Was this the Premier League week where both Liverpool and Man City felt it was time to remind the world it will end up being a two-horse race?
Both Peppy G and King Kloppo will most likely be fairly happy with their lots in life after the last seven days – Guardiola making Big Sam actually combust with their 5-0 spanking of WBA and the champions remembering where the back of the league net was with their 3-1 dismissal of Jose’s Spurs.
And this weekend, both overcame potential banana skins (now, now – Sheffield United have actually found some form) to make the rest of the title-pretenders wish they could just be a little bit better.
The match against Chris Wilder’s lot was Pep’s toughest match yet, apparently – but that didn’t stop him notching up victory 500, courtesy of Gabby Jesus deciding he’d better start scoring if he wants to be at the club next season. With clean sheets galore, it’s hard to see them not getting their title back.
Not that Liverpool are going to just hand it over – considering their lack of defenders also means they have a lack of midfielders, they’ll be content to still be in the running with a little bit of form on their side once more. West Ham have dreams above their station once more but Mo Salah was in one of those moods – someone must have reminded him he could get even more distance ahead of the injured Sadio Mane in the Anfield goal race.
Man United are still technically in the mix despite following up the shock defeat to the Premier League’s bottom side with another dull fest draw with Arsenal. It’s no wins against ‘the six’ for United this season and Arteta was without Tierney, Saka and, less worryingly, Yo-Pierre.
Ole might have a point that Cedric can’t actually defend, but Arsenal came for a point and got it. When you are David Luiz in 2021 you have to celebrate the small wins in life, like a Bruno Fernandes free-kick hitting you in the head. Mind you, he did get man of the match. On VAR watch, does anyone disagree that had it been Xhaka’s studs raking Fernandes’ Achilles heel then we’d have probably seen a red?
As expected, Frank Lampard’s Chelsea made the decision to relieve Frank Lampard of his duties and replace him with Thomas Tuchel. While the German hasn’t got an immediate tune out of the two pianos he was brought in to play – Kai Havertz and Timo Werner – he did find Marcos Alonso kicking around in the canteen and invited him to have a go. With Alonso and Azpilicueta getting on the scoresheet, who needs £120m of goalscoring threat to find the net, eh?
Fair play to Matty Cash who pulled off one of the saves of the season for Aston Villa in their victory over Southampton. Danny Ings isn’t the most lucky of footballers given his injury history and that continued with him being ruled offside by the slimmest margin so far since the introduction of VAR.
Whisper it quietly but Wolves are in trouble – Crystal Palace Eze’d past them to take all three points and if I was to point at a manager who might not be in a job come the end of the season, I’d be pointing at Nuno, sadly.
It’s probably time we accepted that Leicester will not finish in the top four again and that Patrick Bamford is actually very, very good. Leeds’ organised chaos saw off the Foxes 3-1 and it was Bamford who scored the goal of the game before being incredibly unselfish to lay on the third. As for Leicester, will grasping Europa League football from the jaws of Champions League qualification once more be classed as progress or regression?
As for Jose’s Spurs, they might want to consider getting Harry Kane some new super-human ankles with the money they could save by packing Gareth Bale back off to Madrid. It’s never nice to watch a true great become a shadow of the player he once was, especially so young, but I think we can write this loan off as a bad debt now. As for Brighton, they played nice football and won at home – and you don’t get to say the second part of that sentence too often.
Newcastle are still waiting for Joelinton to cut it on Tyneside but will be far happier now that sacked Luton Town manager Graeme Jones is around to help Steve Bruce with tactics and stuff. Mind you, it worked – Callum Wilson playing as a right winger is a novel idea but it led to him scoring both against Everton. Oh, and we are allowed to now suggest that the Toffees are a little bit over-rated under Ancelotti.
Scott Parker will still be wondering how Fulham were not 4-0 up against West Brom at half-time. Allardyce will have politely reminded his team of what he said after the Etihad loss and, amazingly, it worked – WBA were a different team in the second half and will be annoyed at themselves for not holding on to a 2-1 win. The draw helped nobody, really.