Who’s paying Jose?

Published: Tuesday, 15 September 2020

I was watching the weekend football thinking about the blog I wrote ahead of the season and wondering how wrong I might end up being about my predictions.

Arsenal won comfortably at ‘nice’ Fulham. It’s too early to draw too many conclusions but it was 90 minutes that gives us an idea of how Fulham’s season could very easily map out. Arsenal won’t have it that easy every week - but the outcome wasn’t a surprise to me.

Leicester’s win at The Hawthorns was all too easy as well. Again. Predictable. But how well did Leeds do at Anfield? What a brilliant marker to lay down. I think Bielsa spooked Klopp. I thought Liverpool looked nervy - but as Champions do - they got the job done. If Leeds don’t run out of steam they‘re going to excite us.

What did I say about Palace? In trouble without Zaha because he’s so often the difference. He was. And Hodgson’s team proved again how difficult they are to break down.

I thought Newcastle looked really good. Steve Bruce has bought well. He said he wanted ‘PL players’ - well he’s got them. It was a dream start for Wilson and Hendrick. I’m not saying that they can gate crash the top four - but perhaps they can the top 6? They could easily be this season’s surprise. I hope so too.

West Ham’s problems were obvious to everybody. I don’t blame David Moyes - he’s working for an impossible trio who always believe they know best and who’ve broken promises to the West Ham faithful time and again. I haven’t been too popular in the East End when I’ve suggested that Hammers’ fans should temper expectations - but perhaps now it’s becoming clearer why I’ve always said that? I defend the right of the owners to run the club as they see fit - but they shouldn’t be making promises they can’t deliver. And they have no intention of delivering.  Champions League? You’re having a laugh.

Everton looked good. James Rodriquez will become a firm favourite at Goodison. He was neat and tidy but I don’t think he affected a great deal. That’s what I expect most weeks. Allan, on the other hand, did Peter Reid’s old jersey justice. He was fantastic. His type are a dying breed, but Ancelotti has found a good one there. And what a good goal from Calvert-Lewin. I’ve said before - there’s something about him that I really like.

Of all the teams I saw at the weekend, it’s Spurs that worry me most. They looked slow, flat - almost dis-interested. I can’t believe that they’ve downed tools so early into Mourinho’s reign, but it certainly looked that way. It’s to be hoped it’s a one-off, but it was concerning.

I heard a whisper the other day that Amazon have been contributing to Mourinho’s wages - that they might even be paying them during the time that the documentary was being made and now aired. Would that surprise us? It would certainly explain why he was so happy to get involved with the project.  I’ve really enjoyed it but there’s no doubt who the star is. Mourinho is box office. I can’t imagine it being as successful had Pocchetino been at Tottenham when it was made. Would that also explain why he was dumped so quickly last season? I don’t know, but I can see the argument. In a world where kit manufacturers now get deals done for clubs - why not? We need somebody with more resources than me on the case to find out more.

What I do know is this. Unless there is a dramatic and fast improvement then Mourinho won’t see Christmas. Well - that is unless Daniel Levy is prepared to turn round eight or nine of that squad and back his man. But he can’t afford to do that. That billion pound stadium is fantastic, but it weighs heavily around Levy’s neck. Do you remember Arsene Wenger explaining how it took Arsenal a decade to acclimatise to their new home? And how it nearly bankrupt them? Whatever happens I can’t see Harry Kane being at Spurs this time next year, so my suggestion that they could be knocking on the door of the top four again could easily be wide of the mark!

Wolves blew Mourinho’s excuses about Spurs being unfit and not ready out of the water. To be clear - he also said his team were ‘lazy in the press’ - not lazy. There’s a huge difference there.

Wolves only reported back to work on Sept 1 and the game at Bramhall Lane was their first of the season. They were great. Questions about ‘second season syndrome’ won’t be long in coming if Sheff United aren’t better next time out.

I loved watching Timo Werner. What a good player he looks. He was sharp, fast, full of running and mischief and he looked worth every penny Chelsea have paid for him. Admittedly, he wasn’t so good 2nd half, but he’d made an impact by then. So no surprises from Chelsea.

And none from Brighton either. Graham Potter wants his team to ‘play the right way’. Good luck to him, but there’s a time and a place. Playing blind square passes on the edge of your own box isn’t it.

Already I’m looking forward to seeing United and City next weekend. We’ll discuss both before they play.