Look, I could spout my usual take on the homecoming of Cristiano Ronaldo, but you have to give all credit to him.
A generally poor game, hardly involved, but two goals was a dream return!
You have to respect him as a footballer, he delivers relentlessly. I just get irritated with everything that goes with it…
Like no other player or game existed on Saturday.
Pre-match, Owen Hargreaves waxed on about him for 10 minutes pitchside, before commentator king, Peter Drury, spewed out another brilliant piece of prose as the man walked on: “Wreathed in red… restored to this great gallery of the game… a walking work of art… vintage beyond valuation… beyond forgery or imitation… 18 years since that trembling teenager, touched and teased… first tiptoed onto this storied stage… now in his immaculate maturity… CR7 reunited!”
Drury’s got bars for days. I do find the Ronaldo-mania thing annoying though, mainly because it feeds the Premier League commercial animal. And boy are they sucking it up and puking out non-stop coverage.
I had a number of conversations with people over the weekend, non-football people, who all had something to say about it. Jeez, if only we could begin to run marketing campaigns over here to push football! All we get are a few TV ads screaming “BABIIIIIZE BONKE”.
Anyway, just to comment on the goals, the first, a tap-in from six yards.
Commentators predictably describe his movement as a “gamble”. I don’t buy that in that situation, what is he gambling on? It’s not like he used up a ton load of energy to put himself in the right place.
What has helped make Ronaldo what he is today is his hunger for glory, his massive appetite for goals.
There’s always the chance of a keeper spill and he was the only player to anticipate it. I rate that and it’s a lesson to all forwards to always expect something else except the seemingly inevitable to happen.
His second goal was pure class, finding the route in-between two cross-running defenders and megging the keeper. All the post-match commentators said he got a bit of luck… I reckon he stuck the ball in between his legs on purpose.
It was a bit of a shame for Bruno Fernandes who scored a peach, one that will feature in the best goals of the season, but hardly a word about that as ‘Big Ron’ stole the headlines.
In the meantime, just watched Ron’s post-match interview. Amazing how good plastic surgery can make a man look! Teeth, nose, ears, eyelids… my guy’s poppin’.
There you go, I’ve fallen into the trap, just used most of my column talking about him.
The same could be said for Romelo Lukaku. Naah, not the plastic surgery thing, rather the way he stole the headlines following a brace against Aston Villa in Chelsea’s 3-0 win at the Bridge.
He was quiet for most of the game, but produced two brilliant goals. But that’s what he (and all strikers) are judged on at the end of the day. Look at Timo Werner, struggling to hit the back of the net, brilliant otherwise, but looked upon as “still waiting to happen”.
I thought Villa were excellent, in the first half, they definitely outplayed Chelsea.
Across London and Arsenal grabbed their first points of the season in an evenly-contested game against Norwich. They should be doing them by four or five.
Points are on the board but the same problems exist. It will however be viewed as a start, but I really don’t see Mikel Arteta lasting past Christmas.
In south London, Tottenham gave their fans an early gift, by breaking the stupid hope they’d gained after a three-game winning start.
I told my Spurs mates: “Enjoy it while it lasts.” I mean, two weeks ago Chelsea went down to 10 at Liverpool and came away with a brilliant draw, while Harry Kane’s lot get a man sent off at Palace and get whacked 3-0!
There’s levels to this league and Nuno Espirito Santo’s boys aren’t on the top floor.
Best game of the weekend had to be at Elland Road. Shame it ended so one-sided. Leaves the table looking very much as expected at the end of the season (in no particular order) United, Chelsea, Liverpool and City!
So… another great weekend of football, with the question now being asked: “Are Manchester United gonna win the League?”
In short: “The Ronaldo hype will fade and we’re gonna be left with exactly what we had last year, a side just short of a serious challenge.”
Everything aside, this weekend has left all of us wishing young Liverpool star Harvey Elliott a swift recovery. What a terrible break… just as the kid has hit the main stage.
Cracking fixture to look out for this weekend, as Chelsea travel to Spurs. In the meantime, stay safe people, chat next week.