defence’ the run-around.
The surprise results just kept coming with Spurs losing at home to Steve Clarke’s West Brom. No-one really saw that one coming with West Brom struggling to keep sides out up until now. Worryingly for the home faithful their team only managed one shot on target in 90 minutes of football. The season is still young so a good run can undo any defeats this early on but the way results are going it seems like all teams will suffer shock defeats throughout a competitive season.
Everton had the chance to climb up the table thanks to other results at home against Crystal Palace. Most people were expecting to see a comfortable home win but under estimate Warnock’s side at your peril. Everton took the lead early on through Lukaku and credit has to be given to Palace as it would have been easy to fall to a heavy defeat after this but they rolled their sleeves up and dragged themselves back into the game with an equaliser against the run of play just before half time. After they took the lead they never looked back and even stretched their lead only to be pegged back by a Leighton Baines goal. The last ten minutes was a real ‘backs up against the wall’ performance which Warnock will be proud to have kept out Martinez’s side. The last thing you want in this scenario though is 7 minutes of stoppage time and all the Palace players were relieved to hear the final whistle. Warnock must be loving this return to football but the experienced manager will know there is a long road ahead.
The big game of the weekend was Jose Mourinho taking his unbeaten Chelsea to face Pellegrini’s Man City. The champions really came out of the blocks and took the game to Chelsea and looked to rock Jose’s side. At the other end Vincent Kompany showed his experience and marshalled Diego Costa well for most of the game. Despite all their attacking threat Man City had to cope with Chelsea’s counter attacks with their wealth of attacking talent. Mourinho will have felt he yet again got one over his adversary when sub Andre Schurrle put his side ahead after some great play from Eden Hazard. The home fans felt they were going to bare witness to a classic smash and grab but if ever there was a substitute meant to score, it had to be Frank Lampard. Up until this season that would’ve meant 2-0 Chelsea but the Stamford Bridge outfit didn’t tie their talisman down to a new contract and his signing for New York franchise meant a strange loan agreement in place. As a Liverpool fan I couldn’t even imagine how it would feel to see Steven Gerrard notching against the club he’s spent so long playing for. Fairplay to Lampard he showed his appreciation for the Chelsea fans after the game but that wouldn’t have helped the hurt of the goal he scored for me. After going behind Man City would take this.
This weekend throws up a ‘derby weekend’ with Liverpool taking on Everton and Arsenal facing Tottenham in two games that mean so much to their fans. A win gives bragging rights until later in the season, maybe the next, but a defeat cut’s deep. Both of the away teams have poor records away to their rivals but records mean nothing when it comes to these games. They require big game players, blood, sweat and tears and if you can say after 90 minutes you done all that, you’ve earnt that salary at the end of the week and the adulation of the fans.