What did we learn?
We learned that Leeds aren’t scared to attack and that Liverpool’s defence can be breached once their two brilliant backs are isolated upfield. We also learned that some teams will always get penalties while others will have decent goals chalked off, so nothing new there then. We learned that as expected Chelsea have an excellent forward line while their back line remains suspect. We didn’t learn how good Arsenal and Leicester are owing to the fact that on last weekend’s performances Fulham and West Brom are bobbins. Elsewhere Wolves enjoyed a good win at Sheffield United while Spurs were simply awful while losing to Everton for the first time since 2012; unless something changes at the lane it’s gonna be a very long season. One suspects that it’s gonna be a very short season for David Moyes as the knives are out for him after the Irons went down at home to Newcastle; one Hammers fan told me he expects relegation this season but surely they have too many good players to go down. (Where have I heard that before?)
Before last weekend I firmly believed that Everton had a real chance of breaching the top six this season and having watched them at Spurs on Sunday I still think that’s the case. A couple of weeks ago I said that Chelsea’s Frank Lampard had ‘won’ the transfer window but in the last two weeks Carlo Ancelotti has laid claim to that distinction; he’s freshened up the previously insipid midfield big time by bringing in James Rodriguez who despite a torrid time lately at Real Madrid is still a class above most other playmakers, he brought in Allan from Napoli to add bite, and Abdoulaye Doucoure who featured in many of my teams of the week over the past couple of seasons was also acquired from Watford. Instantly Everton now have one of the best midfield trios’ in the league, keep an eye on them.
Team of the week
Vicente Guaita Palace, Reece James Chelsea, Scott Dann Palace, Michael Keane Everton, Conor Coady Wolves, Jamal Lewis Newcastle, Allan Everton, James Rodriguez Everton, Mo Salah Liverpool, Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang Arsenal, Willian Arsenal. Manager Carlo Ancelotti Everton. Player of the week James Rodriguez Everton; as good a midfield performance as can be expected by a player once coveted by Real Madrid; it didn’t work out for him there but if anyone can rehabilitate him it’s Carlo Ancelotti.
This week’s big games
Premier League today 2:30; Everton vs West Brom. 5pm; Leeds vs Fulham. 7:30; United vs Palace. 10pm; Arsenal vs West Ham. Tomorrow 2pm; Southampton vs Spurs. 4pm; Newcastle vs Brighton. 6:30; Liverpool vs Chelsea. 9pm; Leicester vs Burnley. Monday 8pm; Villa vs Sheffield United. 10:15; Wolves vs Citeh. Selected Championship today 2:30 Forest vs Cardiff. 5pm; Luton vs Derby, Middlesbrough vs Bournemouth, Norwich vs Preston, Wednesday vs Watford. Friday 9:45; Bournemouth vs Norwich. Selected Scottish today 5pm; Celtic vs Livingston. Tomorrow 2pm; Hibs vs Rangers. (Another excuse for George Offord to don a Hibs shirt) Stand out game; Liverpool vs Chelsea; we saw what a free flowing Leeds side did to the Liverpool defence last week and I expect Chelsea to inflict similar damage tomorrow. The question is can Liverpool score one more goal than Chelsea? I expect they can.
That is the question
I have to say that I’m really not too keen on the modern format but Question of Sport has been in my life for over 50 years; in that time we’ve seen many genuine sporting greats on the show including George Best, Bobby Moore, Bobby Charlton, Mary Peters, Shane Warne, David Ginola, and lest we forget, Princess Ann. Its team captains have included the incomparable Cliff Morgan, ditto Gareth Edwards, Ally McCoist, Emlyn Hughes, Bill Beaumont, and of course Henry Cooper. First presented by David Vine who was followed by the superb David Coleman and then we had 23 years of Sue Barker to see us through to the present day with captain’s Matt Dawson and Phil Tufnell. But now the BBC has announced that from next year Barker, Dawson, and Tufnell will no longer be on the show as they look to recast in such a way to make it ‘inclusive’, I wonder what that inclusivity will entail? Answers please on the back of a postage stamp.
Last week I wanted to know how many British drivers have won the Indy 500 and their names; the four drivers were Jim Clark 1965, Graham Hill 1966, Dario Franchitti, 2007, 2010, 2012, and Dan Weldon 2005, 2011. It could be argued that Dario Resta who won in 1916 was British given that he was raised in England from the age of two despite having been born in Italy. The bonus question was; what connects Alan Jones, Keke Rosberg, Nelson Piquet, Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill, and Jacques Villeneuve? The easy answer to this question is that they all won the F1 world championship driving for Frank Williams whose storied association with racing ended last week when his team was bought out by Dorian Capital, though for the time being the new owners are staying with the Williams name. This week; connect the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and Manchester City. Bonus; somewhere in this column is the title of a Rolling Stones song, name it.
Sacre Bleu! So there we were just talking in the bar when the conversation turned to the man in the Dordogne who managed to blow his house up when he was chasing mossies’ around with an electronic zapper “who care’s” said Mrs Walker “the frogs deserve everything that happens to them” (It’s fair to acknowledge that she’s not particularly fond of our cross-channel friends) “actually I do because I live in France” said the lady sitting with us, I mean seriously how was Mrs Walker to know while sitting in a bar in Lapta Northern Cyprus that Birmingham born Dawn Cutler lived in France? Oops! Double oops! Who is daft enough to pay 50TL (£5.50) for a mask? Ian ‘Candy Man’ Williams that’s who; as it happens he lost it in a bar on the day he bought it so if anyone sees someone in the street wearing a mask featuring the Rolling Stones lips and tongue logo (Bit tacky that) could they give him a shout please. I have to admit that the more I think about it that particular logo seems tailor made for Ian, but a fiver? Come on!