The last third of the Premier League season is still full of jeopardy. Anything could happen from top to bottom. Bit like the first two-thirds then…
Who cares indeed. Liverpool put trophy number five on Klopp’s Anfield CV with that gung-ho goalless three-hour action movie on Sunday. After firing blanks in an unsettling 2020/21 campaign, gone are the calls for this team to win more. They will win more. Where, how and when remains to be seen. Sunday showed that they can grind it out even if that high line induces squeaky bum time. Now, will they get on those quad bikes?
2) Manchester United full of shooting stars with no firepower
As Chelsea might tell you, it’s quite cruel to lose a penalty shoot-out when your goalkeeper is unable to save multiple shoot-out penalties then misses his own. United are working off minor sparks. They have been inept in all competitions, jettisoned by West Ham in the Carabao and by Middlesbrough in another shoot-out in the FA Cup. It is quite conceivable they would now be on an away day in the Europa League, if it wasn’t for Ronaldo’s sense of theatre. The Theatre of Dreams itself needs more than a bit of spit and polish as its ragged bunch of men just can’t deliver routine wins. Paris is still a ridiculous possibility, but with 11 games left, they must have serious concerns that Arsenal et al are a threat to their get-out-of-jail card. And the fixture list is not kind.
3) Antonio Conte going Full Monty at Spurs
It started promisingly. Antonio Conte was undefeated in his first nine PL games. There was a whole bunch of games in hand. His emotions in the last six weeks have been on a big dipper, a barmy mix of electric joy after a couple of 3-2 last-minute winners, but mostly punctured by the drip-drip death stare of defeats. It all came to a head after the 1-0 loss at Burnley last week when the Italian looked as though he was walking off the plank voluntarily. “I think that I am not the right person, when I lose a game my mood is very bad and I prefer to stay alone and live the defeat.” Those Cup defeats against Chelsea and Boro were wretched. What now?
4) Man City doing their slow quickstep
It’s always a red herring when City stumble out of the blocks in the long hot summer of August. Then they just quicken the step without really quickening the pulse.