Kieran Davies looks back on a week of lost faith, piled pressure and Titanic regrets.
Things we’ve learnt this week. There are still people out there who didn’t realise until this week’s news coverage of the Aluko/Spence investigation that the FA was an organisation mainly run on archaic outdated methods and that just having a Twitter account doesn’t mean that you are in the modern age (although I’m sure the butler or the Filipino boy carry out this duty for them!) We’ve also discovered this week that there is no bad time to throw a punch and try and start a fight if you are an Everton fan. The people’s club are now evidently rolling out MMA training to everyone in the family stand to deal with changing times. And finally, trying to save the best until last, Labour has declared that it has ‘lost confidence’ in the leadership of England football’s governing body. That is SO ironic that somewhere Alanis Morissette is having a huge migraine/aneurysm. We lost faith in the leadership of the Labour Party sometime around the turn of the twentieth century (27th February to be exact) and it has not returned since. A bit like its current leader who is bumbling around Europe trying to find a backdoor into number 10, pandering to the whims and egos of Eurocrats maybe the only way a pacifist like Corbyn would ever come to power that is for sure.
I wonder if Slaven Bilic is fed up of when asked by a friend they haven’t seen in an age, ‘how’s work?’, of explaining how it’s as consistent as Kerry Katona??? In all fairness, we seem to say this every other week so we probably have more chance of seeing a resolution to Brexit or more chance of finding an Irish wind farm that is still situated in the same place it was at the start of the week. Back to the football. One word…………..sublime!!! That is how good Kevin De Bruyne really is! He put in a performance for City last weekend that left fans purring and make opponents take note! Based on that City performance last weekend, the engravers at Premier League HQ could be forgiven for already starting the M on the plaque. People questioned Guardiola’s first season but this time out there seems to be a different buzz around Manchester. He has been able to mould the squad more into something he can work with and boy is he working with it! So, a nine-goal thriller and more talent on the bench than Hugh Heffner’s funeral!! What would be the polar opposite to that, oh yes everyone’s least favourite bus driver, Jose Mourinho. They were terrible at Anfield and created less chances than Maribor over the course of ninety minutes. Jose’s record against ‘the big six’ is nothing short of laughable and ‘the special one’ is looking more and more ordinary by the game.
Tottenham spurred on (excuse the pun) by a fabulous draw at the Bernabau against Real Madrid this week will be looking to continue their impressive start to the season with a tricky fixture against Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool. The big German is unbeaten against Tottenham in management and Pochettino will be looking to rectify this in the fixture. It will be a test for Spurs after that grueling midweek game but this is the nature of the beast of juggling domestic and European competition. One thing is for sure, North Londoners will be wondering which Liverpool will turn up for this one. Spurs will be hoping for the wasteful team who look capable of conceding every time the opposition attack them. With Liverpool’s attacking flair, inability to defend, Tottenham’s poor form at Wembley and Harry Kane’s lack of home goals……..surely something’s got to give this weekend. London neighbours Watford, find themselves fourth in the table and sat in one of the coveted Champions League spots. How their manager would love to see them sitting in that position come the end of the season! Having only lost one game, they have had an excellent start to the season and would love nothing more than piling on the pressure on Antonio Conte.
Newcastle host a Palace team buoyed on by victory against Chelsea in their last game. A result nobody would have predicted given that Palace hadn’t scored a goal all season. Woy will be looking to take confidence from that win and look to get three points on the road against Rafa’s Magpies. Swansea and Leicester meet with only the former going into the game with a manager at the helm. While Shakespeare (the manager not the bard) will feel he has been harshly treated, this was the same means by which he got the job and his predecessor actually won the Premier League to boot! The way club owners hire and fire managers at the drop of a hat currently it makes you wonder who they think the club are and whether their expectations are realistic. Pullis’ West Brom find themselves in quite a slump of form currently. While their performances may not warrant the lack of return of points they are seeing they still find themselves relatively comfortable in mid-table. With one win in thirteen away league games you would have to lean towards a Southampton win here. With the surprises the Premier League likes to throw up from time to time, don’t be surprised to see a Baggies win with a Jay Rodriguez winner.
Stoke host Bournemouth in what will no doubt be a very blustery Bet365 Stadium with Eddie Howe needing points to get them out of their current predicament, finding themselves in the bottom three. Off the back a humbling defeat against Man City, Stoke will be looking to right some wrong’s amongst their fans against The Cherries. Another manager who is under intense pressure to get results is Ronald Koeman. It is starting to look like Koeman and the Titanic share one thing in common……neither of them should have left Southampton! With Arsenal the visitors this weekend, Koeman will be looking for some of his star names that were acquired in the summer to step up to the plate and actually earn the over inflated salary their transfer got them. After a horror show of a defeat last night, losing 3-0 at home to newly promoted Brighton, it could be a race to the finish as to which manager follows Shakespeare (the manager not the bard) out of the door next.