Well folks, whoâ€™d have thought it? Three managers sacked in the Premier League since we last spoke and none of them go by the name of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Credit to Norwich and Villa – thatâ€™s how you sack a manager. Cold, clinical and most importantly – well before my deadline for this column. Tottenham, you couldnâ€™t even get that right, could you?
Itâ€™s hard to believe that Daniel Levy ever truly thought Nuno was a good idea given that he was 9th choice and he got such a short contract. But it was a shame to see such a good man dismissed and replaced in a matter of hours.
Of course, losing 3-0 to a team as utterly rubbish as Manchester United is never a good look – but you have to wonder exactly what has changed enough for Antonio Conte to take over now rather than in the summer. Personally, I am not buying a single word of the â€˜emotionâ€™ around leaving Inter. Maybe I am cynical, but it might have a little more to do with the fact that Harry Kane is clearly going nowhere and Levy is now desperate enough to throw Conte a January war chest full of readies to go and spend on players like AC Milanâ€™s Franck Kessie.
At least Spurs got their man, this time, which is more can be said for Newcastle United. News broke that Unai Emery was to be the new man in the St Jamesâ€™ Park hot-seat. Apparently, Emery beat Eddie Howe to the job. It was 99.9% done, according to the journos competing with each other to look like they broke the story – the only problem being, the leak to the press meant the deal fell apart.Â
Emery, a little miffed that it was announced before a contract was signed and his team played that evening, backtracked quicker than any Newcastle midfielder this season – leaving Eddie Howe to take a seat at the Amex (he does realise the side doesnâ€™t actually play on the South Coast, right?) putting a brave face on the fact he wasnâ€™t the man they really wanted.
As for Daniel Farke, the joy of finally winning a Premier League match canâ€™t have lasted long seeing he was given the bullet in the away changing room after Norwichâ€™s 2-1 over Brentford. And Dean Smith? Well, Villa no longer have a fan in charge after he was sacked after the Friday night defeat to Southampton. Just FYI to both clubs, Neil Warnock is back on the market and very keen to add to the 1603 matches heâ€™s done so far.
So, at the time of writing, OGS is still in paid employment. Unitedâ€™s battering in the Manchester Derby was as bad as it was against Liverpool a fortnight ago – had David de Gea not thrown himself back to the era when he was possibly the best in the world, United could have been six down at half-time. De Gea, amongst all his amazing saves, still found time to throw one in, competing with Eric Bailly for the most comical goal of the match.Â
For all United fans still not quite sure where they sit in the football world right now – remember this. Had City and Liverpool chosen to keep going rather than rest their legs, both could have scored eight, nine or even ten against you. But hey, Ronaldo eh? Heâ€™ll sell some shirts, that boy.
Chelsea ended the weekend still top-of-the-tree despite failing to see off Burnley at Stamford Bridge. Tommy Tâ€™s men had nearly 30 shots at goal and managed to score once. Dycheâ€™s lot – well they needed little of the ball and very few chances to get their solitary goal. A fine point in the context of the weekend, really.
Liverpoolâ€™s unbeaten record ended at the hands of the 1000-up Moysiah at the Athleticâ€™s Stadium. Alisson had one of those moments punching a corner into his own net before predictably suggesting he was fouled. Liverpool looked shaky as (again) in defence meaning West Ham are now above them in the Premier League table. Mind you, slip or no slip, Aaron Cresswell should have gone for his foul on Jordan Henderson. Just ask Mason Holgate.
Up at Everton, Conteâ€™s league era got underway much in the same way Nunoâ€™s ended – an anonymous Harry Kane, no shots on target and, obviously, no goals. It could have been worse had VAR not insisted Evertonâ€™s penalty got overturned. Mind you, Richarlison spends so long on the floor it is hard to know whether heâ€™s ever actually been touched or not. VAR was not Rafaâ€™s friend as Holgateâ€™s yellow was upgraded to red after they realised heâ€™d taken someone out two-footed above the knees. Still, not a red in East London, apparently.
If Leeds had just kept their legs shut for another minute, they might have got another win. Bielsaâ€™s boys led 1-0 against Leicester before conceding immediately after the restart – is it just me, or is that happening a lot more this season? The point keeps them three away from the drop zone, just above managerless Villa. Oh, John Terry for that gig anyone?
Crystal Palaceâ€™s evolution into being a decent to watch, unlikely to actually go down football team continued with a fine 2-0 win over Wolves, a victory that owed as much to VAR as it did to Wilf Zaha et al. That Conor Gallagher, there will be a bun-fight for him in the summer, thatâ€™s for sure.
Arsenal are up to 5th after Emile Smith-Rowe managed to score a goal that was not ruled out for offside against Watford. Arteta has now managed 100 games for Arsenal and probably deserves this mini-break from being close to the exit door.
And we leave it here, pondering whether the next time we speak Frank Lampard and John Terry might be Premier League managers. Solksjaer will be, naturally – that guy seems to be fireproof.