You donâ€™t get the feeling CR7 and Ralf Rangnick will be whispering sweet nothings into each otherâ€™s ears this Valentineâ€™s Day, do you?
Manchester United are never too far from crisis in their post-Sir Alex era. Theyâ€™re not smack-bang in one right now, to be fair – but they are teetering and no mistake.
Their big-money striker, the prodigal son bought purely so their biggest rivals (who arenâ€™t really their biggest rivals anymore given that they are struggling to see off the likes of Burnley and Southampton) couldnâ€™t have him, the solution that didnâ€™t address any of the actual problems has now failed to score in his last six matches. No longer are the pundits raising an eyebrow at his pressing stats – now itâ€™s the thing he is supposed to still be world-class at.
Equally, the Godfather of Modern Football seems to have rocked up about a decade after his sell-by date. There is no doubting Rangnick has influenced the thinking of many a modern-German manager but maybe United should have gone after one of his disciples rather than the preacher?
Rangnickâ€™s United are bad. So very, very bad. And thatâ€™s just when they have the ball – they are worse when they lose it. As Ralph Hassenhuttl put it oh so subtly having seen his Saints take a point at Old Trafford – “It is not a big secret that when they lose the ball that the reverse gears are not the best from everybody.” I mean, no fingers are being pointed here – except in the direction of Ronaldo, Bruno, Pogba, Sancho and Rashford – so distant from Scott McTominay at times that they made the Gallagher brothers look close.
Everyone got very excited when Rangnick arrived talking about his heavy metal football. The one missing component seems to be pretty clear, however. Players that actually fancy putting the shift in when they give it away.
As for Harry Maguire – remind me how much the club paid for him again?
Hassenhuttl might have broken a bit of an unspoken code by directly calling out an opposition in that way but what kind of statement against the modern United is that in itself? The Southampton manager making the great United sound like a lazy Sunday side who rate themselves a little too highly? And the worst thing for the United faithful? Heâ€™s nailed it with that statement.
That and the rumours of the players taking the mick out of Rangnickâ€™s assistant Chris Armas calling him â€œTedâ€ after Ted Lasso – somehow you canâ€™t imagine that happening under Fergie even before he won something.
The rate itâ€™s going, Rangnick wonâ€™t see the season out let alone get a crack at the two years upstairs heâ€™s been promised.
No such issues at Goodison Park though where Frank Lampard is clearly the second coming of Howard Kendall (the first version – not the second or third).
Lamps saw his Everton side sweep past a hopeless Leeds 3-0 – and, whoâ€™d have thunk it, it turns out Donny van der Beek is a bit of a footballer. If you put the 3-1 beating at Newcastle to one side, itâ€™s been a very positive start on Merseyside.
Lampardâ€™s former club wrapped up the World Club Cup in Abu Dhabi beating Palmeiras 2-1 after extra time. Given that Lamps was given a lot of credit for them winning the Champions League last season, does that extend to this trophy too?
After all, it was Frank that wanted Kai Havertz and it was Havertz who scored the late penalty to seal the title.Â
Raheem Sterling took his desire for the perfect hat-trick to an extreme against Norwich – first getting Riyad Mahrez subbed off so he wouldnâ€™t be on pens, then missing the penalty that was awarded so that he could then tap it in with his left. Donâ€™t let the fact that the first goal was deflected dampen the perfect treble talk. Even if that blatantly means it cannot be considered a perfect hat-trick. 4-0 to City, once again making the â€˜closest Premier League in historyâ€™ seem like a bit of a daft shout.
There seemed to be hope for Watford when they tempted Roy Hodgson back by pretending they were mermaids – the first result being 0-0 suggesting a bit of defensive steel. The nils have continued, but sadly at the wrong end for Uncle Roy. The Hornets were gently eased aside by Brighton, as they were by West Ham.
The most memorable thing about Brentford and Crystal Palace was the reception received by Christian Eriksen before kick-off. Unveiled eight months to the day after his heart attack on the field at Euro 2020, heâ€™s hoping he and his pacemaker can get Brentford beating once again.
Burnley might have got a point at Old Trafford during the week with the first glimpse of Wout Weghorstâ€™s good feet for a big man – but they got the result that was expected against Liverpool. Sure, it was only 1-0 and can be filed under â€˜decent performance and Premier League survival wonâ€™t be decided in home matches against Kloppoâ€™s lotâ€™ but they really do need to find a win from somewhere soon.
Everything feels very different in Geordieland. Chris Wood might have been signed to score the goals needed but it turns out Kieran Trippier is sorting that out on his own. Given the captainâ€™s armband, the England international nailed one against Everton and then repeated the trick against Steven Gerrardâ€™s Villa on Sunday. Initially a penalty, VAR correctly sussed it was outside the box and Trips put paid to the old adage â€œit can be too close to get it up and overâ€ but simply smashing it through the â€˜wallâ€™. The issue now is, with the full-back limping off for an x-ray on his foot who will score the goals?
Another big win though for Eddie Howe – and a four-point gap between them and the relegation trap door.
Antonio Conte might have played the company line of being satisfied with Tottenhamâ€™s transfer window but home defeats to Southampton and then Wolves might change his outwardly sunny demeanour.
Hugo Lloris reached peak Hugo Lloris levels – it always seems to happen after a big newspaper interview with the World Cup winner – in gifting Raul Jiminez the opener and then the Spurs defending for Wolvesâ€™ second was, well, very very Spurs like.
Brendan Rodgers started speculation that he could be Unitedâ€™s next boss by buying a house in Cheshire – convenient rumourmongering completely ignoring the fact that Leicester have been terrible for much of this season.
Against Rodgersâ€™ Leicester, Kurt Zouma picked up an injury in the warm-up – presumably to his conscience, delayed just like concussion can be. Much of the pre-match talk had been about cats and Leicesterâ€™s inability to defend set-pieces. At full-time, most of the talk was about Leicesterâ€™s inability to defend set-pieces.
Fancy a quick spin on the transfer rumour merry-go-round? Go on then, fill your boots.
If United opt for the Poch, then heâ€™ll be up for a reunion with Harry Kane. If United ignore the players and go with Rangnickâ€™s preferred option, Erik ten Hag, then theyâ€™ll probably get Haaland.
Real Madrid got round the table last week to discuss who the next Marcelo could be and found Kieran Tierneyâ€™s name on a list someone had drawn up.
Gareth Bale and his ever-shrinking thighs could be seen at Tottenham again next season.
Absolutely brassic Barcelona would like to sign Leedsâ€™ Ilian Meslier in the summer.
Jack Wilshere, despite hanging around Arsenal in the hope that Arteta thinks he might be less of a liability than Xhaka is wanted by Como in Serie B of Italy – despite the fact they canâ€™t sign non-EU players.
And finally, Chelsea (clearly bereft of any English options in their Academy) fancy signing Brightonâ€™s Adam Webster for a lot of money at the end of the season.