You lot should be grateful this week, you really should. The newspaper that publishes this rubbish every week asked me to submit just 500 words this week as they didn’t have space for more.
No dramas. You know, just the week Cristiano Ronaldo reappears at Old Trafford, ready to either enhance his Premier League legacy or somewhat tarnish it.
But no worries, it’s not as if Liverpool versus Chelsea had anything interesting to mock or Arsenal completely self-combusted against City or anything. It’s not as if Daniel Levy is dancing a silly dance of transfer-war joy having beaten Harry Kane into staying at Spurs in the last seven days. It’s not as if anything untoward occurred at the Etihad in the last week.
So he is back – but not on the side of Manchester most people thought he’d be rocking up to on Friday morning. Depending on who you believe, Ronaldo resigning for Manchester United was the work of Rio Ferdinand, Patrick Evra, the Glazers looking to buy themselves a longer reprieve from protests or Brunaldo – though I am not sure we can continue to call him that if Ronaldo is actually playing for the same team.
The biggest question is not around how he will fit into Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s non-existent tactical framework, of course. It’s all about what number he will wear as he’s not allowed to take Edinson Cavani’s number seven now that the season has started.
Fantasy Football managers all over the world are in meltdown having invested big on Bruno Fernandes – will the Portuguese midfielder have to hand over all set pieces now to Cristiano? The thing is, Brunaldo gets them on target once in a while, you know – Ronaldo, not as often as you might think.
Mikel Arteta assures us he is having a look at himself after Arsenal were royally spanked by a Kane-and-Ronaldo-less Man City 5-0. He might want to start by looking at which planet he was on thinking that Holding, Chambers and Kolasanic would be able to stop City’s attack. And then have a peek at why he felt Granit Xhaka was trustworthy and worth a new deal. Then maybe at why Cedric is his first choice right-back currently.
City were rather good, however – far better than Peppy G’s sweatshirt. I mean, what was that on the back? Some kind of plea for help?
A perfectly good game of football at Anfield was ruined by a referee daring to only briefly look at the VAR screen and realise his big boo-boo in not seeing Reece James’ arm move to the ball to stop it going in. A penalty and red card followed (correctly, correctly) meaning that the second-half was a case of stoic Chelsea defending and frustrating Liverpool attacking. Still, 1-1 was probably a fair result and most judges would have had Virgil van Dijk vs Romelu Lukaku in the heavyweight division down as a split decision, probably to VVD.
Solskjaer might be wondering whether Ronaldo can play as a defensive midfielder given Fred’s performance at Molineux. Wolves, driven by Adama Traore, battered United for the majority and United won 1-0 – 28 away games unbeaten now which is some kind of record.
United were poor, make no mistake about it, and if Ruben Neves had rolled around on the floor immediately then he might have won a foul that stopped United scoring. But he didn’t, and Wolves need to find a way to turn all that lovely stuff into goals and points.
West Ham briefly looked like they could remain the early pacesetters in the table when Michail Antonio scored once more to put the Hammers 2-1 up. But, Patrick Vieira’s team-with-no-direction do have one bright spark – Conor Gallagher, on loan from Chelsea and doing a more-than-passable impression than Frank Lampard by scoring two beauties from midfield.
Tottenham are being quietly efficient behind all the Kane noise. Nuno has managed to get away with being duller than Jose on the pitch, primarily because the team are keeping clean sheets under him. Kane started and finished (the game, not any chances) and it was a fluke/put it an area effort from Son that took three points against Watford.
Patrick Bamford celebrated an England call-up by poaching one from half-a-yard to nick Leeds a point away to Burnley who had led through Chris Wood’s 30,000th Premier League goal. No, not Wood’s 30,000th obviously. We’d be here until 3012 waiting for Burnley to score that many, let alone Wood on his own.
Steve Bruce continues to be under pressure at Newcastle – but then has he ever not been under pressure there? Newcastle scored in injury-time to lead Southampton 2-1 but still found a way to screw it up, gifting the Saints a penalty and JWP doesn’t miss many of them.
As pretty as Brighton are, you just kinda knew that Graham Potter vs Rafa Benitez was likely to end up with a big W for the Spaniard. Demari Gray is being touted as the signing of the summer (before presumably disappearing and being toilet as Everton start their November slide). Gray scored a lovely goal and wisely kept himself out of the heated “who is taking this penalty THEN?” debate that raged – apparently, DLC was allowed the first one and Richarlison would have had the second, had there been one. We can only guess that the Brazilian either forgot or was in no mood to follow the rules.
Norwich kept themselves above Arsenal in the league by scoring and not winning at Carrow Road. Marc Albrighton, who is still playing, scored a deflected winner for Leicester who had led through Jamie Vardy. Vardy disappointed in truth – where was the canary based celebration? Norwich had a late, late equaliser chalked off by VAR as Todd Cantwell was standing in front of Kasper Schmeichel and, you know, offside. Apparently, he was not interfering with play according to Daniel Farke. Just ask Brian Clough what he thinks about strikers not interfering with play in the box.
Emi Buendia and Ivan Toney arrived in the Premier League with big reputations to live up to this season and both netted at Villa Park. Brentford remain unbeaten and Buendia scored the kind of goal that a certain someone who used to play for the club would have loved to have scored himself. Credit to Dean Smith though – he managed to get away with playing Ashley Young in central midfield.
And so, a mere fortnight into the new season, players that are allowed to disappear to their international teams are off – many with their phones on to see if they can get that deadline day payday of a move.