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Chris Darwen – Tales From The Top Flight

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Chris: Before we crack on and you wonder what all this is about, I need to let you in on a few things first.  If you are expecting in-depth football analysis from this column, you are in the wrong place.  If you are hoping for some bad puns, cheap giggles and a writer that is indulging himself in his own sense of humour then go and grab a coffee and settle in.

 A little about me: I’m a sports writer and author living his dream on the Costa Blanca in Spain.  This column has been featured each week in the largest English speaking newspaper in the south of Spain for over a year now and I am delighted to have turned it into a daily blog.  I’m 37, still addicted to Football Manager and a proud shareholder in Real Oviedo.  Anyway, enjoy!

Twitter: @TalesFromTTF

Website: www.talesfromthetopflight.com

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/talesfromthetopflight


I’ve said it before and I will say it again. Friendly matches do not count! Did winning all their pre-Euro 2016 matches help England? Hell no. Therefore does battering Barcelona 4-0 mean Liverpool are odds on to win the title this year? Not even a little bit. Funny, the Liverpool fans were a little more quiet when they then lost 4-0 to Mainz 24 hours later.

Remember the above Sam, Andy Carroll scoring two friendly goals against Juventus at the weekend, is not enough of a reason to make him England’s new number nine. West Ham have also been playing a bit of competitive football, easing through to the next round of the Europa League qualifiers by winning their first proper match at the Olympic Stadium. Bilic has also been busy in the transfer market, throwing around £20m for Swansea’s Andre Ayew and hoping to bring in Masuaku to launch balls in from the left on to Andy’s nut.

Even though I used to spend the summer looking forward to the Charity Shield when growing up, I care nothing for the Community Shield either. Lingard need not get too carried away, scoring a fantastic goal at Wembley does not mean he is going to figure regularly for United, mainly because he is young and English and Jose is not a fan of either of those facts. No, even sitting on the bench at Wembley Mourinho will have been hoping that after all the prolonged posturing between United and Juventus that Pogba passes his medical. Either that or he is going to have to keep picking Fellaini. Anything please, just so #pogback can disappear quickly back to from where it came.

Fellaini, however, claims Mourinho trusts him. Yes mate, trusts you to toddle off quietly to Sunderland when Moyes stumps up the cash. Ideally, in the eyes of Jose, Fellaini will take Mata with him, the Spaniard being subbed on and off again within 30 minutes. Classic Jose, making subtle hints. United won 2-1 which means, in the vast majority of United fans eyes, the combination of Mou and Zlatan is a dead cert to win the title. Jose will definitely count that as his first trophy and Zlatan clearly has a better script writer than I.

Tottenham have been getting an easy ride from TFTTF over the summer, but the health and safety boys are all over them. Their club kitchen has been closed down after inspectors found insects and mouse droppings in the food preparation area. Burgers and hot dogs were also found “left out of the fridge” which sounds like a five point deduction waiting to happen to me.

Arsene has been putting his magical powers of player assessment to the test once more. He has noticed that Zlatan “isn’t the youngest.” Next he will be claiming that Theo is a striker. Oh, he did. And then Theo scored against City. Doesn’t count boys, friendly you see.

In other news from the last week, Gabriel and Jesus became the next two signings for Manchester City, for a combined £27m from Palmerias.

What do you mean he is the same player?  The Brazilian international will actually join up with Pep in January, apparently he wants to spend Christmas with the family.  We can all have a good look at the next Neymar/Pele/Ronaldinho when he plays for Brazil in the Olympics.  Pep is expected to move for Moses and Pope in the next few hours, completing his very own holy trinity.

I see what David Moyes meant by turning Sunderland into the new Everton. Steven Pienaar is training with his former boss in the hope of getting a deal. Before we know it, Fellaini will be there and Tim Howard will be returning from the States.  All they need to do is pick up the phone to Victor Anichebe and Phil Jagielka and they get bonus points for completing a set.

Important people at Bayern have been “outraged” at the treatment of the former Germany captain and members of Fifpro, who I have to admit I have no clue to who they are, are also liking it to “bullying in the work place” and suggesting Jose “should go to prison” for what he has done.  What’s that Jose, another industrial tribunal heading your way?  Probably not, it’s football innit.

Bobby Martinez is a magician.  He managed to get the Everton job having just relegated Wigan and now he has popped up as manager of one of the most talented group of individuals in Europe.  Martinez has landed the gig as Belgium manager, which will please Lukaku no end, but Kompany is already tearing his hair out.  How this has happened, we have no idea.  Maybe Bobby is better suited to international management, less time to coach defenders in the art of not defending, possibly?

Apparently the Poch was “staggered” that Harry Kane was taking corners at Euro 2016. It is nice to see his command of the English language coming on.  Watching his England players in the tournament must have increased his vocabulary no end.  Words like staggered, amazed, incredulous and bamboozled will have been uttered repeatedly when watching England’s campaign.

I’ve been giving Theo Walcott a rough ride in recent days and even in today’s column.  He has found someone to stick up for him again.  Unsurprisingly it is Bayern, who seem to be the football bullying police this week.  David Alaba has named Walcott as his toughest opponent.  I kid you not.  It’s in an official interview and everything.  If this does not get written off as “lost in translation” and “taken out of context” by Monday morning I will close this column down.  The claim clearly says more about Alaba than Theo. Staying with Arsenal, Wilshere is injured again.  A crisp packet has gone on record to say that Wilshere is the toughest opponent he has ever faced.  The crisp packet did manage to put Wilshere out for six weeks though.

PS:  If you enjoyed the column, why not go and buy last season’s book?  “Tales from the Top Flight: A Review of the 2015/16 English Premier League” is available in paperbackKindle and all other eReaders by going to Amazon

PPS: Head over to www.talesfromthetopflight.com to subscribe to more of the same but daily!

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