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Chris Darwen is a sports writer and author living his dream on the Costa Blanca in Spain. Tales From The Top Flight has been featured each week in the largest English speaking newspaper in the south of Spain for over a year now and he is delighted to have turned it into a blog. Chris is 37, still addicted to Football Manager and a proud shareholder in Real Oviedo.
Tales From The Top Flight
I spent at least five minutes last night trying to remember a better Champions League debut. I recall Rooney getting a hat-trick for United on his first time in a red shirt when he was young, fit and pretty good but I don’t think anything comes close to Leicester City. Ranieri might be aiming for third place in the group but his players clearly have other ideas, racing to a 3-0 win over Club Brugge. It was that comfortable for them Mahrez even scored a penalty, which complimented his free kick rather nicely.
The attendance at Wembley was slightly more impressive than the performance Spurs delivered. True to their England form at their England home, Kane et al could not do enough to see off Monaco who will have been delighted with their 2-1 victory.
City and Gladbach finally got it on. The Gladbach PR team had performed brilliantly, leaving mock “sick notes” on the seats in the away end to help all their fans smooth over the tricky chat with the boss for taking an extra day off. Sadly for Gladbach some of those letters found their way in to the away dressing room as the German side also failed to turn up for work on Wednesday. Aguero looked fresh following his early season rest and netted his ninth City hat-trick in the 4-0 rout.
Casting our minds back to Tuesday night, I could not let this pass. Brendan Rodgers was “proud” of his players in their 23-0 hammering in the Camp Nou. He also said losing “was no embarrassment.” Losing 3-1 would have been alright Brendan, but 7-0 makes Scottish football look even worse than it actually is, and that is saying something. Mind you, it makes you wonder how many Rangers would have lost by.
Wenger was very pleased with the point gained in Paris, and understandably so. His good mood will have been tempered by the fact Alexis Sanchez would like a few more zeros on his monthly pay cheque. I can already imagine the colour in Arsene’s face draining as he considers the impact on the bottom line.
There already seem to be some unhappy faces at Old Trafford. Mkhitaryan is already grumbling about Jose’s tactics and allegedly there was a bit of a disagreement in the dressing room at half time in the derby. Mou is also not a fan of certain things, rubbish first starts in a United shirt right up there with his disdain for the Europa League. Jose has said that “big players don’t want to be playing in it” whilst probably not whispering under his breath “which means Lingard, Mkhitaryan and Herrera are gagging for it.” Mourinho also thinks that playing in the Europa League will damage United’s chances of winning the title. What’s that Jose? You’ve realised that City might be too good and have decided to get some excuses in early? It’s a little later than Swansea last season, but good effort none the less.
Payet has come out in the press to defend his rabona assist against Watford which, to be blunt, is more than Watford did to defend his rabona in the match at the London Stadium. Interestingly, if Messi pulls off something like that or, say, anyone English with that ability they would be applauded. Payet? No, he is disrespecting the game isn’t he. Stop trying to make beautiful things in the game sound bad, please.
Speaking of beautiful things in the game, we move swiftly on to Tony Pulis. WBA fans will be delighted to know he is pretty much out the door. WBA fans will be slightly less delighted to know that Uncle Woy is lined up to replace him. I presume WBA had to talk Hodgson out of his plans to retire. Many people will wish he had stuck to his original plan. Still, at least the players will be familiar with a rigid 442 system.
Jurgen Klopp and Adam Lallana are next door neighbours apparently. Knowing how excitable Kloppo gets when anything gets done well, I can only imagine how many pairs of glasses he will go through when he sees the level of technique Lallana uses to put the bins out. Staying with Liverpool, Moreno is prepared to try anything to be a better footballer. He will even try to mimic the world’s very best player, Leo Messi. No, Moreno has not been studying videos of Messi taking free kicks, dribbling or even defending quite well. Moreno thinks copying his hair cut will be enough. Poor Moreno.
Finally, when David Moyes first took over at Sunderland Lamina Kone was already wanting to head off to Everton. Now, having worked with David Moyes for a month Kone wants to sign a new five year contract. I am presuming that five year contract has a hell of a lot of money involved, because there is no way at all that it is what is happening on the training field that has convinced Kone to stay. Money talks more sense than Sunderland’s manager, clearly.
PS: You can catch me every Tuesday and Friday on FANTVuk – I’m normally on around 19:20ish and FANTVuk can be found live on YouTube, Facebook, Freeview or Sky 212. I’ve been told I am better than Iain Dowie on Sky, and I still haven’t worked out if that is a good thing or not.
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