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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
It’s been a tough run for Wayne Rooney and on Saturday he finally completed a 180 degree turn for the first time this season. No, not on the pitch against Arsenal, but going from being humbly apologetic for being caught out on the beer after England’s win over Scotland to hitting out at the press for a “lack of respect.” Yes, he may well have adopted the Melania Trump method of script pinching in using Jose’s press conference notes but Rooney showed he was far impressed from his treatment, finishing with “I am not finished yet.” We can only hope that he didn’t mean he’d left half a bottle of whisky at the wedding and was heading back to get it. Ryan Giggs said they whole thing made him glad he isn’t a player today. Yes Ryan, because the papers never caught up with your antics, did they?
What, you want some football talk? Well, Arsenal didn’t play anywhere near as much as United and still managed to escape with a point. Jose claimed United are the unluckiest side in the Premier League after the match. Jose, let me introduce you to a concept called Karma. Sure, you had an absolute stonewall penalty turned down but what goes around might well come around. Try being nice, like you were when you shook Arsene’s hand. Good things might start to follow. Arsenal were as dominated as Stoke and Burnley have been at Old Trafford this season and escaped with the very same point as Stoke and Burnley courtesy of a late equaliser from late substitute Giroud. It has to be said though, Ozil must have been occupying the same part of the pitch as Pogba has loitered in for most of the season as I couldn’t see him anywhere.
Yaya Toure, give that guy a cake. In one single game he has made more of an impact than another big midfielder playing his football in Manchester. Pep feels like it is having a new player available to him and Yaya was always confident his manager would turn to him eventually.
Not so much luck for Vincent Kompany though. In the week where it came out that Pep doesn’t want his players conducting in anything, shall we say, of adult material after midnight Kompany yet again failed to last more than ten minutes. It’s just what the injury prone skipper needs, Claudio Bravo’s knee smashing into his head. Joe Hart wouldn’t have done that. Those England “rumours” have died down for Pardew. Alan, if you have to say every single week “conceding from set pieces just isn’t us” then there is a real chance that it might actually be. Palace have the worst form in the entire country, which is a nice antidote to having the most smug manager in the country.
I’ve always rated that David Moyes. A very underrated manager. The future looks a little brighter at the Stadium of Light where the lights literally went out on Hull. Moysey has been taking lessons from Jamie Redknapp though, calling his match winner Anichebe a “young Drogba.” Anichebe is 28.
Liverpool failed to get past Southampton. Whilst Rooney was getting slightly hammered in a hotel at someone’s wedding, team mates Lallana and Henderson were allegedly embarking on a 220 mile round trip to a strip club. Well, they had played quite well. Klopp said he was “perfectly fine” with the 0-0 draw in the South Coast. Now now Kloppo, are you fibbing?
Leicester, they are in trouble aren’t they. Ranieri claimed he was delighted with his team’s reaction to being 2-0 down to Watford. The problem is Claudio, you were 2-0 down in the first place and your boys really do need to start remembering what got them in the Champions League in the first place. Just watch Leicester go and be brilliant against Brugge on Tuesday and you will start to understand the problems starting to set in at the King Power Stadium. Mazzarri said his team had done what he wanted, which I presume was “win”.
Swansea are not in crisis says Bob Bradley, and they actually turned up against Everton. BB admits it is going to be a “long hard road to survival” but if they play as well as they did in the first part of the game against Koeman’s team, they have an outside chance. Everton are suffering from me suggesting on live television that they might finish in the top six this season. I probably cannot apologise enough, but then I am unlikely to start.
Bournemouth beat Stoke. Winger Jordan Ibe was threatened at knife point for his £25,000 watch after training. There was a time when that watch would have kept Bournemouth from going out of business. Mark Hughes was refreshing in defeat, saying they could only blame themselves which is a slightly different track taken compared to a few other managers in the game currently. Bojan suffered from the curse of the in-depth interview. Having come across superbly well on Sky Soccer Saturday in a pre-match piece, he proceeded to miss the vital penalty for Stoke.
The use of social media in football is perfectly set up for matches like Spurs and West Ham. With ten minutes to go Arsenal fans were on Twitter cheering themselves up after an abject point at Old Trafford, mocking the demise of Tottenham’s unbeaten record. In the 92nd minute of the match, those very same Arsenal fans seemed to be more interested in Strictly Come Dancing. Bilic called the defeat difficult to take. Surely he is getting used to it? I have a cunning formula for beating Tottenham. Be wary of anyone called Harry and don’t give them penalties. That’s three or four weeks in a row that they’ve scored from the spot and just when you thought the returning Harry Kane was enough, they unleash another Harry called Winks. Mind you, those West Ham fans leaving White Hart Lane early to miss the rush, thinking three points were in the bag were a mite foolish weren’t they? Still, it’s not all doom and gloom for the Hammers, they are being heavily linked with the signing of Daniel Sturridge, because they just do not have enough strikers wandering around the pitch looking barely interested.
I’d like to say the fixture computer left the best to last this weekend, but Burnley and WBA got it on on Monday night. Sunday gave us the delights of Middlesbrough playing host to Chelsea in the battle of which manager would look a special kind of sultry moody. It’s almost as if Costa just didn’t want to try for a previous manager as he showed yet again why he is one of the more dangerous strikers in the league, netting Chelsea’s winner in the first half. With the pantomime season soon upon us, Conte will be hoping his number one villainous dame is available for the Christmas run. That’s something like 30 clean sheets in a row for Chelsea now since Conte invented the 343. Well done Antonio!
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PPPS: Chris will be live on FANTVuk tonight (Tuesday) at 21:00 GMT – tune in on the Sky Channel “Showcase” on 212. To catch up on posts you may have missed head over to www.talesfromthetopflight.com and follow him on Twitter: @comeontheoviedo