“To never really be wanted, to feel that people wanted me to fail, to read people constantly saying I would fail, that I was useless, a fat waste of space, a stupid, tactically inept cabbage-head or whatever. And it was from day one.”
Steve, my dear fellow, we’ve all felt like that. Last week was the week that the career of Steve Bruce came to an end as the new Newcastle board decided they wanted a failed Luton Town manager to guide them through the next three matches rather than endure another minute of Bruceyball.
Bruce exits stage left, leaving us with one of the finest post-sacking quotes ever uttered – whilst totting up the millions he will have been paid off. If he’s got any sense, he’ll be off to a Las Vegas Casino and putting a smile back on that lovely non-cabbage-based face of his.
We’ll get on to how the Magpies got on against Palace as we have several more interesting things to get through before that.
It was a quiet afternoon at Old Trafford, for example. Four Liverpool players pouncing on Pogba to create their 5th against United was the picture-postcard of the two clubs in this current Premier League era. Pogba came on at half-time to try and stop United getting further embarrassed. Pogba was sent off in the 61st minute. Was it wrong to smirk when Ronaldo’s “consolation” (if there can be such a thing when you are 5-0 down at home to your biggest rivals in 50 minutes) was disallowed by VAR? Probably, but still.
Mo Salah helped himself to another hat-trick, making Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire look like they’d be better off in Norwich’s defence than United’s. £80m on United’s captain doesn’t look like the best money spent right now. When Harry met Salah, the perfect Sunday evening movie especially around Halloween.
Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer has to be on borrowed time now, surely. Especially now Steve Bruce is available. Surely he cannot survive losing 6-1 to Spurs at home last season and then this against Liverpool? October is a month to avoid at OT, you’d think. Still, you have to applaud him for going to five at the back in an effort to preserve their 5-0 deficit. Manchester United – the absolute opposite of a team greater than the sum of its parts.
Several Chelsea fans were concerned heading into the Norwich match minus Romelu Lukaku (no goal in ages) and Timo Werner (hardly prolific since he joined). Naturally, the Blues clicked into gear and stuck 7 (SEVEN) past the Canaries who, after two clean sheets in a row ahead of their trip to the Bridge, looked like rabbits in Mason Mount’s headlights.
Mount helped himself to three and Ben Chilwell showed both Lukaku and Werner how it is done with yet another goal. Even Callum Hudson-Odoi, a player who Tuchel is hoping can put in another 249 decent performances in a row now, played and scored.
Peppy G’s lot were equally classy, given they were playing a team that won’t be finishing bottom of the table in Brighton. City went south and won 4-1, racing into a three-goal lead at half-time. Credit to Potter’s team, though. They had a real go themselves but weren’t helped by a bad day in the goalkeeping office for Robbie Sanchez.
At Selhurst Park, Graeme Jones’ Newcastle were so bad even Christian Benteke scored. Fortunately for the new owners, they do have a decent striker in Callum Wilson who levelled things up with a proper overhead kick. Possibly the best performance of the match came from the Palace fans, though – with that banner.
Things are coming together much quicker for Wolves than Leeds this season, but El Loco’s men got a late equaliser from the spot to keep them out of the relegation zone. Could Wolves end up being best of the rest this season?
Not if a resurgent Arsenal have anything to do with it. It’s only fair to give Arteta a bit of praise given how much he gets kicked when Arsenal lose – they were very good against Villa and reminded us of a very clear Premier League fact; no matter how good a leader Tyrone Mings is, it does not hide from the fact he is not an international class central defender.
West Ham continue to look like the second-best team in London. Fresh from another win and clean sheet in Europe, David Moyes’ men outplayed Spurs and fully deserved their 1-0 win. Harry Kane was close enough to Michail Antonio’s winner to fully appreciate the predatory instincts – but maybe he could have tried stopping him?
Brentford put on another good home show but came away beaten for the second game in a row at their shiny new stadium. Youri Tielemans thunderclapped home the opener before James Maddison nicked the winner for an ever-improving Leicester.
Villa look a little bit lost under Dean Smith right now in the post-Grealish era. A lot of money has been spent replacing their former skipper and it’s all feeling a bit washed down the sink at the moment. Danny Ings might have scored a couple so far, but if you’re going to play him in central midfield he won’t score many more.
Chelsea’s U23s got a fine point at home to Burnley who, equally crazily, saw their Ivory Coast international score twice. Football has changed, right? Livramento and Broja, both formerly of the Chelsea parish, scored Southampton’s goals leaving Sean Dyche wondering what might have been had they bought a couple more like Maxwel Cornet in the summer window.
The biggest shock of the weekend came up at Goodison Park. Here’s the deal, Rafa. People will accept the unadventurous football most of the time because you tend to keep it out of your own net pretty well. But losing 5-2 at home to Watford? That’s only going to remind people you used to manage another club in the area, isn’t it?