Oh, Jose – when will you learn? Did it not twig against West Ham? Or Crystal Palace? Or Wolves? Or Liverpool?
There was a time, a time which has even existed at points this season, where a Jose team scoring early meant the game was done – they’d sit in, control it and take all three points with minimum energy wasted.
Not last night. Or in any of the other mentioned matches, either.
Scott Parker may have felt it was ‘scandalous’ that Fulham were asked to play just up the road at such short notice but he’ll take the point, I am sure. Tottenham, however – another title-bid that lasted less time than it takes Gareth Bale to pointlessly warm-up each Premier League matchday.
It’s all very well Mourinho pretty much saying ‘the players aren’t good enough or intelligent enough to close a match out’ and absolving himself of all blame, but surely that suggests you can’t keep trying to do it the same way and expect different results?
Good night, Spurs – momentarily I genuinely believed Jose might be able to pull off one of the greatest career comebacks of all time.
The team we should all be keeping an eye on in this open Premier League title race in Pep’s lot. Yet another clean sheet notched up for City last night, albeit against a Brighton team who are very much in a relegation scrap now.
Phil Foden looked up long enough to notice that the Brighton keeper had a big flashing neon sign saying, ‘bottom left, Phil – I’ve left you enough room’ and scored the goal that moves Guardiola’s team to a mere point behind Liverpool and four behind Man United with a game in hand.
The secret to City’s resurgence? ‘Running less’ says Pep. Now that sounds like my kind of football as anyone who graced themselves on a pitch alongside me will testify to.
Shall we have a quick check to see if anything interesting has actually happened transfer wise?
Nope, nothing – that didn’t take long at all.
Still, let’s go through some of it as we are here.
Islam Slimani has finally broken out of his Leicester City prison as we suggested yesterday – he’s off to Lyon on a free mainly because Moussa Dembele has moved to Atletico Madrid to team up with Luis Suarez.
Man United have created some space in their squad for any one of the 250 players they are being linked with – Timothy Fosu-Mensah has been sold to Bayer Leverkusen.
Having realised that letting the aforementioned Suarez move to Atleti and score the goals that means Simeone’s men are more likely to win La Liga than themselves, Barcelona are in the market for an over-30 South American striker with a goalscoring pedigree to try and undo their mistake.
Top of their list is Man City’s record goalscorer, Sergio Aguero. I’ll give you 250/1 on that happening.
More likely is that Aguero chooses to see his playing days out in Paris alongside the Poch – especially if Real Madrid pull of their fantasy world signing of Kylian Mbappe for £200m. The only reason I am not blowing raspberries at that one is that Madrid do have form for pulling off the unexpected galactico signing, though doing it in the middle of a pandemic would be impressive and distasteful in equal measure. They could just call Bale back considering he has been such a success in London.
Pep can finally see what we’ve all been seeing for two seasons, Rodri is not the long-term successor to Fernandinho – but, according to the Catalan, Sassuolo’s Manuel Locatelli might well be and Guardiola’s prepared to back his hunch with £40m big ones.
Mesut Ozil is prepared to leave £7m on the table to get out of Arsenal and learn how to play football again. Youngster Folarin Balogun is also set to do one to increase his chances of first-team football – oh, Folarin, that’s what Dominic Solanke said when he left Chelsea.
Finally, if this doesn’t tell Frank Lampard that writing is very much on the Chelsea wall, it is rumoured that Avram Grant might be returning to Stamford Bridge as an advisor.