Rivals’ Roundup—Fergie time? What’s “Fergie Time?”


There was a time when certain clubs could count on certrain referees to render certain decisions in favour of this or that club. Thankfully, those days are long since past. In their stead, we have the likes of Thanos gathering this or that infinity stone. Whether that’s more fair or more just is left to someone sager than me. Having blathered thusly, on, let’s get to the roundup!

1. Man City (4W 0D 0L: 12 pts.)
‘Tis no club. ‘Tis a remorseless winning machine. Like all machines, there is a mirthless, dead-eyed aspect to Man City’s dominance. It’s cold, sterile, predictable. If there’s any consolation to be found, it’s in the notion that they’ve faced sides who’ll be happy if they stave off relegation, and that looks more and more like it include Newcastle. Should Aké’s controversial goal in first half stoppage time have stood? He seemed to have been clearly offside. It’s times like this when we need a kind of FAR​—Financial Assets Review: “FAR has ruled that Man City have spent too much compared to Fulham to let this goal stand”. In the end, it may not have mattered all that much, given that Erling “don’t call be a cyborg” Haaland got a second-half hat-trick.

2. Tottenham (3W 1D 0L: 10 pts.)
Do I have to? I suppose I do. The Postecoglou Project seems to be reaping early rewards as Spurs have now won three on the bounce, including a proper 5-2 thrashing of Burnley. I seem to remember more-halcyon days when it was Spurs on the other side of that scoreline. Time will tell whether this is the proverbial “new manager bounce” or some kind of actual alchemy by which Ange transforms a club that was immune to Mourinho or Conte’s ineffable, um, charms. Maddison and Son, it must be admitted, each look rejuvenated. Without any continental commitments to distract them, they can focus with laser-like intensity on domestic cups…except of course the League Cup, from which they crashed out against Fulham.

3. Liverpool (3W 1D 0L: 10 pts.)
LIverpool look lively. After a dramatic smash-and-grab at St. James’s Park (I’m a grammarian, dammit. The apostrophe and the s will stay), Klopp’s minions crushed Aston Villa 3-0, a scoreline that flattered the visiting Villans. Liverpool peppered the not-at-all insufferable Emi Martinez with shots from all angles, and, were it not for the wood work, the scoreline might have risen to 5-0 or more. Liverpool seeme energised, as embodied by Mo Salah, as the club rejected a £150m from Al-Ittihad, but the Saudi club are apparently preparing a £200m bid for the 31 year old. Their transfer window closes on 7 September; it would put a big dent in Klopp’s plans to sell Salah without any chance to reinvest until January.

4. West Ham (3W 1D 0L: 10 pts.)
It would be easy to write off David Moyes and West Ham after they sold us their talisman, but, truth be told, they’ve invested wisely if not ambitiously. Any club that can beat Brighton at Falmer Stadium deserves a measure of respect. James Ward-Prowse has shown that he’s more than a set-piece merchant, chipping in a goal and three assists. West Ham will have to grapple with the rigours of Europa League play, which will include tricky trips to face Serbian side TSC Backa Topola, German side Freiburg, and our old Greek friends Olympiacos. At this point, I’m not sure that I believe that the Hammers have the depth or the quality to stay in the top four, but they way just be able to stay by way of default, courtesy of Chelsea, Aston Villa, and Newcastle.

5. Arsenal (3W 1D 0L: 10 pts.)
Well, well, well, well, well. Look who’s gone undefeated against Man U at home in their last five outings. This was one of those fixtures that can define a season. We dominated early, got sucker-punched, punched back even harder, should have seen Man U get reduced to ten men, conceded on another counter only for VAR to (gasp) do the right thing as Magalhães did his best Michael Jackson impersonation, scored once in Fergie time and then scored again in Fergie time. For Ten Hag to complain about Garnacho’s goal being disallowed and Rice’s goal confirmed is just sweet, sweet schadenfreude. How many times have we seen Man U be given the benefit of the doubt? More important, we dominated proceedings from beginning ’til the end. I suspect that this means that we’ll finally find that elusive next gear we’ve been seeking since the season’s start…

Here’s where I’ll leave off. I don’t mean to slight Brighton, not in the slightest. Few things would put more of a spring in my step than to see the Seagulls finish above Tottenham, Man U, Chelsea, Liverpool…I can’t imagine a club selling the players they’ve sold and staying as vibrant and as compeitive as De Zerbi has them playing. If they stay in the chase for a top-four spot, he should be crowned manager of the year, hands down. We’ll have to revisit that suggestion later.

For now, you know what was fun? You may have missed it because I switched gears. Last week, I focused on the clubs that had finished in the top four and who seemed likely to compete for a top-four spot again. At the moment, that excludes Chelsea, Man U, and Newcastle. Those slating our spending should compare our net spend and results to those three and come back groveling for forgiveness. We’re still evolving and growing, and it’ll take quite a lot for us to reel Man City in, but at least we’re not dashing back and forth to the strains of Yakety Sax.

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3 thoughts on “Rivals’ Roundup—Fergie time? What’s “Fergie Time?”

  1. Palladio43

    It will be interesting at week 8 or week 12, let alone at mid-season, to see which five squads are on your list and how the analyses of those read, especially if some of these five are still on that list.

    1. Jon Shay Post author

      As it stands, it feels like it’ll be us and Liverpool chasing City with a third group of Man U, Tottenham, Brighton, and maybe West Ham fighting for fourth.

  2. A Simple Truth

    no one can slag you for your ability to turn a phrase, but this reads like a Choirboy’s diary entry, as per usual…C’est dommage


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