It’s all set up for a wide-open title race as reigning champions Liverpool have *checks notes* lost one game of football.
Crazy, crazy nights
What a crazy, whacky day Sunday was in the Premier League. A ‘topsy turvy day’, according to the back page of The Sun, giddy with excitement.
They print FOUR tables and talk of a ‘crazy day at the top of the Premier League that saw THREE different leaders’ but nothing can mask the fact that there’s absolutely nothing remarkable about TWO teams winning football matches and going top of the Premier League.
Dave Kidd takes up the theme on the inside pages, writing that ‘even in this chaotic season – and even during a long weekend which gave us four different Premier League leaders – these two remain the most likely eventual champions’.
If you are including Liverpool leading at tea-time on Friday before three teams won their games over the weekend as proof of a ‘chaotic season’ then you really are desperate for a narrative.
So far this ‘chaotic season’ has seen four of the Big Six lose a grand total of one whole match each. When will the craziness end?
You only change twice
The Daily Mirror take up the baton with their own timeline from a ‘topsy-turvy day in the Prem’.
They detail six times – starting at 12pm and ending at 6.15pm – which neatly hides the fact that the lead at the top of the table changed a grand total of twice all day.
Sorry but this…
‘4.45pm: All change again as Jurgen Klopp’s champions are back on top after Mo Salah shoots Liverpool ahead with a penalty against Manchester City.’
…is not how the actual league table works.
The Daily Mail are already heralding a ‘classic season as rivals jostle for position’, complete with images of Jamie Vardy, Harry Kane and Mo Salah sprinting towards a finish line. Quite why they are anywhere near a finishing line in November is a mystery, but the force behind this narrative is strong.
In real life, reigning champions Liverpool are one point off the top of the table after playing their main title rivals – away – this weekend. They are still the bookies’ favourites for the title; leaders Leicester are available at 28/1.
The headline on Martin Samuel’s match report from the Etihad?
‘Nobody is bold enough to declare this race yet.’
Because it’s literally just over 20% done and declaring it now would be absolutely mental, perhaps?
As Ian Ladyman notes literally over the page: ‘There was nothing to see here to suggest it will not be a Liverpool-City one-two next May. Just not necessarily in that order.’
Shush Ian; we’re all pretending that the title race is absolutely wide open.
Who wants to be a tabloid football writer?
This is a simply bizarre way to begin a match report on a 1-0 Leicester win from Graeme Bryce in The Sun:
‘SPOT the odd one out.
‘Is it a) Liverpool, b) Manchester City or c) Leicester.
‘Not so long ago that would have been a no-brainer.
‘Answer C…Leicester. Because they will not win the title.
‘Now you might be more inclined to call a friend…’
Somebody has misunderstood the concept of a quiz.
‘REVEALED: Damning Arsenal stats show worst goal tally for 22 years and Martinez has more Emirates clean sheets than Leno’
‘REVEALED: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang failed to have a single shot for first time in Arsenal career in league game at the Emirates’
REVEALED: The Sun follow OptaJoe on Twitter.
Nullified and void
Garth Crooks has left us all utterly discombobulated by picking a whole raft of defenders in his BBC Team of the Week that did not actually score goals this weekend. Chief among them was Harry Maguire:
‘The England defender has recovered from a shaky start to the season and was outstanding against Everton. The central defender completely nullified the aerial threat from Dominic Calvert-Lewin.’
Apart from when he won the header for Everton’s goal?
Crooks also picks Fred and Bruno Fernandes from Manchester United and says of the former:
‘At a time when United have a real issue with consistency – an issue that has put question marks over their manager’s future – Fred provided the support for Bruno Fernandes against Everton that has been absent when Paul Pogba has played in that role. The Brazilian doesn’t possess Pogba’s ability but epitomises the qualities a coach can rely on.’
Does anybody want to tell him that Fred was absolutely dogsh*t against Arsenal just last week?
It’s a true mystery how this ‘extraordinary squad’ is in 14th.
Choose your weapons
‘Manchester United know their strongest line-up again’ is quite the headline in the Manchester Evening News after one consecutive victory, made all the more remarkable by this being literally the first and only occasion when that particular XI has ever played together.
‘How have United lurched from one extreme to another this season? From the thrashing of Leipzig to the desperate defeats against Arsenal and Tottenham, Solskjaer had looked lost for answers. Until Everton, when his back was pressed firmly up against the wall amid suggestions that Mauricio Pochettino could take his job, he rediscovered a winning formula that has worked before.’
Except they have never actually played together before, which seems kind of important if you are talking about ‘a winning formula that has worked before’.
‘The conclusion from United’s 3-1 win at Goodison Park was clear. If Solskjaer wants consistency in his team’s performances, he must reflect that with his selections.’
Yes, the only conclusion to make from a winning game in which the line-up was entirely unique is that the manager needs to stop changing line-ups.
The mighty warn
‘Jurgen Klopp warned David Alaba transfer would have “long-term consequences” at Liverpool’ – Mirror.
(By David James)
Recommended reading of the day
Jonathan Wilson on fatigue
Michael Cox on Man City as a one-man team