Oh good. Someone’s gone and upset Manchester City.
Did anyone actually think charging them with 115 or so alleged financial doping offences would see them go “oh, we’d better not win anything else until this has all been cleared up!” Er, no. 45 minutes of football at the Etihad (who paid an absolutely fair price for the naming rights and don’t you dare suggest otherwise) + 90 minutes of Brentford making life very uncomfortable for Arsenal = we have a title race baby.
Deep down, I think we all know City’s lawyers will overpower the Premier League’s lawyers a bit like City’s attack overpowered Villa’s on Sunday. Relentless pressure, exposing gaps, forcing mistakes and quickly getting ahead with a very powerful opening statement of intent – don’t think for a second Pep will be watching City play Championship football anytime soon or they’ll get asked to hand their medals back.
It’s all very, very above board – and don’t forget, City are in favour of an independent regulator so there is absolutely nothing to see here. OK?
The top-of-the-table clash with Arsenal looks tastier than ever now after VAR forgot to do it’s one and only job against Brentford.
VAR: “So, what’s my main job here?”
Educator: “Pretty much just draw some lines on any potential offsides to see if, you know, anyone is offside. Oh, and don’t forget to do it.”
VAR: “Seems simple enough, how could I ever forget to check for an offside and not use my fancy line-drawing tools?”
Educator: “Yeah, you’d have to pretty darn stupid to forget to check for offside and not use your fancy line-drawing tools!”
VAR: “That would never happen”
Educator” “Nope, never!”
Yeah, about that. Apparently, the VAR forgot to use the lines to see if Brentford were offside when Ivan Toney headed home a pesky equaliser. And guess what? Brentford were offside. Imagine how well Mikel Arteta took that when he found out.
Still, makes the title race a bit more interesting doesn’t it?
Rumours that Todd Boehly spent the post-match drinks at the Athletics Stadium offering West Ham €100m for their goalkeeper Tomas Soucek are completely untrue.
You could be forgiven for thinking VAR took Saturday off given they missed Soucek brilliantly stopping Chelsea taking a 2-1 lead. Controversy aside, it’s more dropped points for Potter and a valuable one gained for the Hammers who were bizarrely painted as the paupers for this clash – yes, that West Ham side who spent more in the summer window than ever before, breaking their transfer record bringing in Brazil’s current number 10. To rejig a well-worn Barcelona phrase, I wish I was that much of a pauper.
If you ask which was more painful – gallstones or Eric Dier’s defending against Leicester, you can probably guess what Antonio Conte would say. What’s it called when your performance is the same as your name? Leicester versus Spurs usually guarantees goals and this one did not fail – and if Nammy Mendy is cannonballing one in on the run then you know it’s not your day.
Kelechi Iheanacho is two games into a three-match good spell of form – it happens every season, you just never know when – and he singlehandedly had Conte heading back to Italy to book himself back into his private hospital room.
Jesse Marsch has gone from Leeds who are now suffering the embarrassment of not being able to secure their first (Carlos Corberan), second (Iraola of Vallecano) or third (Feyenoord’s Arne Slot) choices to replace him. In the meantime, Leeds fans watched their team run around a lot in two matches against Man United and end up with less than they probably deserved (a single point) – much like they’ve got many times against everyone else this season. If the league table was based on good chances squandered, then you’d have to assume Leeds would be Champions League material.
At 1-0 up against ten-man Wolves after 30 minutes, Nathan Jones must have been thinking his little morale-booster of a presser last weekend was having the desired impact. Yet, all Southampton were really doing were finding a new depth to plumb to as Jan Bednarek gave the perfect example of NOT having good feet for a big man. New Brazilian signing Joao Gomez scored his first Premier League goal leaving Jones to scamper down the tunnel knowing what was coming the following lunchtime. Next time Nathan, maybe avoid red and white stripes?
Newcastle are tailing off. Their 1-1 draw with Bournemouth was yet another game without a win and you’d be well advised to check out what odds they are to finish the season in 8th.
Crystal Palace and Brighton usually draw 1-1 and thanks to Brighton keeper Roberto Sanchez, that’s exactly what they did.
Nottingham Forest had been on a good run and that could well have continued if both central defenders hadn’t gone off injured in the first ten minutes against Fulham. Willian scored a timeless beauty of a goal – that ten minutes at Arsenal really must feel like a bad dream for him now.
And finally, Qatar would like to buy Manchester United. Yes, we know they already own PSG but do you really think that will matter? Let’s see if the United fans, so keen to stop Rupert Murdoch takeover the club back in the day that they didn’t realise the Glazers would be as bad, are so keen to see the Yanks out that they’ll accept the kind of money they’ve been slating their neighbours for accepting a decade or so ago.