Special 1 Pep 2

Published: Monday, 12 September 2016

With both apologies and thanks to the sub editor at the Sunday Mirror that came up with the best headline of the weekend. It was so good that I had to nick it! 

So was the game. I really enjoyed it. Often those big matches get surrounded by so much expectation that they fail to live up to the billing. Not this one. It was a terrific game. 

Full marks to Guardiola. I wasn't convinced that he'd be able to take his style of football to Old Trafford and dominate for virtually the whole game. But he did - and City thoroughly deserved their win. For me, they were the better team. But - and it's a big but - United should've had a penalty and Bravo was a lucky boy not to be sent off. There's no guarantees that United would've scored with the pen, but the keepers reckless lunge at Rooney met all the criteria for dangerous play. He should've gone and I'm really surprised that Mark Clattenburg, who I believe is our best ref now, thought differently. Mind you, so did my mate Andy Gray, but he was wrong as well! 

I said Saturday on Twitter that I thought Mourinho had picked the wrong team. I'm pleased he's been big enough to come out and admit it. Not not only did he pick the wrong team, I felt that United were far too passive. They sat off for virtually the whole of the first half and invited City to run rings round them. And so they did. 

I still can't understand why. I really fancied United because I thought they would be more 'powerful' - typically Mourinho - but I also thought that playing at home they'd get on the front foot, like United teams of old, and steamroller City. 

Mourinho had the personnel to do that and I thought he looked so relaxed pre-match that he genuinely believed for almost the first time he had a better team than Guardiola. 

If you cast your minds back over previous meetings I can't remember too many occasions when Mourinho set a team up to 'beat' a Guardiola team. He's always set out to 'not get beaten'. That's why I think he's happy with all those draws in the head to head. For Mourinho they're like wins. This time I genuinely thought he'd go for the jugular.  

Anyway, as I said, top marks to City. I thought they were great. 

Andre Marriner was at it again wasn't he? How didn't he see Fer's foul on Gary Cahill? I did - and I was sitting in a tv studio 3500 miles away! Must do better Andre! And it didn't get much of a mention at home, but wasn't Costa's equaliser 'dangerous'. Have another look if you get the chance. He nearly decapitates that Swansea defender. Of course we don't want to see magical moments denied on the pitch, but that should've been. Or did Marriner realise his earlier error by this time and just even things up? Perish the thought! 

Well done Watford. What a stunning comeback at West Ham. Arsenal got lucky, again! There'll come a time this season that Arsene Wenger is complaining about decisions, but he's had two big ones go his way already. Arsenal should've conceded a late pen at Leicester and what was Bobby Madley thinking handing them that late chance to win it? 

Whatever else, they were genuine errors, and it happens, so we have to accept that. What didn't happen this weekend - for the first time this season - was that a ref gave a penalty that could've been avoided. Now why was that? Well in my view because that one-man wrecking ball Mike Dean wasn't in charge of a game. And why was that? Well, I'm hearing that he's been told to calm down a bit - and that neither the Sterling pen at Stoke, nor the award for shirt pulling on Benteke was a pen. Perhaps it was just a co-incidence that he was only 4th official at Old Trafford? 

I don't the new tv gantry at Anfield. Amazing isn't it, a club spends all that money on a new stand, in an era dominated by tv, and yet can't deliver a gantry to allow the game to be covered at an angle that's easy on the eye. It's too far away. My solution? Move it to the other side and look into that magnificent new stand. 

I'm looking forward to the game tonight. I'm intrigued by what David Moyes is going to be able to achieve at Sunderland and Ronald Koeman might just be on the brink of returning better times to Everton. I'm delighted to say that a 'strong' Ray Wilkins will be in the BeIN Sports MNF studios. It's been good to spend time with Ray this weekend. He's had his problems recently as we all know, but he's on the mend.