City are winning it again, Brighton go back to old habits – it’s the F365 3pm Blackout

Jason Soutar
Manchester City players celebrate an early goal against Luton
Man City, who are winning it all again, celebrate against Luton

Arsenal and Liverpool have had most of the attention during this title race, which is funny because Manchester City are going to win it. Again. That and more in the latest instalment of the F365 3pm Blackout…


Devastating: Man City are winning the Premier League…again

Manchester City 5-1 Luton
Manchester City are, dare I say, going a little bit under the radar in this Premier League title race. They are now top by two points after comfortably beating Luton Town at home, although Arsenal and Liverpool play their games in hand on Sunday.

Arsenal’s mesmerising form and Liverpool winning games they have no right to win have been the main talking points from this eye-watering title race. City have disappointed against the Big Six this term but against everyone else, they win. With the easiest run-in out of the lot, they are the bookies’ favourite and rightly so.

Nobody expected Luton to get anything at the Etihad but seeing City physically get the three points with a 5-1 win and go top of the Premier League sends a stark warning to their rivals.

You have to go back to December for the last time City dropped points against a team outside of the ‘Big Six’ and with only Tottenham away coming up, it feels like they are in the midst of one of those silly winning runs.

The three points were pretty much in the bag after a single minute against Luton. Erling Haaland missed a one-on-one and the ball somehow found its way to him to attempt a spectacular bicycle kick. The ball ended up in the back of the net but thanks to a fatal deflection from Daiki Hashioka.

City turned on the style in the second 45 minutes. Mateo Kovacic scored a peach of a volley to make it two before Haaland got a goal that was definitely his from the penalty spot. Ross Barkley grabbed a consolation which was nice for the travelling fans but City’s three-goal lead was restored after some silky dribbling and a tidy finish from Jeremy Doku.

Somehow, Josko Gvardiol sealed the win with what is bizarrely becoming a trademark goal, cutting in from the left to smash the ball into the top corner with his weaker right foot. He did the same against Real Madrid during the week. It’s anyone’s guess which goal will live longer in the memory of the young Croatian.

But, yeah…the champions are top of the league and they are going to be there after 38 matches. It is written in the stars because we, my friends, are the farmers.


Life without Toney? Well done, Thomas. They have 16 points…

Brentford 2-0 Sheffield United
It looks like Thomas Frank wants to prove Brentford can live without Ivan Toney after being on his knees for the England striker’s return for half the season.

Toney had not missed a minute for the Bees after returning from his betting ban on January 20 until last week’s 3-3 draw at Aston Villa. He came on in the 81st minute after wearing the captain’s armband in his previous three appearances. Against Sheffield United on Saturday, Toney did not get on the pitch for a single second.

Now, is Frank trying to prove that Brentford will be alright when Toney moves on in the summer, are they a better side without him, or is the Danish head coach a bit fed up with the striker publicly begging for a transfer? It is not the second option. It might be the third one which would be fine, but it is probably the first option.

They were hardly convincing against a Sheffield United team with a colossal 16 points after 32 games, but Brentford did get three points, which is something they have not done in a match since the start of February. Relegation thoughts have creeped in with Luton putting up a proud fight to stay in the division and seven points now separate Frank’s side from the bottom three.

They have huge matches against Luton and Everton coming up before winnable fixtures against Fulham (h), Bournemouth (a), and Newcastle United (h), which indicates that they will be just fine this season.

Without Toney next year, though, it will be very tough. There will be no convincing this guy that a 2-0 win against a dismal Sheffield United team without their talisman proves they can thrive.


Matheus Cunha picks up where he left off on return to Wolves’ starting XI

Nottingham Forest 2-2 Wolves
Matheus Cunha’s last three Premier League starts have been eventful affairs. The second of the three saw him limp off after just 20 minutes against Brentford with a particularly galling hamstring injury. Galling because it came at a time when Cunha’s form was thoroughly compelling.

To illustrate that further, the game before that he scored three in a thumpingly good win at Chelsea. And today, on his first start since those February efforts, he scored two more against Forest to first put Wolves in front before half-time and then rescue a point after the interval.

It takes his season haul to 11 along with six assists on what has been a thoroughly satisfactory season since making his loan move from Atletico Madrid permanent on the back of just two goals in 17 appearances in the second half of last season.

And 11 goals may not sound like a bumper haul, but it’s worth remembering that this is Wolves. They now have Cunha and Hwang Hee-chan in double figures – these are riches indeed for a club where nobody had scored more than six league goals in a season since Raul Jimenez scored 17 in 2019/20.


Brighton go back to their bad old ways after more struggles in front of goal

Burnley 1-1 Brighton
Are Brighton turning back into their old selves? We have to ask, because they seem to have seamlessly slipped back into the familiar Potter-era trope of being enormously easy on the eye but just a bit too pleasant to play against because for all the football niceties they never actually put the ball in the f***ing net.

This was a problem they really did seem to have solved. From the end of last season and a good chunk into this one, they went over 30 Premier League games without failing to score. It was one of the finest such runs ever seen in the Barclays.

Now, though? Now they’re right back to the bad old days and here needed an all-time howler from Arijanet Muric, who allowed a backpass to roll under his studs and into the net, just to emerge from Burnley with a point.

It’s a result that does nothing much for either team, of course. Brighton – after an absurdly promising start – have drifted inexorably into the mid-table pack, and their lack of conviction in front of goal is a huge reason for that drift. Our ever-updating favourite stat now sits at six wins in their last 26 after winning five of their first six back in August and September.

Opposition goalkeepers offering gifts of this nature does not seem a particularly solid path to take in future games, and this entirely donated goal was still only Brighton’s fourth in their last seven games. It’s a season of missed opportunities in more ways than one for The Premier League’s Best-Run Club.

For Burnley, meanwhile, this feels like a decisive opportunity missed in the most galling manner. A win here, with Sheffield United next, would have been tantalising. As it is, that Sheffield United game now only gives them the opportunity to close the gap before a run of games against Manchester United, Newcastle and Tottenham that will now surely finish them off.

READ MORE: 16 Conclusions from Newcastle 4-0 Spurs: Van de Ven, Gordon, Isak, and some very silly numbers