Manchester City’s excellence and the incompetence of the chasing pack has taken most of the excitement out of the current Premier League season.
But there has still been plenty to get worked up about. Here are some things I’ve been debating (with myself usually) recently.
1) It’s bad for football that Jurgen Klopp has forgotten how to out-coach Jose Mourinho. Manchester United beat Liverpool comfortably last weekend by scoring twice following long-distance humps forward and then camping on the edge of their own area. Mourinho can see that Liverpool have failed to address their defensive problem despite chucking pots of money at it so why can’t Klopp?
I love Klopp so I want him to be a top Premier League boss, but I fear I’m going to be disappointed.
2) I want three from West Ham, Stoke, Southampton and West Brom to be relegated if only to dissuade other clubs from recycling past-it managers rather than giving opportunities to up-and-coming coaches. David Moyes, Paul Lambert, Mark Hughes and Alan Pardew have been rubbish for years. Whatever qualities they had, have long gone.
3) West Ham’s owners and fans also deserve the drop. Leaving Upton Park was fraught with danger no matter what promises David Sullivan and David Gold made, but there’s never an excuse to behave like Hammers fans did last weekend. At the end of the day they were hurling abuse (and coins) at two old age pensioners while creating an atmopshere so toxic it clearly affected the players in a negative way. Smart lads these protesters, helping the club they profess to love to relegation by running amok on matchday.
4) Why did some big clubs apparently spend most of this season’s transfer windows trying to sign Jonny Evans? Is there such a dearth of decent centre-backs that a plodder in a bad defence becomes the most wanted man in the country?
5) Gareth Bale’s next transfer will be an interesting one. His injury record over the past couple of seasons should stop any club paying too many millions for him, but then this is the season when £75 million was chucked at the very average Virgil Van Dijk so who really knows?
6) Spurs will be useless without Harry Kane. They are lucky Arsenal are even more useless.
7) If you’re a very average footballer, best to keep your mouth shut when thinking about dissing far superior performers and teams. Troy Deeney’s penalty miss at Arsenal was a joyous moment for those of us irritated by the half-wit’s abuse of the Londoners earlier in the season.
8) Dwight Gayle is getting a run of games in the Newcastle United team and he is scoring and creating goals. Maybe manager Rafa Benitez might be persuaded to play positively, even against the big guns. They always lose when trying to bore us into submission anyway.