Folks, as we slide into November’s DMs it is the time of year where I typically owe a few football clubs an apology. Already, a mere 10 matches into the Premier League season, there’s a bit of a list – so Crystal Palace, Leeds, Tottenham and more, humble pie is being served hot or cold. It is your choice.
All the pre-match statistical chatter was around how Peppy G had managed to win something like 286 of his first 199 Premier League matches. Of course, that is mathematically impossible – but the way people were talking up his first 199 outings with a win % that has absolutely no correlation to the amount of money spent, you kinda knew what was about to happen when Palace took to the field.
Ah yes, apologies. I might have suggested that Vieira might challenge Frank de Boer in terms of short Selhurst Park stays and it would appear I’m a little wide of the mark on this one. Vieira is now being talked up as the heir to Pep’s throne following their 2-0 win at the Etihad. Sure, it helps when Aymeric Laporte manages to increase the difficulty of the task ahead – getting a red card on the halfway line for dragging someone down. We’ve all seen Palace score hundreds of goals, running in behind from the halfway line, rounding the keeper and tucking home, haven’t we? Yes, a definite goal-scoring opportunity.
Either way, Palace deserved their win – sure, City had a goal disallowed as well and Ederson will still be wondering how Zaha’s bobbler with his left went in but Palace were good value for all three points. One of the biggest questions post-match was how on Earth Chelsea will find space for Conor Gallagher next season?
Crisis rarely hangs around too long in football as the baton is often passed along quite quickly. And so, at Tottenham’s wonderful ground which has basically cost them having a decent team, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer mixed it up and came up with a winning combination against Spurs. The answer was going with a 70-year-old strikeforce, duh.
Ronaldo and Cavani schooled Tottenham’s backline and Harry Kane successfully played Harry Maguire back into a bit of form. Nuno is on borrowed time at the Lane – taking off your brightest attacking spark when 2-0 down is never going to go down well with fans that still buy into the whole ‘to dare is to do’ guff. And Spurs fans, you are the second apology as pillorised Levy for not sorting Nuno out with the gig earlier when it was clear the likes of Conte weren’t coming. I’ve said it before, I know nothing. Nothing!
Graham Potter magicked up a comeback at Anfield, seeing his Brighton team turn over a 2-0 deficit and leave Liverpool’s gaff with a point. If Spurs and United are still mulling over their managerial options, they really couldn’t do much better than offering Potter the next rung on his career ladder. Liverpool didn’t look perfect at the back at Old Trafford – it’s amazing how scoring five can paper over some cracks – and Brighton took full advantage.
Getting rid of Steve Bruce has certainly helped life at St James’ Park. Newcastle held out for over half a game before Chelsea took complete and utter control, their right-back scoring twice to become their leading Premier League scorer. Their second top scorer? Yeah, their left-back. Chelsea still top the table and yet nobody is really talking about them.
Arsenal earn the third apology – it is possible I judged them a little too early and might have laughed a little too hard at them paying all that money on Aaron Ramsdale. They blew a Leicester side, clearly thinking about the extra hour in bed they were getting later, out of the water in the first 15 minutes at the King Power and then were grateful to their keeper for keeping them at bay. Ramsdale made save after save and it does feel like something is coming together for Arteta now.
Sean Dyche has been at Burnley for nine years now. Nine years – people get less for armed robbery. In something that is absolutely 100% not a publicity stunt, the club announced that a former NFL player has bought a stake in the club, a guy also keen to pass on his knowledge of how to win. Well, whatever he said worked as Burnley notched up their first win of the Premier League season and Maxwel Cornet is the current holder of the “must be the best signing of the season, surely?” award – previously held by Demarai Gray.
Claudio Ranieri was disappointed to see Southampton beat his Watford side 1-0 at Vicarage Road. The Saints had one shot on target and one was all they needed – Che Adams curling it top bins to take the points. Ranieri was brought in to provide stability – well, the club have been bobbins, brilliant and now mediocre in his three outings so far. Mind you, the last time he lost to the South Coast side he got the boot from Leicester. You’d think that isn’t going to happen this time but, you know, Watford and all that.
Norwich’s statement in the press midweek carried more punch than their performance against Leeds. The Canaries started a run of matches against teams they really need to win pretty poorly as a very average showing from Bielsa’s lot ended in their first away win of the campaign. Mind you, I can’t see many sides staying up with Teemu Pukki and Kieron Dowell as their front pair.
The David Cameron derby certainly cranked up the pressure on Dean Smith. Dropping the skipper, Tyrone Mings, and being without Danny Ings didn’t have the desired outcome even if Ollie Watkins remembered where the back of the net was. West Ham were decent – Villa were not and it looked like VAR sent the wrong centre-back off. Hause gave Benrahma a proper elbow before Konza brought down Jarrod Bowen, only left-footed and going to his right – goal-scoring opportunity, you say? There was definitely a red in there somewhere, just the wrong player got it.
West Ham well and truly fourth – maybe Spurs should try and tempt the Moysiah?