How was it for you? It went down to the wire, the last throw of the dice, finger-nail biting stuff. No, more than that, toe-nail biting stuff. 7pm Sunday. And first manager of the month of the new season for August, is Michael who harvested 203 points to lead the parade, Paul P was second (189) and Nikita third (188).
A heady week of fixtures saw Michael top dog on 73 points, with a highly dubious 17 from Matt Cash who scored two for Villa against the Mighty Clarets. Nikita bagged 65 and Nick 64 leading the chasing pack with others on 55+ points. Others such as me look to have messed up, our players still on the beach, building sandcastles, lying around on beach towels, sipping margaritas, and generally gadding about in the foamy surf. Have I blown it already?
Michael rocked most of last season but stumbled in the final rounds but has started well and looking to buy an entire new team. I’ve suggested Juventus but he didn’t smile. As Abba’s Agnetha Fältskog returns with a new solo song – I didn’t know if I could do this – he’s on a roll and has already identified goal magnet Kylian Mbappe as a must have signing when he arrives in Manchester in January.
Sorry to be a pedant but wouldn’t a goal magnet get stuck to the goal, rather as a fridge magnet sticks to a fridge? That would make him pretty useless as a striker, and offside nearly all of the time. Unless he was stuck to his own goal, when back defending corners, and that would be even worse. I think I worry about words too much.
Transfer watch The transfer window is closing tonight until January after a summer of utter madness where £40m gets you a reserve left back. Where are Chelsea getting all their money from? They’ve spent just £7.2m shy of £1bn since Todd Boehly took over, and they have spent £400m this window. City seem to be intent on clearing out all their bright young things which is a surprise, perhaps City want a smaller team bus and not a double decker. Nunes (£55m), Gvardiol (£77m) and possibly Eze look set to be next for City who never overpay unlike the CashPoint United across the city.
And will Salah still be available for us come 11pm tonight? With Al-Ittihad reputed bidding £150m, if he doesn’t go now then looks odds on for next Summer. Maybe the Premier League won’t be the best league in the world in 12 to 18 months’ time? I wonder when they’ll start to poach the top managers – what next for Pep after City?
Everton watch As they’ve splashed their cash on their new ground, Bramley Moore Dock, costs have risen from a budget of £500m to £760m. That’s two new fullbacks and a defensive midfielder gone then. One feature which caught my eye are the luxury reclining pitch side seats which is an exciting project that offers our fans something different from the ordinary match day experience to quote their £2,500 ticket brochure. It’s exactly what football needs, I assume you’ve got a family block of four Rhys? The good news for Everton fans is that the seats move 360 degrees, so you can turn away and not face the pitch if required. Still, Pep’s boys top trumps that with a £15,000 season ticket in a tunnel side glass dome viewing platform.
Back-to-back seasons in which they secured last-gasp escapes from relegation, Everton’s debt stands at £242m. Making a loss of £372m over the past three years, they have a £150m loan that would need refinancing in the event of relegation. A deal with investors MSP Sports Capital for 25% of the club collapsed last week. Losing their opening two league games this time around, having chief goal threat Dominic Calvert-Lewin sidelined by cheekbone-knack and Alex Iwobi with a tweaked hamstring, they’ve punted £30m on Beto. He has to work out. Surely it can’t get worse at Sheffield United this weekend having lost to lowly Wolves on Saturday. Can it?
Football history Football has long been a marker for historical moments. Recall, for example the first international match, Germany v Greece, at the Philosophy Stadium, Munich. There’s Archimedes, and I think he’s had an idea! Eureka! Archimedes, out to Socrates, to Heraclitus who beats Hegel. Heraclitus a little flick. Here he comes on the far post. Socrates is there! Socrates heads it in! Socrates has scored! The Greeks are going mad! But the Germans are disputing it! Hegel is arguing that the reality is merely an a prioriadjunct of non-naturalistic ethics. Kant, via the categorical imperative, is holding that ontologic exists only in the imagination, and Schopenhauer is claiming that it was offside.
Then there was Shakespeare, who knew a thing or two about building a great cast of players, his first XI of the early 1600s was an early masterclass of gelling superstars into a team. Belch, Romeo, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Falstaff, Prospero, Macbeth, Henry V, Lear, Prospero, Puck. Eleven of The Bard’s finest. With Toby Belch in goal there’s not much space left for the other lot to put the ball in the back of the net. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in central defence were notorious for picking up injuries but thankfully they’re not dead.
Falstaff plays a holding role with Prospero kicking up a storm in the middle of the park. Lear cuts a tragic figure in midfield with Macbeth the kind of player who can betray a team by going missing when you need him most. Puck on the other hand is the kind of impish forward most teams can only dream of signing during the midsummer transfer window. And leading the line? Henry V, England international. Not to be confused with Thierry who was from over the Channel in another era.
And let’s not forget Galileo, his formula for the trajectory of a planet came in a flash of inspiration when he was playing head-tennis in the back yard of his Florence home. His discovery of the hyperbolic motion of a lightly inflated pigs bladder with cadence in the air was an obvious tactical choice to bolster any side struggling to put the ball through the air and in the back of the net. He too, played the game, but due to age, often played just the second half. Coming off the sub’s bench, proudly wearing Fermat’s Prime Number 17, Galileo solved the problem with superb positional sense using Pythagorean theory. Once he knew the incoming ball’s horizontal velocity u and vertical velocity v, he set y to be the perfect height off the ground for his volley then solve for x to discover where he should position himself. As a Florentine, Galileo quite obviously played in the purple of Fiorentina.
Finally, World War One poet Rupert Brooke anticipated the future demise of England’s national team every time we played Germany, notwithstanding our superiority when it mattered most on the battlefield. There’s some corner of a foreign field that is forever England. True, Beckham could take a good corner, but we never had anyone decent to meet them with a bullet header, so to speak.
This weekend Well we all hope Erling is sharper than a sushi chef’s knife in attack after missing a penalty last weekend. Haaland, Haaland, Haaland. I’m sorry it’s so boring City are at home to Fulham, who have conceded 55 shots on goal in their first three Premier League games against Everton, Brentford, and Arsenal.
However, if you’re a manager who refuses to captain Haaland, then there are plenty of options. Brentford’s Mbeumo, Spurs’ Maddison, Sterling’s on form at Chelsea, or Bowen for West Ham’s game at Luton? Brighton v Newcastle, Liverpool v Villa and Arsenal v United are the three hardest fixtures to predict this weekend. Estupinan has great attacking potential but Brighton are finding clean sheets hard to keep. Joao Pedro probably is a sell after a promising start at Brighton.
Chelsea’s Jackson, City’s Alvarez or maybe Taiwo Awoniyi, who has scored in his last seven Premier League games for Nottingham Forest are options, whilst is it now time for Darwin Nunez up front after his two stunning goals at St James’ Park – but there are just too many options in that Liverpool frontline to be certain that he will get a start at home to Aston Villa.
Ollie Watkins has come up with three assists in three games for Villa and both him and Moussa Diaby were standouts as Villa won at Turf Moor last weekend. As for Arsenal v United, I would guess that both teams will score in that one so you might be relying on attacking contributions from your defenders and save points from the keepers.
Delving into the stats, Jack Grealish and Enzo Fernandez seem to be regular starters and maybe worth a pick, although with Pep you can never know – 500k managers transferred Foden into their team last weekend after he won MOTM v Newcastle – but he didn’t start at Sheffield United, coming on as an 86th minute sub.
Gamble of the week? £6m on Everton’s new centre forward Beto, who’s yet to play a minute of Premier League football? He came off the bench to score in the EFL Cup at Doncaster and faces Sheffield United with his team still looking for their first league goal of the season. Everton are at home to Luton and Bournemouth in gameweeks seven and eight so you could hop on the Beto bus early and enjoy the ride!
Enjoy your weekend – make some history! Transfer deadline is 630pm Friday.