The Hairdryer Treatment: Arsenal bottle it, unbottle it, bottle it and then unbottle it once again…

Me on Wednesday night: “Well that’s it then, City will win the title now!”

Me after Villa take the lead on Saturday: “See, Arsenal are bottling it!”

Me at full-time at Villa Park: “Yeah, but City will probably score five against Forest now – they’ve got no defenders, apparently!”

Me after Forest earn a 1-1 draw: “Yep, I still know nothing!”

I mean, seriously – if you are actually reading this, why bother? I couldn’t accurately call the ground getting wet if it’s just started to rain.

Peppy G’s master plan to turn City into 1980s Wimbledon in the first half versus Arsenal was quickly abandoned – and it turns out that when they try and pass it against the league leaders then they can become the league leaders. Man City beat Arsenal 3-1 on Wednesday night to go top, although Guardiola said the Gunners were still top because they had a game in hand.

Well, at Villa Park it looked like his attempt at some clever mind-messing had worked as former Arsenal manager Unai Emery saw his Villa side lead 1-0 and 2-1 against the wannabe Premier League champions and with the expected BIG win for Pep’s lot against Forest, the tide was doing a complete 180.

Yet, football is rarely as simple as that. Especially when Micky Arteta gets into his side with a rousing half-time speech (soon to be seen on Amazon Prime, no doubt). According to new signing Jorginho, who saw his shot hilariously bounce in off the bonce of Emi Martinez to put Arsenal ahead in injury time, ‘frank words’ were said in the break about getting ‘back to basics’ – the basics of beating Aston Villa if you actually think you can win the title.

There were probably a few footballers out there who have been s***-housed by Martinez in the recent past that were relatively cock-a-hoop at seeing him score an own-goal and then go up for a corner in the very-vain hope of scoring a late leveller – only to see Gabby Martinelli hit them on the break and make it four, Martinez barely in camera shot.

OK, Arsenal – it looks like there’s a little bit more in the tank before you know, you tank.

During the week, Steve Cooper had begged the Premier League to overlook the fact they’d signed 72 players this season and take pity on the fact all their registered centre-backs were now injured. He wanted to insert Steve Cook into his named 25-man squad and his request was denied.

That left the prospect of football-robot Erling Haaland up against the most makeshift of defences and most likely improving City’s goal difference somewhat. Once again, football is rarely that simple.

Forest escaped with a point after Chris Wood equalised and Haaland malfunctioned – finding various different ways to not score which meant Arsenal finished the week in better shape than they might have dreamt of, a two-point gap with a game in hand.

If you were to look at the score, you’d assume a 2-0 win at Newcastle meant Liverpool were absolutely back on it and could be a threat to the top four. After all, Newcastle hadn’t lost in the league since the last time Liverpool beat them and were unbeaten at St James’ Park so far.

Darwin Nunez, not one to gently pass the ball home and Cody Gakpo quickly put Klopp’s men ahead before Nick Pope ruled himself out of next weekend’s League Cup Final by bizarrely handling the ball whilst diving on it like it was a landmine outside his area.

But other than that? Newcastle dominated and Allison was easily Liverpool’s best player – that is not the sign of a team on the positive turn.

Eddie Howe thinks it’s unfair Pope will miss the first final of the season and Newcastle’s first in about 25 years. The logical counterargument is that he didn’t have to do that, did he?

The general consensus is that “Graham Potter needs time” because he has to “integrate all his new signings” and all that. That might be true. But losing 1-0 at home to the team bottom of the league almost certainly tests the patience of the most loyal of owners – even those that didn’t completely realise that Chelsea don’t automatically qualify for next season’s Champions League “because they are always in it”.

If you had to call how Southampton scored without knowing and you’d die if you got it wrong, your best bet would probably be a James Ward-Prowse free kick going top bins. No bonus points for working out how Southampton scored their goal here then.

Cesar Azpilicueta was knocked out after being kicked in the head – if he’s lucky, he might have no memory of the game.

Fernandes passes to Rashford. Rashford scores. Rinse and repeat. Things are good for Man United currently and a 3-0 win over Leicester was utterly painless and pretty comfortable – right now, everything Erik ten Hag touches seems to be turning to gold. Luke Shaw as a centre-back? Easy. Wout Weghorst as a number ten? No worries. Jadon Sancho back and looking like the player United hoped they’d signed? Sorted. Don’t rule them out of the title race just yet (except by me saying that, you can 100% rule United out of the title race).

You’ve got to give credit to David Moyes for consistently coming up with tactical innovations. His recent ploy of playing “rush goalie” is working brilliantly – Tomas Soucek last week, Thilo Kehrer this. Genius. Still, it only took West Ham so far as Spurs ground out another dull win. No Conte? A win. Conte? A loss. Tottenham fans could be forgiven for wanting their manager to take as much time as is needed over his recovery from that gallstone operation – presumably forgetting that Leicester did them 4-1 without Conte just last weekend.

Nine different managers have selected Seamus Coleman for Everton in the 14 years he has been at the club – none other than Sean Dyche will have ever seen him score a goal like that before. Coleman, finally united with a manager that might play him to his strengths (as in, stay back don’t go forward and definitely don’t shoot from out wide), was apparently so tired he didn’t think he’d be able to cross it so he shot instead – and that’s exactly the kind of way Leeds have lost many matches this season.

The ball flew in, Meslier looked a bit foolish and Dyche stuck the metaphorical two fingers up at idiots like me who suggest he doesn’t like his full-backs getting up the pitch. The Toffees are now out of the relegation zone – Leeds are plummeting towards it and possibly regretting not having a manager lined up after getting shot of Jesse.

Wolves’ recent resurgence under the very tight-trousered Julen Lopetegui came to an abrupt halt with a 1-0 home loss to Bournemouth.

And Palace still haven’t won in 2023. Luckily for them, there are plenty of other clubs apparently in crisis for anyone to really notice or care. Brentford scored very, very late to remain unbeaten in ten.

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