The reason I can’t get behind the idea of Chelsea or Manchester United as champions this season was clear at the weekend.
Chelsea gave Manchester City way too much respect instead of dominating them physically, being adventurous and taking the game to them as they did in the Champions League final.
And had Jose Mourinho put out that Chelsea side — or any other such talented team — to defend as deeply as Thomas Tuchel did, then he’d have rightly been slaughtered.
As Tuchel has been seemingly touched by the sword of invincibility, however, what was essentially a park-the-bus, reactive and negative first half in particular was passed off by some as tactical genius.
It wasn’t and Chelsea can’t make that mistake again if they want to be champions.
As for United, they have the second best squad in the league but they’re a hotchpotch of styles and different managers’ signings combined with a general scattergun approach that relies too much on counter-attacking, even at home.
This will amount to them dropping points — not enough to be out of the top-four conversation but enough to keep them from winning the title.
After watching Virgil van Dijk against Brentford, I wondered if it’s time to pull him out of the Liverpool team for three or four games.
In one-on-ones, he was his usual self, but when the Bees put in crosses there were times he was reactive not proactive, which caused both he and his team some problems.
Image:AFP via Getty Images)
Big, hulking frames such as his take some moving around, especially after such a bad injury, the rehabilitation that follows and then a start to the season like Liverpool have had.
So maybe giving him an extended break rather than the odd game out or subbing him off now and then will pay Liverpool back in the long run.
Brentford had a well thought-out and well-executed plan in terms of getting themselves to the Premier League and they have everything in place to be able to thrive and, most importantly, survive.
I’ve never seen a better prepared team for a club’s first season in the Premier League.
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Some managers, such as Sean Dyche, like things the way they’ve always been.
They’re two rashers of bacon, scrambled eggs, a bit of fried bread and a builders’ with two sugars kind of people.
Sometimes, though, it doesn’t hurt to try something new — a bit of smashed avo with poached egg and smoked salmon on sourdough, perhaps.
And, in Maxwell Cornet, it looks like Dyche is thinking the same.
Against Leicester, Cornet complemented a wonderful finish with good movement throughout, taking up lots of dangerous positions and giving Burnley a little bit of, ‘Wow!’
I hope that performance is just a taster of what’s to come from the Ivorian.
As an Aston Villa fan, I grew up watching one of the great goalkeeping characters in John Burridge.
And I was reminded of Budgie’s eccentric approach when I saw Emi Martinez, fresh from his Argentina exploits, putting both Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes to the banter sword at Old Trafford.
It was fun, refreshing and a sight to behold. It was ****housery at its finest and the game needs more of it.Read More Read More