As much as I’m enjoying the Premier League this season, more so than last time around, I reckon the standard is down.
Last year, Manchester City and Liverpool were clearly streets ahead of the chasing pack, who, barring the last couple of months, were all very decent.
But this season, apart from a couple of outstanding games, most prominently, Liverpool’s win against City, I just don’t see the same consistent quality.
I’m not sure how many times I’ve watched the Scousers and thought, wow, what a team. Only once I think?
The same goes for City, who are not nearly on the level they’ve been at in recent times.
Two sides who have upped the ante are Leicester and Chelsea. Chelsea are infinitely better to watch, but still need to sure up the backline before they become a serious threat.
The Foxes, on the other hand, look like the real deal. What a pleasure to watch, such high-octane commitment and team spirit.
They should have beaten Everton by three or four given the chances and will be thinking about nine points in the lead-up to Christmas as they face Watford, Aston Villa and Norwich before travelling to Eastlands on the 21st.
It’s strange, they’re clearly a better side than City and above them in the league, but are still not generally considered as the main threat to Liverpool.
Whether their squad can carry them the distance is debatable, but stranger things have happened and don’t they know it!
My weekend was dented by a poor Chelsea performance.
It’s incredible, when I saw Olivier Giroud and Pedro starting I was completely miffed? Willian, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Michy Batshuayi all on the bench.
The whole shape of the side was disturbed and the usual attacking football stifled, with sluggish Giroud not running the right channels and Pedro taking five touches too many before releasing square passes. We deserved to lose.
Although the Blues were expected to win, what many people don’t know is that West Ham is a BIG one home or away regardless of league position.
Rather than the usual punch-ups after the game, there was a lovely moment as third-choice West Ham keeper David Martin (who made his Premier League debut at the age of 33) ran across to the stand and grabbed his old man, both of them choking with the emotion.
As for the Arsenal, they’re simply a bang-average side.
It was a bit weird hearing pundits judging interim coach Freddie Ljungberg on his first game in charge? I mean, what do you expect?
Ok, sometimes seeing the back of a coach the team doesn’t connect with can be enough to create a new sense of energy, (just look at Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Old Trafford). But for me, the quality just ain’t there. Well, not the quality we’ve come to expect at Arsenal.
Tottenham feel similar. While Jose Mourinho has got off to a perfect three-win start, will his influence be enough to turn what looks like a tiring Spurs side into a serious trophy challenging outfit? Let’s give them a few weeks to see how things are gonna bed in.
Anyway my wonderful football family, lots to get excited about, some massive games over the next week
Jose is back at Old Trafford on Wednesday, with the Merseyside derby the late kick-off. And for dessert on Saturday, the Manchester derby.
Any old football head will tell you, don’t even bother with the table until the New Year. Liverpool look like they’re running away with it and it’s theirs to lose. But there’s a long way to go. United, Arsenal and Tottenham might even make a top-four finish?