Has there been a more Jose-esque performance since the days where Mourinho used to win things? Had he been given a choice of ways to chalk up one year in the Tottenham hot seat, would he have chosen anything other than sticking eleven men behind the Man City dominated ball and then whacking them on the break?

Whisper it quietly, but there’s something about Jose right now that tells me Spurs are a lot closer to winning this Premier League than us mere mortals might be able to understand. Take his behaviour in the last week or so – there’s been a subtle shift from publicly slating his players to mischievously using the press to land a few blows on some rivals. 

When was the last time you heard him mention Dele Alli? Exactly – Jose knows he doesn’t need Dele to achieve what he wants to achieve so it’s done. No more picking on Alli in public to distract everyone. 

Mou went into the clash with Peppy G swinging on how City get preferential treatment from England around players being sent home to put their feet up upon the click of Guardiola’s fingers. Granted, it might help your cause if you stop calling Gareth Southgate ‘Gary’, but you know Mourinho is on it when you start wondering if he actually has a point.

As for the actual match, ask Alexa in 2032 to show the ‘perfect Mourinho masterclass’ and you’ll be presented this game. Get an early goal on the break? Tick. Sit back, defend like dogs and rely on the fact that City don’t actually score that many this season? Tick. Pick them off on the break again to take the pressure off? Big tick.

Kevin de Bruyne left the match not sure what a penalty is anymore. You can kind of see his point – if ‘the shirt’ is classed as the upper arm and therefore not handball then you have to wonder why City’s goal was chalked off. Pep reckons his team are not good enough right now but also not that far away. Personally, I think he’s not watching the same football as the rest of us. But then, does he need to now he has a spanking new contract to celebrate?

Mourinho claims he couldn’t care less about the table, which is easier to claim when you are leading it – albeit briefly. He may well have slept like an angel in his utter disregard for the standings, full of self-backslapping for getting Lo Celso on when he did.

Spurs can win this title. And if they do, it will be the greatest sporting comeback since Muhammad Ali’s Rumble in the Jungle with Foreman. To be fair, they’re both doing it in a similar way too.

But then, you wouldn’t have to threaten me with too much violence to believe that Frank Lampard’s Chelsea are in the frame too. Lamps was happy with the ‘professional’ performance up at St James’ Park but he may as well have come out dancing with joy over the fact that his side can now keep clean sheets.

Mendy must have more shutouts already than Kepa has had in his entire Stamford Bridge career and if they keep that alongside their rather tasty attack then they could remain in the mix.

Tammy Abraham has fast become the England striker we’ve stopped talking about what with that Harry Kane being the best nine, ten and whatever other number he decides to play at the moment. Dominic Calvert-Lewin continues to score but Abraham is making it very hard for Lampard to leave him out – and if Lampard can’t not pick him then surely Southgate isn’t that flush for strikers to cut him loose?

Liverpool fans needn’t have worried that Mohamed Salah was unavailable for the nearly-top-of-the-table clash with Leicester City. The way Jonny Evans headed home the opener for the champions showed they didn’t need their Egyptian talisman. 

The last time Liverpool were on an unbeaten home run like this, it was ended by Leicester – we can assume Brendan didn’t fancy history repeating itself the way he set the Foxes up at Anfield. “Lads, we know they are good so let’s sit off them and let them have as much of the ball as they want – trust me, it’s a cunning plan”. We’ve been here before, haven’t we Brendan?

It’s all very well sending them back out for the second half and having a bit of a go. The moment has gone, the ship has sailed and, one would assume, horses have bolted.

Apparently, a 1-0 win at home for Manchester United isn’t good enough – even if it is their first Premier League win at Old Trafford since the days we were just grateful to have football back. Ole wasn’t happy, calling the win over WBA as ‘below-par’. I mean, come on. It’s a win. You don’t get many of those, just be happy.

However, United did need a bit of help – and I’m not talking about the fact Pogba was unavailable. West Brom thought they had a penalty after Bruno Fernandes seemed to clip someone in the area. VAR weren’t so sure, mainly based around the fact that Fernandes got the ball – but don’t let facts like that deter from the fact that BIG TEAMS GET ALL THE DECISIONS etc etc etc.

Sure, it doesn’t help that United also got a penalty through VAR despite the fact there was a clear foul in the build-up. Or that Bruno missed the spot-kick and got a second chance as VAR noticed that the keeper was on the edge of his six-yard box by the time he saved it. VAR cheated West Bromwich Albion, OK? That’s what Slaven Bilic wants or needs us to believe – or at least needs his bosses to believe so he still has a job by next weekend.

Can Aston Villa play away every week? I think they’d probably prefer that as they just don’t seem to be as good at Villa Park. Right now, they are wearing the mantle of the most overrated team in the country with talk even going as far as how Grealish, Barkley, Mings, Kozra and Watkins should all be in England’s squad for the Euros. 

Luckily for Graham Potter, Brighton didn’t buy into the hype and they came away with a 2-1 win mainly due to a wonderful gallop by Danny Welbeck, reminding us what an athlete he still can be when he isn’t injured – which isn’t very often, truth be known.

Last season, Villa didn’t seem to get much rub of the VAR green and one went against them here too – the ref got the call to go to the monitor, had a look, and realised he got it completely wrong and took away the penalty.

Fulham aren’t too far from preferring that VAR take away any penalties they get awarded. You’d have struggled to think that Ademola Lookman’s effort against West Ham wouldn’t be an absolute shoe-in for the end-of-season awards, but no. Ivan Cavaleiro actually managed to better it – slipping, kicking it twice and sending it over the bar. If you wonder why big Mitro didn’t take this one either, you’ll remember that he missed the penalty that saw Scotland qualify for the Euros. Penalties and Fulham are as good as friends as Fulham and actual defending – given that Scott Parker’s men found themselves 1-0 down against Everton before the sound of the ref’s whistle had fully died away at kick-off. Calvert-Lewin scored twice but it was the sight of Richarlison back on the pitch (and, of course, I mean literally on the pitch the amount of time he spent rolling around as per) that gave Ancelotti’s men the boost they needed to look half-decent once again. Well, half-decent in attack – not so much at the back as Fulham ended up running them very, very close indeed.

If you look up ‘second-season syndrome’ in the dictionary, you’ll see that it has been recently updated to show Sheffield United. Yes, overlapping centre-backs was really cool and fun last season but now even West Ham are doing it, it looks a bit naff – especially when you are right down the bottom of the table and even Sebastian Haller has scored against you.

West Ham have hit the bar more times than anyone else this season, I hear – insert your own retro Bobby Moore and the 60s gag here if you are of a certain age.

Still, a 1-0 win for the Hammers means it’s their best-ever Premier League start and it’s the first time they’ve won at Bramall Lane in 52 years. Yes, that does say more about how rubbish West Ham have been over the years than anything else.

The prematch chat heading into Leeds’ much-awaited match with Arsenal was around how Marcelo Bielsa needs to change how Leeds play if they want to succeed. It’s hard to explain what an utter waste of journalistic time those articles were, given that Bielsa has not ever changed his approach and is unlikely to now – even for Leeds.

Arsenal needed a performance to quickly refill the bucket of ‘Arteta is the saviour’ rubbish that’s been looking a little empty in recent weeks. And, frankly, they still do. It’s not enough to congratulate them on holding out for a 0-0 after Nico Pepe decided he didn’t fancy a full day’s work. Arsenal were bang average yet again – and this was after Arteta shuffled the pack and put the Europa League team out in the hope of something changing.

Leeds managed to hit the woodwork three or four times and would have preferred the Jekyll and Hyde that is Patrick Bamford to have been the good one at Elland Road.

—–

If you have endured today’s column and feel like someone needs this kind of jazz in their Christmas stocking then you are in luck – buy them a copy of Tales from the Top Flight: The Premier League Yearbook, available on Amazon right now.