I’m open to the suggestion that I may have jumped the gun a couple of weeks ago when I suggested that the cream had risen to the top and was likely to stay there until the end of the season.
I was, of course, referring to both Manchester City and Liverpool – not City on their own, and I don’t think I could get away with claiming one thing when the other was the reality. I mean, I am not Gareth Bale on Instagram.
Saturday lunchtime was the first time King Kloppo had lost three Liverpool matches in a row, meaning his need for some interesting excuses for a defeat are being worked through quicker than ever. That said, even Jurgen couldn’t blame Alisson’s cold little toes for his bizarre choice to come legging it from his goal, frightening the living daylights out of debutant Ozan Kabak and gifting Jamie Vardy the goal he thoroughly deserved.
The sadness in this result is not the result itself – Leicester deserved their win – but in the fact that Bobby Firmino’s assist will be instantly forgotten and considered worthless as Liverpool lost (again). It was a moment of impish little magic, showboating to the extreme and really should have been pulled out of the locker to assist either a winner, a late equaliser or, at the very least, an icing on the cake 6th in a rout.
Liverpool will miss out on the Champions League next season at this rate as this is fast becoming the worst title defence since AJ got knocked out by a Mexican waiter.
Gareth Southgate was at the King Power and I hope he was spending most of his time thinking up creative ways to get Vardy to agree to be on standby for the European Championships. Considering there will be many games where England barely touch the ball against much better teams, it’d be useful having him around when Harry Kane’s ankles go again.
Speaking of which, Kane continues to struggle against Man City – not that that makes him a bad player, of course.
Sure, a ‘modern penalty’ changed the direction of the game but at no point did you really think that (a) Spurs were going to hurt City and (b) Bale was going to have enough puff left to actually score after that dribble.
After Eric Dier chose not to bother any form of attempt to block Ilkay Gundogan’s first goal of the day, you have to give credit to Davinson Sanchez for trying to stop his second with his head whilst prone on the deck after Ilkay had well and truly sat him down.
As someone who has a lot of respect for kind Uncle Roy Hodgson, I think it might be time for him to call it a day. Palace are not going to get relegated – fortunately for them, Sheffield United, Fulham and West Bromwich Albion are far too gone for that to be a worry. But, they are in danger of ending up the next worst team – especially if the current next worst team Burnley can rock up in South East London and score three. When do Burnley ever score three?
Hodgson’s contract is up at the end of the season, along with the majority of the first-team squad, so surely it would make sense to gently move him aside now and bring in the guy who will lead them into the new dawn? It gives the new manager the chance to have a look, see who he wants to keep and even more time to work out how to lock Zaha and Eze in a room so nobody buys them in the summer.
Best signing of the season? Emi Martinez, 100%. Aston Villa’s goalkeeper has flourished since leaving Arsenal, like many others might well do in the coming months. A fine display of doing what he is paid to do saw the all-English coaching clash end 0-0.
I was weirdly happy to see Wolves pick up their win against Southampton – not because I have anything against Southampton, far from it. Neither am I a closet Wolves fan. But I do like Nuno and as much as I have started to feel his time in the Black Country might be coming to an end I am sure these three points go a long way to flipping that on it’s head. Equally, my feelings that he could be on his way soon were based on nothing other than the made up punditry that goes on in my head.
I’m not quite sure what Harry Maguire did to upset Craig Pawson so much. For a brief second, it looked like Manchester United had won one of those ‘modern penalties’ when he went to ground. Was he offside? Well, we will never officially know that as VAR decided to break with convention and not check that – they went straight to getting Pawson over the screen where, despite it not being possible to call a clear and obvious error, he decided he’d made a clear and obvious error and overturned his decision.
Minutes later, Diagne hitched a ride on Maguire’s back in the United area and forced David de Gea to make the kind of save that had me checking if it was 2015. No foul, Craig? Maguire’s day ended perfectly when his deep-into-injury-time header was tipped on to the post.
As lovely as the point will feel to Sam Allardyce and his team, that’s not getting them out of the relegation zone any time soon.
Most of the time, it’s a question of which Leeds turn up to play and this weekend saw that Leeds completely fall apart in the first half against the Arsenal. Mikel Arteta reaped the rewards of picking Yo-Pierre as an actual striker – who’d have thought it – as the Gabonese helped himself to a hat-trick helped, in part, to another average day out by Leeds’ keeper Meslier. Getting done at your near post twice and giving away a penalty is not very helpful.
Finally, the Fantasy Football woes will have continued for many in the latest matchday. How many of us looked at Josh Maja and thought he might do a bit and then opt for Josh King instead? I can certainly raise my hand on that one. The ex-Sunderland striker scored twice on his full debut for Scott Parker’s men, seeing off Everton 2-0. Maybe that relegation trapdoor isn’t completely closed, after all.
I’m joking. Of course, it is.