This weekend of football was pretty much standard and typical, due to the fact that Liverpool obviously won when they didn’t play well. It happens all the time. An in-form West Ham side were so close to yet another upset, but were undone by the brilliance of Xherdan Shaqiri, who found Diogo Jota with a sublime ball. City won narrowly, Chelsea battered Burnley, nothing really shocked the world of football this time. Spurs scraped past against an excellent Brighton side who I thought deserved the points. Everton are starting to look like Everton again. Man United lost to Arsenal 1-0 at home, with Arsenal putting in an admirably spirited performance, which had good organisation, defensive shape and incredible work ethic, with a particular mention to Mohamed Elneny, who really looks to have earned his place back at Arsenal. He wouldn’t stop running. The real talking points are coming from Man United’s shocking home form, though. 0 wins at home in the league this season, bottom half in the table, what’s the issue there?
Roy Keane angrily blamed the Man United players’ motivation and desire for their disappointing performance in the defeat to Arsenal, and said ‘this group of players will cost Ole his job’. I think he’s right. Players shouldn’t need their manager to completely motivate them, it has to come from within. Those United players don’t seem motivated enough, and there are definitely too many passengers in that side. Luke Shaw for me is well off it, Pogba makes too many rash decisions, and the service towards Rashford and Greenwood was so poor on Sunday. Ole’s decision not to start Donny Van de Beek also baffles me. He is a top player and so many of United’s goals recently come when he’s been subbed on. He’s a young player with superb technical ability, and for me his work rate is his best asset. He wants to start he wants to fight for the shirt, he’s eager to get on the ball and doesn’t stop running. He possesses a clever footballing mind as displayed at Ajax, and Ole is missing a serious trick with that one, and for me it’s costing them results. Should he lose his job, I think an approach to Mauricio Pochettino is likely. Would that change much? I’m not so sure. It would at least bring a starting XI which is actually their best team, Shaw and McTominay out, Van de Beek and Alex Telles in. It’s worth giving Telles a go, he can’t be much worse than Shaw. However a change of management doesn’t exactly mean it’s going to get better. The players need to look at themselves more than anything.
Meanwhile, in the championship, Wycombe got their first win in the division, and their wild thing gaffer Gareth Ainsworth wasn’t even there to see it. A Wheeler header seeing off a poor Sheffield Wednesday side. The shock result of the weekend, though, saw Coventry put 3 goals past a Reading defence who have been sublime. An important 3-2 win for the Sky Blues who have struggled for consistency. QPR finally scored, and they actually won a game. Genuinely. A dramatic 3-2 win over Cardiff. Sloppy Rangers conceded 2 penalties after going 2 up, but a late belter from Dom Ball won the game. The QPR defence terrifies me, it’s so clumsy, but a good win nonetheless. Thought I’d quickly mention that Watford look lacklustre these days, and knowing their board being nutters with managers, I don’t see this one lasting the season unless they turn these performances around. A draw to Wycombe in midweek, and now they’ve lost to Barnsley. The effort has been lacking, and they look like a team who may have underestimated this division. Every team is solid on their day, and there are no easy games, unless you get a QPR player sent off as the opposition side, then you’ll win easily. Also a quick mention to the two Brentford strikers Ivan Toney and Marcus Forss. They both look the real deal, with the pair scoring every time they make an appearance. If Brentford can sort some sloppy defending out which they’ve shown in the early stages of the season, another promotion push is likely for Thomas Frank’s side. Swansea are flying, Preston are still dreadful at home, and Warnock has obviously turned Boro into a good side, beating struggling Forest 1-0.
My predictions were pretty average for the weekend, so I’ll try do better with the midweek round of championship fixtures:
- Brentford 2-2 Swansea
- Huddersfield 2-1 Bristol City
- Norwich 1-0 Millwall
- Sheffield Wednesday 0-3 Bournemouth
- Blackburn 2-1 Boro
- Cardiff 2-1 Barnsley
- Reading 1-1 Preston
- Watford 1-0 Stoke
- Birmingham 1-1 Wycombe
- Derby 1-2 QPR
- Notts Forest 1-0 Coventry
- Rotherham 3-2 Luton