The only reason #ManchesterCity are in the top 6 is because of that blazing start they had to the season that had ‘pundits’ claiming they could go all season undefeated. They could not have been sillier in their claims – this #City side are a million miles from the finished article that #PepGuardiola’s last 2 clubs have been (you could argue that teams that have messrs #Messi #Iniesta #Xavi #Muller #Robben #Lahm et al are damned near finished articles regardless of who coaches them) and their 4-0 loss at #Everton show just how much work still needs to be done for their multi-millionaires to successfully play the Pep way, whatever that really is. (At Barca is was tiki-taka, at Bayern it was some sort of hybrid between that and quick transitions and at City, it’s just really hard to tell what the philosophy is) Regardless, it does seem that are now out of the title race, dropping a whole 10-points behind leaders #Chelsea, who managed to keep all the drama around the massive locker-room bust up between #Conte and #Costa amid rumors of a 30 gazillion billion dollar offer from China for the Braziliaspanard, to thrash #Leicester 0-3 thanks to a brace from #MarcusAlonso and one from #Pedro.
#Tottenham showed yet again that they are the best equipped side to try and catch the Blues at the top after they followed up their win against them last week with a 4-0 thrashing of #WestBrom, thanks to a #Kane hattrick, which isn’t the least bit surprising since Harry wins his #GoldenBoot awards in the 2nd half of the season, anyways. Spurs are compact in defense (the best in the league as of now), have a fantastic midfield that constantly chips in with goals, Kane and a coach, who is rapidly showing the might well be the best young manager in the business.
The game of the weekend though (atleast on paper), was the historically massive derby between #ManchesterUnited and #Liverpool, which ended in a 1-1 draw, with #Ibra’s (who else?) late header canceling out #Milner’s early penalty. The game was surprisingly entertaining and both teams had chances that could have won the game. United’s came early in the first half and #Mignolet had to keep them in the game with saves from #Ibra and #Mkhitaryan and a big giant miss from #Pogba, who had the worst game of his new United career, giving away a silly handball penalty for Liverpool’s goal. Both coaches and their supporters claimed their team played better with #Klopp accusing #Mourinho of using long-ball tactics and Jose in turn accusing the reds of packing the defense. Neither are wrong, nor are they entirely right. Liverpool did defend in numbers but it wasn’t as simple as that. Klopp employed this clever 3 pronged defensive strategy – his front 3 geggenpressed the hell out of United’s build up, nullifying #Carrick’s passing game; when the ball made it’s way through the midfield, #Lallana acted like a ‘shadow’ to Liverpool’s defensive midfielders, often taking the ball of Pogba and Herrera and finally, in their 3rd, making sure most of their 11 players were back and compact, making it near impossible for Pogba and Mkhitaryan and #Martial to make clever runs or put in devastating through balls. Jose did then shift to a long-ball game, especially when he brought on #Fellaini and tactically, it was the clever thing to do, because there was little way through the fantastic defensive structure that Klopp set up. And it worked for United’s equalizer.
#Arsenal beat #Swansea 0-4 to stay 4th; #Burnley beat #Southampton 1-0; #Stoke thrashed a woeful #Sunderland 1-3; #Hull gave themselves a lifeline with a 3-1 win over #Bournemouth and #WestHam beat #Palace 3-0 without #Payet, who is channelling his inner Frenchman by going on strike!
Pep wasn’t the only big name to suffer this weekend as #Juventus saw their lead at the top cut to just 1-point as they were beaten 1-0 by #Fiorentina and in the #LaLiga, #RealMadrid’s incredible 40-game unbeaten run was abruptly halted by a resurgent #Sevilla side 2-1 and taking them to within 1 point of the Madrid giants and ahead of 3rd placed #Barcelona (when was the last time that happened?) who kept pace with a massive 5-0 thrashing of #LasPalmas.