Premier League Weekend Hot Takes, The Better Late than Never Edition
How bad was this match? The man upstairs tried his best to prevent anyone to watch it. A malfunction of the stadium lights in the second half led to a 15 minute(!) delay in play and in the end, play was resumed without rectifying the problem. I got to say I’m a little tired of technology interrupting game. The worse part was those poor saps who were suckered in to watching, me included, were subjected to an additional 15 minutes of stoppage time. In the future, this match may be used as a means of torture to gain vital state secrets. Unless you are a Watford fan; then the whole season is in play. Good on you award: American Josh Sargent scored his first two Premier League goals which led Thomas Tuchel to ask Christian Pulisic, “Why can’t you do that?”
Continuing on things that are bad; how is Everton so GD bad. Did Carlo Ancelotti really mean that much to this team. I mean they aren’t lacking in talent, although the fact they jettisoned Lucas Digne is mind boggling. They still have Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison, newcomer Grey and Doucouré, Pickford in goal. The problem is they all haven’t been all that good this year. So maybe they were just average players and Carlo got the best out of them. One way I see their fortune changing is giving Anthony Gordon a chance to start. That boy good; an absolute difference maker.
Despite the score, this was a defensive battle with all shots on target going in. (The) wolves, after enduring a half season where their ability to finish may as well been interrupted by Kanye, are finally finding the back of the net. I was really impressed by the passing that led up to the goals. Each build up showed patience and guile. Bruno Lage has done well since taking over this team and now has (The) Wolves posed to make a run at Europe. My Alainis Morrisette Award: I found it quite ironic (see what I did there?) that Thomas Frank had the minerals to complain about time wasting. Remember the last time these two teams met, when the keeper Raya had to change his gloves out five minutes AFTER THE START of the second half. I think anyone who watches Brentford knows how much this team squanders the clock to the dismay of the opponent. Loved that Frank got a yellow card after the match and loved him for asking for a red.
I wish I could tell you that Leeds United took to the pitch and continued with the momentum gained after besting West Ham last week. That Dan James took advantage of each opportunity sent his way and scored a hat trick. That Llorente held his poise, knowing that he had help and that Manquillo’s touch had led the ball astray. That Meslier was damn near perfect, including stopping a stop frame free kick by Jonjo Shelvey. I really wish I could. Instead, I have to say that, in the end, Leeds got beat at home by the better team, that Dan James isn’t quite ready to play striker, that Llorente panicked, and Meslier left me speechless. While I believe the pending return of Patrick Bamford will solve some issues, I’m beginning to think there are other, deeply rooted problems surrounding this team.
Man United/West Ham
I fully expected West Ham to take the points here. Coming out of a Leeds United match in which they were soundly beaten, I thought they would play with a little more fire than they showed. Jarrod Bowen, who had been in incredible form, was mostly a non-factor against a Man United back line that has been spotty but put together a solid performance on Saturday. I would say the extra matches are starting to weigh on West Ham but they had six or so days to prepare for this one. If fatigue was a factor, why was it that Moyes only made one substitution for the match (Soufal for who?). Oh, well; on to Kid’minster. The Elephant in The Room: Man United stole points in this one. Cavani was offsides.
Does Liverpool and Chelsea wish Man City could play Southampton every week or what. I guess there is nothing like playing the League leaders to get you pumped up to play a match. The early give and go between Redmond and Kyle Walker-Peters that lead to Southampton’s only goal was a thing of beauty, and their defense was good enough to keep one of the most dynamic teams in the world at bay. The post-game handshake between an elated Ralf Hussenhüttl and a stunned Pep Guardiola spoke volumes. The Undercard: I guess Jack Grealish didn’t take too kindly to Oriel Romeu standing over him while he was flopping around on the pitch. I read Jackie-Boy was waiting in the tunnel to confront him about it after school. At 25 lbs. lighter and 3 inches shorter, Grealish should stay in his weight class.
If Southampton got up for their match against Man City, Crystal Palace did not. While it is a nice luxury to have Benteke come off the bench, without Wilfried Zaha playing with the Ivory Coast in that “little tournament” in Africa, you must give yourself a chance with him starting. JP Mateta is more of a place holder, and I don’t think he offers that much. I mattered very little as Virgil Van Dijk, gave us his best Superman impression and scored on a gorgeous header and Liverpool never looked back. Stupid VAR (Stupid Flanders) moment: How many times and from how many angles did we need to see whether Diogo Jota was pushed in the back and where to spot the foul. Look, just make a decision, and live with it.
Dear Arsenal fans, you need to remember that Burley play a very old school, extremely physical style. I know it, everyone else knows it and most importantly, maybe unfairly, the referees know it. Burnley is going to get away with a lot and you and the Arsenal players need to accept it. But the physicality of Burnley did not make Lacazette miss an empty net like Ted Striker missed his mouth with his drinking problem. Nor did they cause Saka or Martinelli to miss. Burnley left you frustrated and out of sorts and it showed. My question is this: If Burnley’s defense and physical nature left you frustrated, who are you going to handle a much more sound team in (The) Wolves in two weeks. Shots, not shots, fired.
I’m going to call this the “Another” game. Another lackluster performance by a lackluster Leicester team. Another Leicester game in which points were lost from a winning position. Another late goal by Brighton to steal a point. Another game without Jamie Vardy. Another season that slowly slips away from Rodgers and company. Another day wondering who this Leicester team is. Etc. Etc. I got nothing more to say that hasn’t already been said.
I don’t normally root for Chelsea but when I do it’s when it could benefit (The) Wolves. The Blues did not disappoint. Spurs and Arsenal losing was the best after Christmas/ before Birthday present I could ask for. Looks like Hakim Ziyech went to finishing school to learn how to celebrate a goal and while I almost always expect Silva to score, his goal was barely noticeable. Spurs were lucky not to be down to 10 men as Hudson-Odoi was giving this week’s hero to zero Steven Bergwijn fits. I thought last weeks smash and grab would carry over with a bit of a lift but I was so so wrong. One last thought on (The) Wolves: Why the fuck would Adama Traore want to play for this club? (The) Wolves are a much better squad and fit. I guess we will find out the truth in that statement on Feb. 13th.
*Disclaimer: I wrote this while hopped up on Glaucoma medicine. Please excuse any and all grammatical, syntax and spelling errors.