The fourth week of the season is upon us, the poxy European qualifiers are done with, the groups have been drawn and now the real season is beginning to take shape. If you’re lucky I may well take a look at the groups, IF you are lucky! Anyway, for now I’m going to concentrate on the weekend we’ve just had where, to be honest, on Sunday morning I was struggling to find a lot of things to write about. But hey ho, I did it, I ground it out and here is my commentary on week 4….
Brighton Show Heart Again In Fight For Survival
Is there anything Glenn Murray can’t do? Brighton may have dropped a place this week but they again showed the type of heart and soul that has won them a lot of fans this season, not least because they beat everyone’s favourite enemy a couple of weeks ago. It was only a point at home to Fulham, but it will have been an important point after being 2-0 down with under half an hour to go and Chris Hughton was right to praise the character of his players afterwards because they showed real grit. They even missed their first penalty and STILL didn’t let their heads drop in their desperate chase for points.
A very special mention has to go to Glenn Murray here, he’s a seasoned player and has absolute sacks full of experience in relegation dogfights, having proven his mettle in spells at Crystal Palace, Bournemouth and now The Seagulls. I really believe that it will be his goals that will prove crucial if they are to prove me right and escape relegation this season. On the other side of things, I think Fulham may also be happy to gain another point in their fight against the drop, they’ll be disappointed not to come away with what could’ve been a huge away win against a fellow relegation battler but they can be pleased with the outcome anyhow.
Tottenham Collapse Shows Flaws In Market Dealings
The one thing I say about Tottenham (and have received quite a bit of stick for) is that, behind their first XI, they haven’t really got much depth about them or something that could be considered a Plan B. My point is, if their first team can’t grind out an ugly win when 1-0 up in a scrappy game against Watford, who can they rely on to change it up a bit and see it out? If their first team cannot get the job done, who can? I feel it was this that Spurs needed to deal with in the summer window and why I think that making zero signings whatsoever will really come back to haunt them. Another problem could also have been that maybe Hugo Lloris would’ve saved the shots that went in, where once-a-year Michel Vorm may well be a little rusty between the sticks. Even so, if Tottenham want to be considered real title contenders, they’re going to have to start really showing that they can win ugly against teams that they really should be winning against.
In all honesty, what I should really be commenting on here is the fact that Watford are now one of the three teams to have a 100% record after four games, something I never thought I’d at the start of the season. In actual fact, I got them all wrong when I predicted them to finish 19th and get relegated and my planned January update of that may well have them finishing a lot higher in the table. Of course, I don’t want to get ahead of myself, especially after last season when they started with huge promise, scoring goals and getting off to a flying start before the manager was linked with a move away around Christmas before eventually being sacked and then the team finished the season with a bit of a whimper. I guess you could say that The Hornets had the sting taken out of their tail, but why would anyone want to say that?
Mourinho Makes Statement After Tough Week Despite Rashford Stupidity
The last week’s football headlines have been absolutely dominated with, frankly, utter ridiculous statements accusing Mourinho of being on the edge of getting the sack. I was not one of the fans calling for his head after our 3-0 loss at home to Tottenham (which preserved our record of NEVER having lost 2-0 at Old Trafford in the Premier League). I actually thing we were extremely unlucky to lose that game and they were nowhere near being three goals better than us, they just took their chances better than we did. Mourinho said that “by the strategic point of view we didn’t lose, by the tactical point of view we didn’t lose, but we lost the game” which confused many people and left him rather open for criticism from the press. What I think he meant was that he actually got his tactics spot on and we dominated the game for an hour before they got a goal from their first corner of the game and punished us with their deadly touch from there on.
Anyway, enough about that, this week we seemed like a new team, scoring what was almost an easy win (despite our disgusting new pink second kit) away at Turf Moor, never an easy place to go. I say almost easy because, after Rashford having been on for ten minutes he showed an absolute lack of foresight by squaring up and pushing his head towards Phil Bardsley. Some may say that it was a soft red, some may say that Bardsley deserved one for kicking out at Marcus as he went down in clear frustration. I think that Rashford is going to get very limited chances to show what he can do this season, and this sending off will have done him absolutely no favours, leaving him out of games against Watford, Wolves and the EFL Cup game against Derby, which are matches where he most likely would’ve had at least one start. In addition, this now means that, unless it’s for England, Rashford won’t be seeing the pitch again for at least another month, only further limiting his chances to impress Jose. Leaving the red card to itself, United put in a strong performance and, even after the card, looked assured in marching to a 2-0 win that never really looked in serious doubt. Lukaku may again come in for a little criticism despite scoring 2 when he could maybe have scored more, especially a one on one after having got round Joe Hart. Either way, if Mourinho gets some more stick after today, I’m going to start declaring FAKE NEWS!
Looking at the opponents, Burnley are a team that really won me over last season with their gutsy play. This season, I was really hoping they’d at least get into the group stages of the Europa League as I feel they deserved it. As it happened, they invested a lot in a long qualification campaign that has ultimately led nowhere and has already direly affected their league form, only taking one point from their first four. In actual fact, maybe it was good that they got eliminated and can now focus again on trying to climb back out of the relegation zone. With the team they have, they absolutely should not be there and Sean Dyche will now be facing some real questions after a performance where his boys looked absolutely devoid of any of the energy or passion that served them so well last season. Their next three games in the league are against Wolves away, Bournemouth at home and then away to Cardiff and it will be crucial for The Clarets to pick up some points because, if they don’t, it’s only going to get tougher for them.
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