Good morning and welcome to Monday. It’s just a quick one this morning because I got up late. Not an ideal way to start the week at all.
Yesterday’s football didn’t quite live up to expectation, as we had three games that weren’t the best spectacles in the world. They weren’t the worst either, but I think we expected a bit more, especially given all of the ‘Derby Day’ build-up. Southampton and Arsenal got the day started down on the south coast, and they played out a 1-1 draw.
Charlie Austin opened the scoring inside the first five minutes for the Saints, and Arsenal were a shambles at the back. He got in far too easily, and in the first ten minutes or so he got in another couple of times, but was flagged offside. Arsenal had Petr Cech to thank for one particularly good save. Arsenal came through that little period of shakiness, and ended up taking control of the game. They had most of the ball, but they didn’t do much with it. There wasn’t many clear cut chances for the Gunners, but in the 88th minute, substitute Olivier Giroud headed in an Alexis Sanchez cross to snatch a point. The Frenchman has shown time and time again how important he is to Arsenal, and he really is a great asset to have on the bench.
There has been talk that Olivier Giroud could leave the club in January to look for more game time ahead of the World Cup, but Wenger ruled that out. He said:
He is important – why should we lose an important player? It is up to us [and not Giroud].
He will start more games. I believe as well it’s always the same when you have many good players, some of them cannot play.
The question you get is always why does the guy who is good not play? Because if you take him on you have another guy who is good who will not play, it is as simple as that.
I’m sure it’ll be seen as a good point after being behind for the whole game, but Arsenal would have expected a lot more going into this one. I said in the preview of the game that you never know what you’re going to get with Arsenal, and they have frustrated their fans once again by dropping more points away from home.
Liverpool and Everton played out a 1-1 draw at Anfield. Liverpool were on top for the whole game and battered an Everton side who had no ambition to attack, but in the end a Wayne Rooney penalty got a point for the Toffees. Much has been made of Jurgen Klopp’s team selection, as the German decided to leave Firmino and Coutinho on the bench. Then, at 1-0, he replaced Salah with Firmino. I think it was a mistake by the German, and Liverpool would more than likely blown Everton away with their ‘Fab Four’ on the pitch. It wasn’t to be the case though, and Klopp has to shoulder some of the blame.
Everton were happy to sit back and defend, even at 1-0 down, but on a rare occasion when they left their half Wayne Rooney picked the ball up out on the right wing. He fired a superb ball into the box to Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who took a touch. Dejan Lovren then came bundling into the back of him, and the referee pointed to the spot. It was probably a little bit soft, but you just can’t do what Lovren did. There was no need for it, and I think the penalty was justified. Rooney then stepped up and smashed it straight down the middle.
The game finished 1-1, and Jurgen Klopp was asked about the penalty decision after the game by a Sky Sports reporter. The reporter said he thought it was a penalty, and Klopp went a bit mad. He was really frustrated, but I think he went a little bit over the top. In the end, I’m sure Klopp knows that he should have started his strongest side, but things like this happen. What he put out on the pitch should have been enough to beat Everton, but it wasn’t to be the case.
The biggest game of the day – and the biggest of the season – was the late kick off between Man Utd and Man City at Old Trafford. Man City ended up winning 2-1, and it wasn’t the best game to watch to be honest. In the first half in particular, United were happy to sit back and hit on the break, but they kept going for the long ball up to Romelu Lukaku. It was quite poor stuff, but we know that’s what we’ll get when Jose Mourinho is involved in a big game. Don’t get me wrong, City weren’t great either, but at least they tried to play football.
There were a lot of United fans giving out about the referee – who wasn’t great in all honestly – but they really didn’t deserve anything from the game and I don”t think it was decided by any of the referee’s decisions. The big talking point is that Gabriel Jesus went over in the box in the first half under no contact. It was a clear dive, and he should have been booked, but Michael Oliver just waved play on. Ander Herrera then dived in the second half, but he was booked. I’m not quite sure how it works, but will Herrera not be banned now because the referee punished him in the game? I’m not quite sure, but hopefully him and Gabriel Jesus are handed bans because diving really needs to be stamped out of the game.
Man City took the lead through David Silva in the 43rd minute, but Marcus Rashford equalised just before the break. Nicolas Otamendi scored what proved to be the winner after 54 minutes. A free kick was floated into the box by David Silva, and when Romelu Lukaku tried to clear it he gave it to Otamendi on a plate to score. There was nothing David de Gea could do about it.
The game finished 2-1, and there’s talk that there was a bit of a brawl in the tunnel after the game. Mikel Arteta, who is a coach for City, was seen leaving with a bloody face. There were reports of plastic bottles and milk being thrown, supposedly over Jose Mourinho. The word is that Man Utd were unhappy that Man City were being too loud when celebrating, and had music playing too high. They were asking them to keep it down out of respect for the losing side, and then’s when the arguments broke out. Mourinho didn’t mention any of this in his pre-game press conference though.
City are now 11 points clear at the top of the table, and you could be forgiven for saying the title race is over. It’s not completely over, but another side would have to be near perfect from now until the end of the season if they were to catch them. I can’t see it happening, and I’m going to say that it’s over. This could come back to bite me, but there you go.
Anyway, that’s all I can manage for now because it’s time for work. There are midweek fixtures on this week, and I’ll be back in the morning with some talk about them. I won’t be able to do all the previews I usually do on the weekend, but hopefully I’ll get something written down. Back tomorrow, I hope you have a good day.