Well, that Friday feeling is back as we all nestle in the pre-match glow of expectation and foolhardy over-optimism over our special transfer picks that no one else has made…this is our week!
A heady week for some, a disaster for others (that’ll be me then) saw Hayley top dog on 80 points, with Niall (78), Aleksa and Jelica (77) leading the chasing pack. I thought Ødegaard and his mate Gabriel were looking jaded and Arteta would pick them for cryotherapy chamber duties ahead of the game, and so it proved so no points, but my saviour Mo would score six against Forest…. alas just the one.
Top of the pile for manager of the month for October with 225 points was Mr. Wright, although it was a tight race with Nikita (220) and a resurgent Paul B (219) chasing him hard. Meanwhile, out in front of the league as he has been since before pre-international break training, with a handy lead of 15 points, Mr. Right is sitting pretty on 669 points, with the renaissance of Nikita seeing her edge into second with 654, leaving Michael in third with 642
Sunday roast and a Wednesday roast Erik Ten Hag, poor bloke, it’s been like Guy Fawkes night ever since arriving at Old T, every day, putting out fires, but they keep coming. He’s going to become the first bald person in human history to go even balder due to stress. Battered 0-3 by the noisy neighbours from M11 and then battered 0-3 from the noisy Geordies who brought 9,000 fans with them in midweek. Is it starting to feel like the dog days of Ole Gunnar Solskjær?
The optimism of last season has evaporated as fast as the England one-day cricket team’s aura. It feels like United are fighting for the Weekly Premier League Crisis Baton handed out after each matchday. City bounced back after defeats to Wolves and Arsenal and Erling’s despicable goal drought. Among the deluge of post-mortems was a piece on the Sky Sports website headlined: All of Man Utd’s many, many problems analysed. It was an ambitious endeavour, and it is a testament to Sky’s talent for keeping things succinct that it only stretched to 1,144 words.
Gary Neville joked Utd need Daniel Radcliffe, not Jim Ratcliffe to help whip things into shape. I suspect a truly comprehensive analysis of Utd’s current failings would fill far more volumes than the seven meaty tomes in which JK Rowling chronicled the adventures of the famous boy wizard. One might have expected United’s captain Bruno Fernandes to try and exert some sort of calm on proceedings as assorted teammates lost their heads, but it was always a long shot considering his is invariably the first to go.
The worry is that those signed by Ten Hag are making so little impact. Højlund buzzed around, but he is just 20. Antony’s only contribution was a petulant swipe at Doku. Eriksen couldn’t handle Silva. Amrabat, hooked at half‑time, looked a stopgap signing. Mason Mount, brought on at the break, touched the ball just 14 times and never with any sense of menace.
On the plus side, Ten Hag was at least able to start promising academy graduate Jonny Evans, 54, who had last played in a Manchester derby 11 years ago and was originally re-signed as the footballing equivalent of a therapy dog to support the club’s kids but was instead tasked with keeping Erling on a tight lead.
For Aleksa Serbian football needs a reboot. Nineteen matches played in European club competition so far this season, with one win, two draws and 16 (sixteen!) defeats. And to make things even more tragicomical, Cukaricki’s manager, after his team had been beaten 6-0 by Fiorentina this week, said: We were very good until they scored the first goal. Fiorentina scored that goal in the sixth minute.
Gordon Ramsey was roundly mocked this week after lamenting the time he was so skint he had to sell his Porsche to buy a house – Ramsey. We’ve all been there, I had to ask my dad for £117 back in 1987 to buy a gas fire. But it’s not the first time the potty-mouthed chef has been caught out spouting drivel about his past life. In the early years of fame, Ramsey bragged he’s been a professional footballer for Glasgow Rangers, even telling Desert Island Discs he’d notched up three first-team games for the Scottish giants before knee-knack ended his career.
This turned out to be a complete fairy tale. Ramsey did have a three-month trial at the club and appears on the same photo alongside Ally McCoist. McCoist had a highly successful spell with Rangers, becoming the club’s record goal scorer, winning nine-successive league championships scoring 251 goals in 418 appearances. When asked about his teammate Gordon, who claimed he was a cut throat left back in the mold of Stuart Pearce, McCoist replied He was absolute ****, he couldn’t even kick his own a***.
Graphic I came across this interesting graphic on cumulative wages spent by football clubs during the seasons they spent in the Premier League 1992/93 and 2021/22. Wages Quite startling, as you’d expect, some of the reasons clubs no longer in the Premier League are now saddled with huge debt.
Paul Merson continues to be the ineptest pundit. In the last three weeks he’s come out with some belters: There’s only one person who gets the manager the sack and that’s the fans…Everton are literally a bad of Revells…Goals dictate how matches go.I thought the coffee must have been strong that weekend at Sky Sports Café, but it carried on the following Saturday – City won’t fall asleep against Liverpool, they’ll win it in their sleep…Spurs don’t have the confidence to be confident (which I must admit I quite liked). He then turned all-in philosopher with If you keep walking past the barbers then eventually, you’ll get a haircut – referring to some striker who had chances but not scoring.
Sheffield Wednesday Take a visit to Hillsborough and you will be transported back forty years, very little has changed. Let’s all meet up in the year 2000, sang Owl’s fan Jarvis Cocker and that was the last year Wednesday played in the Premier League. There were scenes at Wembley this May when Wednesday won the League One playoff final against Barnsley, with popular manager Darren Moore taking the plaudits. But it took until Sunday’s win over Rotherham for Owls fans to celebrate another victory. Moore was dumped in the summer and replaced by Xisco Muñoz, who delivered just two points in ten matches. His replacement is Danny Röhl, a 34-year-old coaching wunderkind.
It’s the off-field situation that most worries Wednesdayites. Dejphon Chansiri, scion of a Thai family that flogs tuna, has been owner since 2015. The club was docked points after Hillsborough was sold to a separate Chansiri entity in an FFP swerve that didn’t actually work and was always likely to affect the popularity ratings. Chansiri now wants out and for someone else to foot the bill. Monday saw him demand fans solve his cashflow problems. If 20,000 people gave £100 then it’s £2m, and it’d be clear – so we can finish it parped the owner.
Bits Disappointed with your start? Still, you could be Brenda Rogers back at Celtic, a team dominating a league of irrelevance, but when it comes to Europe, they’ve adopted the Jacob Rees-Mogg approach to Brexit – get out early, fast and ignore the cost. At the halfway stage, Celtic prop up Champions’ League Group E with one point from a possible nine. Following 0-7 and 1-7 results to Barcelona and PSG in recent years – and not forgetting the 0-1 with Lincoln Red Imps from Gibraltar – I do wonder what life is like at the weekend for Celtic and Rangers fans. You may say the same, of course, for Burnley fans, but I know we’ll start winning soon, we just need to be relegated back to the Championship first.
Also, nice to hear Spurs are having problems with their stadium and off-the-pitch issues, the grass and seats are all ok as I understand it, it’s just the vegan cheese shop and artisan bakery that are causing the holds ups. Finally, Amazon Prime are offering 50% off All or Nothing, the Man C documentary, available from today. Eight episodes. There is a special discount code for Man Utd fans living in Manchester apparently. As Alan Partridge would say ‘That was liquid football’
Something for the weekend Which strikers? Nunez and Nketiah to drop in, but Erling, Watkins and Alvarez are easy decisions to sell. City are at home to Bournemouth and he could really punish you if you let him go, City then embark on a run of games against Chelsea, Liverpool, Spurs and Villa so that might be a better time to make the move but it’s Nunez’s fixture away to Luton that is so tempting this weekend. There’s no need to rush a move for Nketiah, with Arsenal away to Newcastle.
I texted Erling midweek and congratulated him on his award for top goalscorer at the Ballon d’Or ceremony, so I’m sticking with him as my captain. Brentford’s Bryan Mbeumo could be a cheeky differential selection after double-digit hauls in his past two games. I’m hanging on to Gabriel despite the frustration of seeing him rested last weekend, but it’s difficult to know whether to start Arsenal or Newcastle defenders for their game at St James’.
Cole Palmer has looked handy for Chelsea despite their mixed results. He’s taken their past two penalties, scored them both and is a budget option at just £5m. An improving Everton team also offer some options, Dominic Calvert-Lewin has scored in his last two games. Sticking with your Man Utd players despite the fact that that they have under-performed hugely so far this season could be a cute move, their ownership in the game has dropped so if they do deliver it could lead to some nice green arrows for you. It’s a big risk though, and not one I’d be taking.
Transfer deadline is 11am Saturday. Will it be 4-4-2, is it 4-3-3 or is it 4-5-1, 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1? We don’t want to make it more complicated than it is. Get people who take free kicks in your team, but let’s end with a smile, you need a better free kick routine than this Free kick