Howdy folks. Whatcha been up to this weekend? You certainly haven’t been filling it with Arsenal delight because we’re the Monday night crew which, whilst cool because it starts your working week off with some football, is also a little ducky because it means you have to sit through every other team.
And what we say through yesterday wasn’t exactly fun. Pretty much every team expected to be in the top seven won. Everton came from behind, Liverpool held on for a win, United ground out an away win, Chelski and City smashed their opponents and even the Spuds picked up an away win with ten men for the last 20 minutes.
So all in all it was a pretty shoddy weekend. I always look towards weekend’s like this in the hope that somebody drops points that we would consider a ‘rival’. But when you get every team winning like yesterday it just means that you’re having to play catch up. I hate having to play catch up. We’re not really that great at it.
What it also showed me was that the Premier League really does feel like it’s breaking in to two distinct mini leagues within it. The teams at the top are a cut above anyone else in the division and game weeks like this weekend just serve to prove that the gap is getting wider. But the way City, United, The Tiny Totts and Chelski are playing at the moment, it is also starting to look like they’re even breaking away. They are seeeping aside teams away from home and at home. When was the last time we dealt out anfour or five goal winning margin?
Feels like a long time ago. My hope is that we have one around the corner, but given our indifferent start to the season, I’m kind of hoping that it happens sooner rather than later. Tomorrow’s game could be a great opportunity if we score early again, because it will throw Pulis’ game plan out of the window like Eddie Howe’s in the game against Bournemouth a couple of weekend’s ago, but I’ll do more of a match preview tomorrow.
But it does feel like if we want to keep pace with all of those now taking their positions at the top of the league we have to start chalking up some statement wins.
For now, the only real other news that’s swirling around is around how Alex Iwobi needs to score more goals and the desire to extend Welbeck and Ramsey’s contracts. On the former point, I actually agree with Arsène when he says that Iwobi is still young and learning his trade and having just only turned 21 in May this year, it’s easy to forget that he still has development to be done.
The problem footballers like Iwobi have is that when they break on to the scene at such a young age, their development curve is already plotted out for them by us fans within their first few games. If they play well in those first few games, as fans we start imagining an arc that ends with them being on the same level as Messi and Ronaldo, staying in the same team – our team – for about 10 years. I did the same think with Jack. In his breakthrough season within a couple of months I’d already awarded him a future Balon D’Or and we’d seen up one central midfield position for the next 15 years. Yet we all know that has evolved over time and it’s not a story we’re particularly fond of.
Some people are already writing Iwobi off and perhaps that’s because we’ve all had recent instances of players not quite kicking on, but at 21 he still has time on his side and so let’s just hope that he can continue to develop and like Arsène says, add more goals to his game.
As for the Rambo and Welbeck deals, I’m a little more cynical on that front, because I think what’s happening with Özil and Alexis and what happened with the Ox have now set a dangerous precedent. Arsène talks about how this will become more commonplace in football – players running down their deals – but I ask you this: how many other of the big clubs are in the same situation as we seem to perpetually be in?
Only Liverpool with Emre Can as far as I can see. And Liverpool have already filled that gap by agreeing a deal to sign Naby Keita next season.
So no, I don’t think this is a common occurrence and no, I don’t have much faith that we won’t balls it up.
But hey, I guess that’s something for next summer for us to get all worried about. Which feels like a long way right now.
Right, I’m off to enjoy some of the unseasonable warmth, so I’ll catch you tomorrow.