Premiership Week 1
1. Think Sven didn't spend all of Saturday night and most of Sunday chuckling to himself about how he had all those silly English fooled into thinking he was a crap manager when all the while he was plotting his revenge with a bunch of foreigners to take the league by storm? Well, I reckon he was laughing until he watched Man U manage only a draw against Reading (not to mention the collective shrie around fantasy football land when Rooney went down,)and realised who next week's opponent is. The side story to the convincing Man City victory over West Ham was the question of whether West Ham aren't snakebitten now with all the bad karma created by escaping the farcical Tevez escapade with their Premiership membership intact. Of course Rooney's hairline fracture is perfecting timing in the continuing Saga of Tevez.
2. Another last laugh aware must go to Sam Allardyce returning to Bolton with his new team after all the shitty things that were said about him in the week's build-up to the return match first week into the season. It's a bit mad of the schedule makers to put Sam in the frying pan in week one but perhaps they knew all along this one was going to be a larf and wanted to give Sam a little time to relax before the pressure seriously kicks in. And frankly, how bloody high do you think expectations are now that Newcastle looked so, well, capable for the first half of Saturday's game? Villa, watch out.
3. Steven Gerrard, for shame. This proves Liverpool are serious about the Premiership title. Why else would its local hero resort to such Italian tactics to get a free kick? Well, point is he hit it and hit it beautifully, which sort of makes up for it all anyway. And that's three points already. When was the last time you remember Pool taking three on opening day? Again, pity Villa, hopefully O'Neill will not be this season's hard-luck manager.
4. Was the victory by Keano's Lads over Tottenham quite as shocking as people made it out to be? After all, aren't the Spurs historically the underachievingest lot in the whole of the Premiership? Who else could spend a cool £40 million on new players and see only one of them make the starting 11 - (and that one was only there because Ledley King couldn't be...) I've always liked Martin Jol but the gravy train has derailed and embarassments, humiliations, out-right out-performed and disgraces like this Saturday's against Sunderland only serve to underscore the miserable plight of Spurs fans. Forget it, lads. That talk of breaking into the top four is fantasy.
5. As for the league's Top Two on Sunday, well, don't count yourselves the victors just yet. Against Reading the ruddy-faced Scotsman was outsmarted, whingeing bitterly after the match that Reading packed the middle and didn't really play football. It's something you hear top managers complain about all the time, Stand still whilst I try to punch you!...
And the loss of Rooney is symbolic - Man U had it their way all season last season on the way to the top. No major injuries, no recurring nightmares and few hiccups along the way bar an embarassment in the Champions League against a certain Italian side that exposed their midfield embarassments and the snooze of an FA Cup tie against Chelsea. This season, different story. Rooney's injury however hurts Steve McClaren and England's chances more than it does Manchester United because there is no Carlos Tevez warming up on the side for England. Just the likes of a benched Jermaine Defoe or perhaps the unsophisticated youth of Theo Walcott to step in. Still, there's plenty more where that came from for Man U so let's not start crying for them just yet.
Chelsea on the otherhand, came out swinging - perhaps out of necessity given Birmingham's shocking early goal. Encouraging to see that Mourinho's pledge for more exciting football was not lip service. Exciting to see this kind of 3-2 football so rare in the chess-like tactics of the top teams. Of course, exposed in the attack was a rotten defence, particularly the right back, Glen Johnson, who sucks just as bad as he did the first time around with Chelsea, a few pretty games with P'mouth last season notwithstanding. But good on B'ham City to show some spunk on the road and to demonstrate that perhaps they are not destined for relegation just yet.
TOP EIGHT, Week One
1. Chelsea, 3 points
2. Liverpool, 3 points
3. Manchester United, 1 point
4. Arsenal, 3 points
5. Newcastle, 3 points
6. Everton, 3 points
7. Blackburn, 3 points
8. Man City, 3 points (go on, secretly we are all rooting for a Svennis comeback and to hear all the barmy bastids wish aloud Steve McClaren had never arrived...)