What a great weekend

Published: Tuesday, 10 August 2021

What a great weekend that was. Brentford started it - underlining what we all knew - Arsenal are going nowhere. 

It was so enjoyable to see United doing what they used to do best. Apart from one aberration when he allowed Ayking to walk off him and equalise - Pogba was terrific. His pass to Greenwood won’t be bettered this season. Just one other small issue - which might develop - if Varane wants to wear No 4 shirt, which we’re told he does, then he should be given the jersey. Solskjaer should’ve told Phil Jones ‘have you pick of any number over 30 Phil. You’re not in my plans. You won’t play. I want that number back’. Solskjaer was weak - and it’s that I’m referring to when I say it might develop. He’s got to be more ruthless.

I loved watching Chelsea. That 3-0 in no way reflects how they destroyed Palace. They were awesome. Look at the talent they had on the bench - and they’ve got the big man to involve yet. It’s a bit too early to be crowing - but both teams more than justified what I said about winning the title in last week’s blog.

Liverpool were good as well. That was a banana skin - Norwich - in front of a packed house - first game back. Liverpool coped really well. Welcome back Van Dijk.

I’m going to leave City for a while. We’ll get round to them.

The Hammers more than suggested that David Moyes is right - that they can challenge for a CL place. They’ve got to land one to have a better season than the last. I hope they do. Moyes is a good man. An honest man. A football man. He’s been badly bullied and beaten up for too long now.

I don’t know what the Geordies will make of the game. I thought they were great for an hour. They entertained. They were bright. And they deserved something. Overall, I think the signs are good now that Bruce has got his main men available again.

Nothing has changed at Leicester. Vardy is still the top man - despite Rodgers correctly pointing out that the clock is ticking for him now.

Villa struggled a bit at Watford, but I’m sure they’ll get it right. Well done to The Hornets. They surprised me.

If Everton hadn’t beaten Southampton there would’ve been trouble. It was a ‘gimme’ on paper - a perfect one to start with for Benitez. Like Palace and Wolves - Saints were poor. Nothing I saw this weekend changed my mind about them all needing to be careful.

Brighton were brilliant second half at Burnley. Sean Dyche will be kicking his players because he knows the game should’ve been put to bed first half.

That’s everybody then - except Spurs and City. I was so pleased for Daniel Levy and Nuno. The latter looked as though he’d been boss there forever. It’s a really good fit. His players seemed to enjoy themselves - but Delli remains way off. He’s nowhere near the player he once was.

As for City? I expected it. Too clever again. My goodness - the first half was the worst of the weekend. Pass, pass, pass - sideways, backwards and out. I said after the Euros how I hoped that the high water mark of tippy tappyness had been reached. It seems it has for everyone - except City. Guardiola is in danger of being left behind by the ‘sweeping’ approach of the rest. City were slow. Sluggish. Predictable. And how they need a centre-forward.

We all know now that they want Kane. They need Kane more than they needed Grealish - so go and buy him. Stop trying to be smart. You‘ve unsettled the guy. You’ve told him you’ll buy him - so do it. Stop the games. You can’t leave him hanging any longer. What’s the difference between £120m and £150 for City? Guardiola has already spent £1.4b in his failed attempts to win the CL - so just get the deal done.

I didn’t expect anymore than we saw from Grealish. He’s a good player - let’s get that straight - but he’s going to have to re-learn many aspects of the game to play for City. He will slow them down when they start to get right - which they will. He’s got to get his head up and move the ball more quickly. And please Jack - stop falling over. There are no prizes for topping the ‘most fouled’ charts. Half the time he hasn’t been fouled - but over he goes anyway. The picture of him on the front of The Mail’s pullout today (Monday) sums him up - on the floor and squealing. The best way for him to ‘hurt’ the opposition is to stay on his feet and do what he’s more than capable of - create and score.

One last subject. And perhaps I’m missing something here. How on earth have the likes of Chris Foy, Peter Walton and co, got the temerity to congratulate themselves about the ‘softer touch’ of VAR? All you’ve done guys is what you’ve been told to do and what I’ve been saying you should do for two years. We don’t want every goal to be a crime scene. We don’t want your pedantic and idiotic pursuit of ‘perfection’. That’s an impossible dream. If VAR is needed - and it was to prove West Ham had scored at Newcastle - fine. Make your decision swiftly and then we can get on with the game.

For the PGMOL to be congratulating themselves because they allowed Fernandes’ third - saying ‘that would’ve been ruled offside last season’ is beyond ridiculous. We know. We told you last season to pipe down and allow us to enjoy our game without getting so busy. You’ve HAD to listen. You haven’t made changes because you wanted to. You’ve been TOLD to. Mike Riley should still stand aside. He made our game a misery for two years - and now he wants credit? Sorry Mike. No.

But it was a good weekend for the the guys on the pitch. I’ll bet they really enjoyed being back in control of their games. The ref should always make the big calls and know that they’ll get re-assuring support - not performance points docked because teacher Mike isn’t happy. Keep it up boys. And keep out of it VAR.