‘WAS THIS THE DAY THE POWER SHIFTED?’ is the headline in the middle pages of the Daily Mail, which is of course a completely normal and measured reaction to the end of an 18-game unbeaten streak in the Premier League. After back-to-back Premier League titles, it does indeed only take one defeat to signal the end of an era. After all, ‘Pep’s mask slips as City issues mount and gap opens at top’.
Basically, give the title to Liverpool.
Matthew Dunn does not go quite so far in the Daily Mirror, but he does write that ‘for once he can justifiably be called ‘Flawed-iola’. His mistake in team selection arguably cost City the game before a ball was even kicked.’
Yes, we are pretty sure that as soon as Norwich saw that starting line-up – featuring Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva and David Silva – they knew that the game was won. Indeed, it is astonishing that the Canaries did not immediately become odds-on favourites at around 4.30pm on Saturday afternoon. As it was, we really should have all piled on at 28/1.
‘It is 17 months since City lost a game in which Kevin De Bruyne played the full 90 minutes, so keeping him on the bench after an international week that involved canters for Belgium against Scotland and San Marino seemed an odd call.’
Lovely little stat there, when used in isolation without the context that actually, City’s win percentage was exactly the same with or without De Bruyne last season at a pretty impressive 82%.
Neatly, De Bruyne started exactly half of the four Premier League games lost by City last season; that he didn’t finish those games is either a damning indictment of his contribution or utterly irrelevant. Your call.
Meanwhile, Mediawatch knew City would lose the game at Norwich the minute we saw that Flawed-iola had not included Riyad Mahrez in his starting line-up; City have never lost a game in which he has played the full 90 minutes.
They think it’s all over…
Back to the Daily Mail now and Jamie Redknapp ‘writes’:
‘Even when Manchester City were trailing Liverpool by 10 points last December, deep down the majority of us thought that Pep Guardiola’s side remained favourites to be crowned champions of England.’
Which is odd because in February – when that ten-point gap had pretty much been eroded – Redknapp was saying that “City are favourites… but I still think Liverpool will win it”. And a month later he was telling talkSPORT: “I am tipping Liverpool to win the title, I know how much it means to them.”
But obviously Redknapp has forgotten he got it so wrong as obviously, this was the day that the power shifted.
‘That’s changed. Jurgen Klopp’s men are no longer the underdogs. They are now the frontrunners for the Premier League title. They conquered Europe, now they want to rule in their own back garden.’
Tell that to the bookies, who still make City odds-on favourites.
‘For Liverpool, everything seems to be falling into place. They will not read too much into a five-point lead in mid-September but it feels like the momentum has shifted.’
Somebody call the engraver.
‘Pep Guardiola makes Liverpool jibe after Man City’s shock Norwich defeat’ is the headline on the Daily Mirror website.
Did he? He is usually awfully respectful about his rivals. Mind you, this was before ‘the day the power shifted’. He’s clearly rattled.
‘Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola played down the impact of their shock defeat at Norwich – by taking a shot at title rivals Liverpool.’
A ‘shot’? It seems unlikely but we will read on…
‘Guardiola insisted it is too early in the season to consider the result pivotal to their hopes of winning a third straight Premier League title.
‘He instead claimed that it is far too early to consider congratulating Liverpool on winning the title already, knowing plenty more twists and turns lie ahead.’
If that’s even remotely a ‘jibe’, it’s really not made in the direction of Liverpool. Maybe look a little closer to home, people…
The most blatant clickbait of all the clickbaits
‘Liverpool or Man Utd – Who tops our rankings of 15 biggest clubs in England?’ – Daily Star.
SPOILER: It’s Liverpool. Because they really are bloody brilliant.
Revelation of the day
We would say that putting a ‘REVEALED’ tag on The Sun’s ‘story’ that ‘TAMMY ABRAHAM is just three goals away from equalling Marcus Rashford’s best-ever Premier League tally after just FIVE GAMES’ was a new low, but we know better; this is just standard shit (and maths) in 2019.
Conjunction of the day
‘Soyuncu is learning to speak Brummie and loves putting team-mates in a headlock but he is still prone to an error’ – The Athletic.
And there we were thinking headlocks solved all of the problems.
Spare a thought for Tottenham Hotspur, who beat Crystal Palace 4-0 to go third in the Premier League, and were then faced with a Monday ‘match report’ in The Sun in which the first 18 paragraphs are dedicated to Paul Jiggins saying that anything less than a quarter-final place in the Champions League should be viewed as ‘abject failure’.
Yes, having twice in their entire history reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League, anything less should now lead to a public flogging.
For f***’s sake.
Madd about the boy
Over at Old Trafford, The Sun’s Martin Blackburn was bored into writing about James Maddison as he speculated that ‘if Saturday was something of an audition at the Theatre of Dreams for Leicester’s former Norwich man, then the signs are he would also be an ideal fit’. Apparently ‘that bit of creativity and flair is what the current Red Devils side are missing right now’.
Pesky fact: Maddison did not create a single chance at Old Trafford.
Recommended reading of the day
Michael Cox on Arsenal being defensive without defending (£)
Jonathan Wilson on Chelsea