In a wild and wooly weekend, the Bald Fraud’s words must have come back to haunt him ever so slightly, as various former Citizens rose up to remind him that they are at least occasionally capable of performing up to the standards of a big club, his own comments about CIty not being a “small club” notwithstanding. From where we stand, the results largely if entirely played to our favour, and, despite our own diffident form of late, we’re sitting rather pretty. It’s not quite the catbird’s seat, but we’re close. Let’s get to it.
Man City: 9W 1D 2L: 28 pts.
115 Alleged Financial Violations FC went into Stamford Bridge huffing and puffing and threatening to blow Boehly’s sensibly assembled side away. Normally, when Erling Haalland bags a brace, it’s lights out for the opposition. However, Guardiola must not have counted on former Citizens Sterling and Palmer rising to the occasion as Chelsea fell behind, equalised, went ahead, were pegged back, fell behind again, equalised again, fell behind yet again, and finally equalised. It was truly madness. Are Chelsea really this good? Are City really this vulnerable? I’d like to think that the answer to the first is no while thinking that the answer to the second can still be yes.
Liverpool: 8W 3D 1L: 27 pts.
I’ve been sounding this alarm for a few weeks now. LIverpool are back. Even if they’re not quite back to their best under Klopp, they’re back to something close enough that they will make the Prem title a three-club race. While their convincing win over an ambitious but at times too open Brentford sign may not augur all that much, the fact that they’re scoring freely and conceding stingily suggests that the near-complete overhaul of their midfield is all but complete and that they’re gathering strength and finding chemistry. Despite a surprising loss away to Toulouse in the Europa League, they look likely to advance deep into this competition. Let’s hope that this saps their strength domestically.
Arsenal: 8W 3D 1L: 27 pts.
As it turns out, we do quite well when our opponents are not allowed to play a ball that looked to have rolled out of bounds back into the box where our defender is shoved to the ground from behind while his shover handles the ball and it falls into the path of another opponent who scores from an offside position. Burnley were resolute for most of the first half, but we showed patience and determination in breaking them down. Despite injuries to Partey, Ødegaard, Jesus, and Timber, we soldiered on. We almost lost Trossard due to his colliding with the post as he scored and Jorginho due to his face clashing with Kiwior’s studs. The two-week international break comes at a good time as we lick our wounds and size up our commitments.
Tottenham 8W 2D 2L: 26 pts.
Is the bloom off the Postecoglou rose? Consecutive losses have Tottenham resisting and refusing any notion of Spursiness. It’s never a good look to concede twice to Wolves even if your injury and suspension list might amount to a somewhat respectable XI, but that’s where Tottenham find themselves. Postecoglou has been refreshingly sanguine about it all, but even his optimism can only do so much to paper over the fact that his squad is very, very thin even at the best of times. If there’s a squad that needed this international break, it’s his. Still, despite the wobble, they’re still just a point or two off the pace, and, if they can right the ship after the interlull, (something made somewhat easier by the fact that they have no international commitments), they might stay in the hunt.
Elsewhere, further afield, etc…
Aston Villa continue to nip at the proverbial heels, and Emery inspires a bit of sympathy or perhaps something even bordering on respect as he leads the Villans toward respectability. It’s likely that their Europa Conference League commitment may become enough of a priority that their domestic form will suffer, but Emery is enough of a European specialist that he should have the nous to strike the proper balance. Just two points from a top-four spot and three from topping the table, we’ll have to keep an eye on them.
Four points below Villa, we find Man U. Does their stodgy 1-0 win over promoted relegation fodder Luton herald a new dawn, one strong enough to preserve Ten Hag’s position, or is it just enough to stave off his sacking for a few weeks? They come back from the interlull to face a series of difficult fixtures and face the prospect of crashing out of the Champions League. I’m sure we’ll all look on with mixture of bemusement and schadenfreuede as they struggle to find anything resembling a semblance of form.
Right. That’s it for this week. We’ll have to endure a few weeks for this interlull. Let’s hope that we and no one else can hit the ground running on the other side of it.