As managers up and down the country waited to see whether they could pick their non-Argentinian South American players, there was a groan at Old Trafford when the new came through – Fred was, in fact, available for selection.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer remained brave though – clearly, Ronaldo had told him that the Brazilian is rubbish and there was no way he could be seen on the same pitch as him for his second debut.
Freddie Woodman had clearly read the script that demanded all the people watching Manchester United vs Newcastle on an illegal stream somewhere were able to see Ronaldo net twice on his first Premier League match in a while.
Woodman fumbled the first one into the path of United’s number 7 for the first and then nicely let the second fly through his legs to make Cristiano an instant match-winner. Bruno, however, may well have been advised not to ping one top bins from 30-odd yards. It just will not do to go around upstaging his international teammate.
Cue the cries of United probably winning the league on social media whilst conveniently forgetting that title-winning sides rarely let Javier Manquillo score against them.
We can only presume that Christian Benteke had done a mighty fine job of softening up the Tottenham defence before stepping aside like a gentleman to allow Odsonne Edouard to take the glory, the big signing from Celtic scoring two on his Premier League debut.
All those nay-sayers that had proclaimed, “Nah, mate – Scottish football’s easy. He’ll never do it in the Premier League” must have felt a little foolish as Edouard scored as many goals in 10 minutes than it feels like Benteke has managed in his entire Selhurst Park career.
Wilf Zaha delightfully baited Japhet Tanganga into picking up two yellow cards but Palace were already dominating the game before Spurs went down to ten. It would appear that the Premier League Manager of the Month curse is alive and well as Nuno’s side were completely and utterly put to the sword by Vieira’s Palace side that many (OK, maybe just me then) had tipped for relegation this season.
Vieira has now got one over Tottenham in four different decades, apparently. Somehow, I feel that might not be the most exclusive of clubs he is in.
You might feel that had Peppy G been forced to select Scott Carson ahead of Ederson that Man City may not have walked away from the King Power with all three points – no wonder Guardiola was so effusive for all things FIFA when appearing to back Arsene Wenger’s plans for a World Cup every two years.
Bernardo Silva showed that there is a decent Portuguese match-winner available on the other side of the city, netting the winner for Pep in a 1-0 win.
King Kloppo might not be too interested in what other people get up to in the ‘transfer circus’ but unless Liverpool break with their recent convention and pay Mo Salah the really big bucks, then Jurgen will be needing to find someone capable of replacing his Egyptian goal-machine. And, given that Harvey Elliot saw his leg broken in the name of letting football ‘flow’ he might be wishing they’d brought in another midfielder. Mind you, at least Naby escaped that coup.
Salah put the Reds ahead at Leeds with his 100th Premier League strike – making him quicker than quite a few proper centre-forwards in the process. Liverpool pretty much battered a Leeds side that left more holes open than a particular aerated string vest. Fabinho and Mane scored t’other two. Still, decent atmosphere at Elland Road, eh?
As Dean Smith astutely noted, Aston Villa did have as many good chances as their opponents Chelsea at Stamford Bridge – the main difference being that their £96m striker took the ones that came his way.
Yet, and allow me a momentary moan about modern footballers if you will, for some bizarre reason the very same £96m striker is not banned from doing stupid knee slides after scoring a goal. Anyone who saw Lukaku jam his very expensive, highly-insured joints into the turf after putting Chelsea ahead will have winced. Lukaku posted after the game that there will be no more knee slides for him after scoring – out of embarrassment or at the request of the insurers? I urge every manager in the game to fine the goalscorer their bonus if they do it. Maybe show them a couple of videos of the Klinsmann belly-slide or even the Kuqi swallow-dive if they really need to hit the deck.
There was a lot to like about Villa but when it came down to it, Lukaku scored his first-ever pro goals at the Bridge and Tyrone Mings turned out to be more effective for Chelsea than Saul Niguez by creating Kovacic’s goal.
The relegation battle at the Emirates ended up 1-0 to the Arsenal – but was their goal offside and guilty of a little handball in the build-up? Now, now – let’s not be too mean. Arteta’s men are going to need some luck here and there otherwise they will never end up in mid-table obscurity. Arsenal contrived to miss 29 efforts on goal whilst scoring just once. Efficient is not a word you could sanely use here. Mind you, it made Pepe happy – he is now convinced that Arsenal will be a Premier League side next season.
Wolves finally managed to get the ball in the opposition net – except they didn’t, Watford kindly did it for them. Having seen that the impossible was actually possible, they went and nicked another and won 2-0.
Brentford could well be the new Brighton already. And by that, I mean that they are a decent team that is quite pleasant to watch but unable to kill teams off (unless, of course, that team is Arsenal). Brighton netted a late winner to, incredibly, keep themselves amongst the early front-runners.
Said early front-runners still include West Ham who could have been sitting pretty at the top had they managed to beat Southampton. The curse of the Manager of the Month seems to have extended itself to the Player of the Month award as well as Michail Antonio, the current holder, managed to get sent off in the 0-0 draw. Chelsea-loanee Broja managed to do more in a mere 10 minutes than the other 22 players cobbled together in an entire 90-minute shift.