As yet another tedious international break looms, we’re left looking back on the Premier League again, hoping beyond hope that none of our team’s players get injured playing meaningless games in 5,000 seat stadiums while somebody plays Vindaloo by Fat Les on a trumpet in the background.
A leaked England lineup showed Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain starting for the Three Lions, so it just goes to show that form means nothing when Gareth Southgate is your manager. Joe Hart continues to start in goal for England, despite not doing anything notable that didn’t have the Head and Shoulders logo attached to it for about four years.
All in all, it’s going to be yet another grind of a game that I won’t watch.
But on to the Premier League, where the last two weeks must be condensed because I was celebrating my wedding anniversary in Florida! Despite my loyalty to The Next Ten Words, I highly doubt my wife would have been happy with me bringing my laptop to the beach with us, so I had to leave it at home.
This article will feature both Manchester Clubs and Crystal Palace. Twice. That’s because I’m looking to drive home my opinion on Crystal Palace as a football club and Roy Hodgson as a manager.
Let’s start then, with Manchester City’s annihilation of Crystal Palace in Week 6 at the Etihad. Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero and Fabian Delph of all people were on the scoresheet for the game which took Crystal Palace’s season deeper in to the depressing depths of the relegation zone. Now, technically you can’t get any lower than 20th, but I’d like to think there’s a secret 21st position that Palace are currently occupying.
Despite Sterling getting on the scoresheet twice, Leroy Sane was the star of the day, scoring and adding two assists to his name, proving to Pep Guardiola that he might be close to a consistent starting lineup spot for City.
Goal difference is what separates the two Manchester clubs at the top of the table, with both yet to lose a game after seven, and both playing some of the best football they’ve played in years. This is especially exciting for United and City fans, considering the Champions League has started, and the added games to the team’s respective schedules hasn’t done anything to deter them from goals and wins.
Unfortunately for City, though, Sergio Aguero looks to be out for around six weeks, which could definitely put a damper on things, but with Premier League fixtures against Stoke, Burnley, Wolves and West Brom, they should be able to cope.
If Palace fans thought things couldn’t get any worse, they had to travel back up to Manchester in Week 7 to face Manchester United who, after this fixture, sit only one goal behind City in the table. The game finished 4-0, with goals from Juan Mata, Romelu Lukaku and two from Marouane Fellaini. Anthony Martial continued his electric start to the season, coming on to assist the final goal of the game, and Thierry Henry said this week that Martial looks a much better player than he did at that age. Strong, inspiring words from one of the best to play the game can only help Martial’s confidence as United look to a tough fixture against Liverpool next weekend. Martial does have a history against Liverpool, however, dismantling them at Old Trafford on his debut when Louis Van Gaal was manager.
Roy Hodgson said after the game that Palace were like “a boxer fighting in a class he’s not able to handle.” Or like a Premier League team playing in a league they’re not able to handle? I don’t know what it is about football managers citing other sports for their similies, but just say it like it is next time, Roy. Palace are going down, you know it, I know it, and if we’re going off the precedent set by the Palace board, you’ve got one game left until you’re sacked.
That’s unfortunately the reality now in modern day football. Frank De Boer, as dismal as the football was, should never have been sacked this early. Hodgson is yet to win a game in the Premier League, and with Palace welcoming Chelsea next weekend, it’s looking increasingly less likely. The problem with the Palace board now, is no matter how bad it gets, they have to stick with Hodgson till the end of the season, or at least till after January. If that means they don’t win a game, so be it. They’ve made their bed.
They’re like a snooker player who’s shit.
Back to Week 6, which saw Everton finally get a win, this time over Bournemouth at Goodison Park. Oumar Niasse was the scorer of Everton’s two goals as injury problems mount for The Blues, but Niasse was only brought in to the squad for that reason alone. Ronald Koeman tried his best to sell Niasse in the Summer transfer window, but his addition to the squad was a godsend for Everton, who have simply not been good enough this season, despite all the money spent on additions over the Summer.
Joshua King got Bournemouth’s only goal of the game, which actually opened the scoring, but it wasn’t enough when Niasse struck on the 82nd minute, his second goal in five minutes to finish the game off.
Bournemouth sit in 19th place in the Premier League, a position many thought was way behind The Cherries, who will now be considered by many as a Premier League mainstay. Despite a rocky start, Bournemouth fans should have faith in Eddie Howe to turn in around before The FA come knocking when England get knocked out of the World Cup in the group stages.
Bouncing forward to Week 7 for the final recap of the week, Liverpool travelled to St James’ Park and labored to a 1-1 draw against an ecstatic Newcastle side, managed by former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez. Liverpool’s woes continue, winning only three of their first seven games, and their defensive problems seem to be obvious to anybody but their own manager, Jurgen
I often delight in seeing or hearing rival fans have meltdowns (which is the main reason I love Arsenal Fan TV), but listening to Liverpool fans phone in to radio shows and complain year after year about their faulty defense is starting to get a bit sad. Now, most if not all phone ins are designed to bring in the strongest opinions, and some border on ridiculous, but it amazes me how many people can see an urgent problem like Liverpool’s defense, and yet their own manager cannot.
After failing to sign Virgil Van Dijk in the Summer transfer window, it seemed like there was simply no Plan B, leaving The Reds having to use players out of position to field a full squad. With City and United’s dominance so far, it’s hard to see an opportunity for Liverpool to come back in to the running for the Premier League, especially with Champions League football (at least for the time being).
A very tricky fixture against Manchester United looms next weekend, but form goes out of the window in derbies like these. Despite this, I would be hard pressed to bet against United for that fixture, whether I’m a fan or not.
Other fixtures for Week 8 include West Brom travelling to Burnley, Manchester City welcoming Stoke City to the Etihad, and the week will round off with Leicester facing West Brom at the King Power Stadium.
I hope you all enjoy the weekend off; I know I won’t!
Ryan Oldham is a Manchester native and a lifelong supporter of Manchester United. He knows far more about English Premier League football than you do, and therefore was selected to write a weekly update on the most popular professional sports league in the world. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you like what you’ve read here, please CONSIDER THIS