PL Diary: Eto'o Can Play A Bit. Who Knew?

Somehow people seem to struggle to understand that a genuinely excellent and committed player is able to still run around and score. Plus, change is good for Spurs...

Last Updated: 21/01/14 at 09:59 Post Comment

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Sometimes, the Diary is hard to write. By sometimes, really it's always, and that's because even a genius struggles to create towering works of genius on a weekly basis. But it's sometimes especially hard because the greatest league in the world is often fairly predictable. That was one of those weeks. However, you are not just in the presence of genius, but in the presence of a farmer, abattoir manager, butcher, taxidermist and skilled fashion designer. So, let's raise a pig, kill it by stunning it with an electric prod and slitting its throat, preserve just the ear, and then transform it into a small back. Let's turn a pig's ear into a purse. Metaphorically.

Chelsea 3-0 Manchester United
You can argue that Manchester United actually scored, but it feels like 3-0 is a more representative reflection of what actually happened in the match. United received praise for starting brightly, which apparently these days is an Ashley Young shot and lots of over-hit crosses. You can lower your expectations to that, but it probably won't serve you well. The bright start was, more than anything, Jose Mourinho continuing his war of condescension against Manchester United and David Moyes, having decided humiliation is better than aggression when it comes to it. He has a point. United were shown up as incompetents with holes all over the squad. In midfield, they had Phil Jones regressing to less than the sum of his parts, and Michael Carrick making a strong case for being United's worst midfielder this season; a quite remarkable achievement given the competition. Wayne Rooney wants out and Robin van Persie should if he doesn't already.

But the big story is lovely Samuel Eto'o - 32 and yet treated as if he is a Chelsea pensioner. Somehow people seem to struggle to understand that a genuinely excellent and committed player is able to still run around, score, and use his experience to be effective on a football pitch. If 32 is the new 65, then we've really been diddled by the Tories raising the retirement age.

Arsenal 2-0 Fulham
Arsenal are back, baby! By virtue of beating a team managed by a never-was, that has struggled for investment and is close to destruction in the summer, they've really stuck it to the critics who argue that when it comes down to the title race, Manchester City and Chelsea are so more experienced and better equipped. Arsene Wenger claimed after the match that his team have a 'serene attitude'. It's an easily conjured image in your mind's eye, admit it. Jack Wilshere, naked but for sunglasses, puffing on a Gauloise, lying on a chaise longue, one outstretched hand rubbing the belly of a soft-coated British bulldog, being dried by an assortment of beautiful and scantily clad men and women wielding large, fake plastic palm leaves from after his post-match Radox immersion, like a yoghurt advert. That's how serene Arsenal are.

Norwich City 1-0 Hull City
Hooray, Chris Hughton's job is safe for a while longer! Hooray, more Chris Hughton press conferences! Hooray, mustard!

West Ham 1-3 Newcastle United
Newcastle. Andy Carroll. Sam Allardyce. Alan Pardew. Inevitable grudge match. Anger. Fury. Rage.

Not really, Newcastle are in form and duly gave West Ham a comprehensive seeing-to. But what was really interesting was the post-match guff from Allardyce and Pardew. Two of the most self-aware and dignified men in the game, surely they would give us all something to chew on, like our own arms when they spouted hot bullsh*t. Sadly, to analyse what was said we would have to look it up, and then we'd know, and we'd feel duty bound to tell you, too. So let's just skip the whole thing and we won't experience that itching, nauseous feeling that comes from those two. We're saving you here. No need to thank us.

Sunderland 2-2 Southampton
Southampton are the English Barcelona, with their passing game and use of pressure in the most crucial parts of the pitch. Mauricio Pochettino is a genius, able to transform the fortunes of Nigel Adkins' mid-table Southampton into his own mid-table Southampton. What a huge success that has proven to be. Now that Nicola Cortese has gone, you suspect the wisest thing that Pochettino can do is ride out the rest of the season and complain that he was hamstrung by the new chief executive, and leave while plenty of people still believe him to be some kind of savant rather than just quite a good manager.

As for Sunderland, it was an impressive comeback, and possibly indicative of Poyet's motivational skills, but it is agreed by all that as he called Patrice Evra a cry baby for being racially abused, Sunderland deserve to be relegated wherever they finish in the league. Somebody should probably tell Adam Johnson, mind.

Crystal Palace 1-0 Stoke City
Woot! Woot! It's the sound of the Pulis.

Liverpool 2-2 Aston Villa
Rap duo P-Lam and G-Holt are reunited, and their gritty urban tunes soundtracked what was quite a rubbish game of football. It was amusing to see Liverpool go two-nil down courtesy of some hapless defending from Best Goalkeeper In The World Because He Plays For Us Simon Mignolet, and Best Defender In The World Because He Plays For Us Martin Skrtel, but the comeback was always on the cards. With Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez up front, and Aston Villa in defence, there was no way they'd fail to score.

Caerphilly 1-3 Mild Cheddar
Tim Sherwood proves that a change is as good as a competent manager, in the short term at least. Playing against a team that is struggling with Wilfried Bony's lack of mobility and the rest of the side's lack of pace, Emmanuel Adebayor proved that it's not talent that is his problem, it's being managed by Roberto Mancini and Andre Villas-Boas, two exceptional people people. The worst thing about Swansea's decline is that it hints at the horrible idea that Brendan Rodgers might actually be a decent manager. Urgh.

West Brom 6-6 Everton
Yes, a remarkable scoreline, but who would have thought that West Brom would have apologised publicly for supporting a man who made an obviously anti-Semitic gesture. OK, the guess at the scoreline is a bit ridiculous, but sadly not as ridiculous as the second point ever coming true. Baggies when you're being given accurate lectures on comparative morality by estate agents, something's gone wrong.

Manchester City 4-2 Cardiff City
This week, there were more surprising results in Spain than there were in England. That's Spain, the least competitive league in the universe that isn't largely Scottish. Come on, Premier League. You're in danger of losing all the goodwill you've been so carefully building up. We really don't want to have to learn the word 'diary' in Spanish.

Andi Thomas and Alexander Netherton

You can follow Andi on Twitter here, Alexander on Twitter here, and buy last season's Diary here.

I happen to quite like cheddar.
- Samesan

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Readers' Comments


may well get slated by other United fans for this, but out of the three contenders, I'd far prefer Liverpool to win the title. Yes some elements of their fanbase can be a bit OTT, yes they're our biggest rivals and yes it will make our poor season feel even more like the end of an era (Fergie's gone, Liverpool are back on top). However I just have to applaud Brendan Rodgers and the way he's turned Liverpool around in just a couple of seasons. It...

Please Stop Telling Us What To Think


ooray! We are all excited now, we beat a very mediocre team! With all due respect to WHU supporters, not winning that game shouldn't even be a consideration. This is the problem, there is no winning mentality at the Emirates - we're all congratulating ourselves beating a team that we have a winning record against.

Wenger hails important win


s this meant to be an aspiration for United supporters? Moyes mediocrity strikes again. I see the Bayern boys don't want to sign for him, and his reputation amongst the senior European coaches make other key signings unlikely.

De Gea's Europa League target

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