As you were...

Published: Monday, 13 August 2018

It’s back! The opening weekend gave us plenty to talk about, ranging from an early farce from the refereeing dept and many of the things from teams that we expected to see. As you were then!

Liverpool looked terrific, but they were helped enormously by an inept West Ham. My goodness, if the Hammers play like that all season they’ll get themselves into real trouble. They were far too easy to play against. I’m sure they’ll win matches at home, but playing like that - wide open and with two players in the middle of the park that can’t run, they’ll get beaten most weekends. Pellegrini needs a re-think - and fast. 

They set up perfectly for a Liverpool team that looked sharp and crisp in everything they did. James Milner, who probably won’t start when everybody is fit, epitomised their hunger. Twenty-two of Liverpool’s last 34 wins have now come with at least a 3-goal margin. That’s impressive.

I’m on Liverpool for the title as you know. Klopp has spent well for more than a year now. He’s the manager that got everything he wanted this summer but the added plus is Daniel Sturridge. If he really wants to play football again, rather than sit in the bath or the treatment room, Liverpool have got a real bonus ball. There’s no doubting Sturridge’s ability. Rightly, there have been plenty of questions about his application. If he’s got his head straight - he’ll be a fearsome addition to the Red challenge.

 City cruised at Arsenal, who didn't lay a glove on them. The Gunners were awful. The only time they looked a threat was late in when it appeared as though City were bored with it all. A couple of unforced errors gave Arsenal a sniff of a half chance or two - but that was it. It was sad to see The Emirates half empty at the end. If Emery doesn’t make some changes fast he might be one of the fast changes.

United? Predictable. Predictable in everything they did. Please Jose, give us all something to smile about. Smile yourself. Lighten up. It’s just hard work watching United these days.

Spurs looked good. And I thought Newcastle did too. They’ll win more than they lose playing like that. And I’m pleased Benitez took my advice. ‘I’m a pro’, he said when asked about alleged transfer failings this last week. ‘I’ve nothing to say’. Exactly. He got seven in. I’m sure, like every manager, he wanted more, but why resort to all the de-stabilising whining? Incidentally, the vile abuse you Geordies poured my way last week has led to one or two Police investigations. I’m fairly certain charges will follow. I’m always happy to exchange views - but let’s try and keep it out of the playground shall we? You do yourselves and your wonderful club a dis-service.

It doesn’t surprise me to hear rumours of change at Leicester already. The dressing room at ‘Chelsea light’ appears to have made its mind up on the current manager. From what I’m hearing and reading I’d say he’s favourite to go during the first international break.

And so to the farce surrounding Phil Jagielka’s red card. In the beINSPORTS studio our half time conversation was dominated by whether the challenge could be considered ‘serious foul play’. I actually believed it could under modern day interpretations. Andy was having none of that. We dismissed the argument the he could’ve gone for ‘denial’ of a goalscoring opportunity. Jagielka got enough of the ball for it to roll away from goal.

Towards the end of the second half I got a message from a very good source telling me that Craig Pawson had told a member of the Everton staff he sent the skipper off for ‘denial’. What? That meant I needed to check with other sources - and double quick.

I couldn’t have been exchanging messages with people closer to the incident. They asked their own questions. Within the hour - and we were off-air by now, I was getting information that Jagielka had gone for TWO offences! They were 1. A denial. 2. Serious foul play. It was stated that the 2nd - the more serious of the two offences would be dealt with - therefore it was an automatic three match ban. You couldn’t make it up - but it got worse.

Somebody had realised that if The reason given was ‘denial’ - there was an appeal in that. Plainly it wasn’t a ‘denial’.

And then I got a final message, which included a copy of a tweet by Kyle Martino, an NBC journalist. He’d been making his own enquiries and this is what he tweeted.

I’ve got my own views about what happened. You work it out for yourselves!

As for the football - Everton looked good. There was a nice pace about them and it was evident Marco Silva had been working hard on his plans. Wolves did well too - but those jersey’s? Come on - that’s not old gold. Wolves looked more like Norwich. Shame.

But all in all it was a good weekend - and it was wonderful to watch the ebb and flow of a game of football not interrupted by VAR.