Another week passes us by in football and not much has changed. Sure, weâ€™ve had drones, concussion subs, floodlights going out and a net being repaired in the most Sunday football league way imaginable. But, Man City will still win the Premier League title despite a minor slip, West Ham are still not a real top four side, Newcastleâ€™s net gain since being owned by a country is a right-back and an overpriced striker who doesnâ€™t score and Liverpool are not missing Mo Salah.
I mean, why would Jurgeyladâ€™s team miss their main man? Diogo Jota has been asked to step into Salahâ€™s shoes and if that means winning the team dubious penalties in a manner that would befit a certain Egyptian currently on AFCON duty, then so be it.
Liverpool ended up winning 3-1 at Selhurst Park against Palace in a game they will chalk off as three points well-earned in the end. Palace, on the other hand, will feel very hard done by that they did not get a point – mainly due to their finishing but also the insane VAR decision depriving them of a final push in the last ten.
It was only a fraction of a step to his right, but letâ€™s just say Jota didnâ€™t make much effort to get out of the way of the keeper who was simply doing his job of blocking where the ball should have gone had Jotaâ€™s touch not gone further than I tend to kick it.
But hey, clear and obvious, right?
Liverpoolâ€™s three points combined with City dropping two against Southampton means that the title race is marginally more on than it was this time last week which, in reality, is not on at all.
Peppy G has failed to win just five times in the Premier League this season and two of those have come at the hands of Ralph Hassenhuttl and his Southampton team. If only they could get some other teams under their spell and theyâ€™d find themselves in the top half of the table.
Kyle Walker-Peters won the personal Kyle Walker derby battle, scoring his first top-flight goal with a finish that would have social media in meltdown had any of the other English right-backs better known for attacking than defending pulled it off. Armando Broja, one of the hundred Chelsea players learning their trade out on loan and most certainly not part of the reason FIFA have changed the rules for loaning players out, caused the champions-elect all kinds of problems and was fractionally offside when believing heâ€™d put the Saints two to the good.
Top teams find a way not to lose and Laporte thumped home a header – about the only time Salisu hadnâ€™t headed a ball clear.
Chelsea and Spurs met at Stamford Bridge, giving Antonio Conte a chance to return to a stadium where he used to win things.
Tottenhamâ€™s starting XI certainly added more fuel to the theory that Conte might do one from Tottenham if he doesnâ€™t get the reinforcements he is asking for. Chelsea have been pretty meh for a few weeks now, but that was good enough to win this one – though, the result would have almost certainly been different had Harry Kaneâ€™s opener not been disallowed. Yes, I know the result would have been different had Spurs actually scored but you know what I mean.
Now, I happen to think the goal was right to be disallowed under the â€œanywhere else on the pitch thatâ€™s a foulâ€ theory I try to stick to. But, given the goal that was given for Norwich against Watford after Pukki literally threw the Watford defender into the stands before crossing – well, consistency is still missing. Thatâ€™s all I am saying.
Credit to Thiago Silva, though. He managed to get a full slide on to convince Tierney it was a foul – and then ended up scoring Chelseaâ€™s second in the second half. Not a bad day for the Brazilian – it almost made me regret leaving him on the FPL subs bench this week.
Man Unitedâ€™s 1-0 win over West Ham at Old Trafford means that Ralf Rangnick can now truly call himself a United manager. Chucking a load of strikers on when Plan A isnâ€™t working? Check. Winner late into injury time? Check. All three subs having something to do with it? Check. Had he been brave enough to haul off Ronaldo again after another anonymous performance then heâ€™d have had the complete set.
Marcus Rashford has had his critics in the last couple of months but with two goals off the bench in the last couple of games is showing that he could be a key part of Ralfâ€™s revolution – even Anthony Martial put a brief shift in – though his cameo was more about reminding other clubâ€™s he still exists this window.
United are back in the top four – West Ham were a bit naive in losing with the last kick but also suggests that they are now a team that thinks they can win at Old Trafford in the last minute. I mean, they were wrong, but you have to admire their self-belief.
Newcastle United can head off to Saudi Arabia with clear consciences and undertake some very intense warm-weather training that is absolutely not a PR campaign or anything to do with the fact they are controlled by a state.
That long-haul flight will certainly feel a bit better with three points on the board – you suspect many a glass will be raised on the flight to Leedsâ€™ goalie Ilan Meslier after he managed to let Jonjo Shelveyâ€™s â€˜shotâ€™ squirm under him.
There was a raised eyebrow in this household at the sight of Mikel Arteta screaming for Nick Pope to be booked for timewasting in the Arsenal vs Burnley clash. It was reported that Arsenal are being investigated for a curious yellow card that allegedly coincided with a lot of bets being placed on when it would happen. Given the frequency of engagement with the refereeâ€™s notebook, you could suspect it might have something to do with Granit Xhaka – though I doubt youâ€™d get that good odds on the Swiss midfielder getting booked in a game of professional football.
Burnley got a valuable point and continue their search for a Chris Wood replacement as Sean Dyche surely knows trying to stay in the Premier League with Jay Rodriguez and Matej Vydra is not a good idea.
By the time you read this, we might have waved goodbye to Claudio Ranieri for the final time in English football management. Watford were utterly awful at Vicarage Road. The lights going out were their best hope of not losing the game as Josh Sargent finally adapted to the Premier League with a brace in Norwichâ€™s 3-0 win. Oh, theyâ€™re out of the relegation zone now – naturally, after I am sure I condemned them to certain relegation a couple of weeks ago.
Brentford and Wolves provided the most drama of the weekend – and some of it was even on the pitch. They finally wrapped proceedings up well after Jeff Stelling and the boys had knocked off for the weekend – Wolves won 2-1, by the way, but that was fairly irrelevant.Â
First, two Brentford players had to be concussion subbed after knocking each other out in midair – cue the Sunday football screams of â€œTALKâ€ whenever two players in the same team go for the same ball. Then the players were taken from the field of play as there was a drone flying around. When they finally returned, safe in the knowledge that a helicopter was now protecting the stadium from the small, plastic aircraft (the classic case of using a sledgehammer to kill an ant) the refereeâ€™s radio pack didnâ€™t work – causing another delay. The game lasted so long that Ivan Toney seemed to go bald during the official 90 minutes plus – I am sure he used to have some wicked dreadlocks.
Still, the new-look Toney scored – unfortunately for Wolves, two of their Portuguese contingent got one each. I know, I know – that doesnâ€™t really narrow it down.