Tales from the Top Flight

So, in the week where Macclesfield Town needed a £600k bail out, Tottenham Hotspur got a £600k a week Bale in.


Gareth Bale is returning to the Premier League as the football world wonders what Spurs have actually signed given nobody has really seen Bale play professional football for the last couple of years.


Mind you, we’re not likely to see him just yet either as his medical unveiled the fact that Bale has a minor knee injury – you may as well start as you mean to go on eh, Gareth?


Bale flew into London with left-back Sergio Reguillon who has also signed for Spurs in a £25m+ deal – Reguillon, an attacking full-back, would have done well to have had a quick chat with Luke Shaw before putting pen to paper. There won’t be many people in the world expecting Jose to have two full-backs that like to bomb on so give it two months before he has broken Reguillon’s soul and killed him pubically for defensive naivety.


Mourinho now has too many players, apparently – so many players, in fact, that Dele Alli can’t get in an 18-man squad. PSG and Inter reckon they can find space for him in theirs, so that’s a rumour that will rumble on until October 5th. It is thought that Real Madrid just about stopped laughing that Spurs had offered them Alli instead of a £20m loan fee just in time to sign off the Bale deal. Not to be deterred, Daniel Levy let PSG that they are welcome to him. Jose is believed to want to shred eight more players between now and the window shutting – which probably means someone could pick up a Ryan Sessegnon shaped bargain too.


Danny Ings won’t have helped Southampton’s cause to keep him out of Tottenham’s clutches by scoring twice but, given that he would cost a lot now, it is more likely Mourinho will end up with Troy Deeney, Bas Dost or, most likely, nobody else.


Liverpool got in and out of last week’s market quickly and efficiently signing Champions League winning Thiago for £27m and Wolves’ Diogo Jota for £41m.


It is this kind of speed and efficiency that reminds us that Ed Woodward still rules the roost at Manchester United – United started the week believing their solution to not getting Jadon Sancho was getting Gareth Bale. And moments after it became clear he was off to Spurs, United were being linked to Sami Khedira, Ivan Perisic and Douglas Costa. I, for one, didn’t realise Khedira was seeing out his career as a pacy, direct, skilled winger. Still, at least United’s week ended strongly – they certainly didn’t spend the weekend getting the runaround from a pacy, direct, skilled winger that they failed to get the best out of when he used to be their pacy, direct, skilled winger.


And Patrice, you know they never actually met, right?


Even Luke Shaw has gone on record begging Woodward to strengthen the squad, presumably not realising that could spell the end of his United career.


West Ham United really, really, really want/need Burnley’s James Tarkowski but you can understand why the central defender won’t be that keen – even if the powers that be at the Athletic Stadium will most likely quadruple his wages.


Arsenal need to raise more than the £20m they conned out of Aston Villa for Emi Martinez if they want to sign Houssam Aouar. If only someone would sign that problem child Guendozi. Or one of the 12 defenders they no longer need. Or, more likely, they need Barcelona to follow through on their threat to take Hector Bellerin home.


Leicester are on the verge of going Under – by bringing in the Roma inverted winger. Cengiz is Caglar’s best mate – so that’s nice. They also need to get Wesley Fofana sorted ASAP otherwise Wes Morgan might get wheeled out more than anyone really thinks is wise.


Wolves didn’t let the Jota money burn a hole in their pocket for very long – needing to maintain the Portuguese majority at the club, Jorge Mendes, sorry I mean Nuno, moved for Barcelona’s Nelson Semedo.


Finally, Chelsea are still working on the theory that anyone is going to be better than Kepa so the £22m deal for Edouard Mendy is likely to go through.



Tales from the Top Flight Part II


Well, that’s another quiet weekend of Premier League football over and done with. Move along, nothing of note to comment on here.


The thing you have to understand about Kepa is that he might be rubbish at using his hands but he is great with his feet, OK? Yeah, about that. How quickly can that Mendy guy be available?


Chelsea had already made life a little more difficult when Andreas Christensen opted for the classic rugby tackle when being outrun by Sadio Mane on the stroke of half-time. The ironic moment in the VAR reversal was that Christensen originally received a yellow as it was believed the onrushing Kepa meant it wasn’t a goalscoring opportunity – history clearly tells us that anything football related near the Spanish goalkeeper is a goalscoring opportunity.


Ten minutes into the second half and the game was done – Liverpool’s famed front three combining for Mane to head home minutes before Kepa assisted the Senegal international’s second.


At the other end, Alisson reminded everyone the difference an actual goalkeeper can make stopping Jorginho’s hop-skip-and-a-jump penalty. It might be the first time he has missed one in the Premier League but hands up if, as a neutral, you enjoyed that ridiculous run-up finally failing?


As King Kloppo alluded to ahead of the game, Chelsea might have spent all that new money but Liverpool have what really counts as true class: Old Mane.


Jose Mourinho mentioned during the week, and then before kick-off and then probably again at full-time, that he has too many players at Tottenham. Therefore, he’ll be relieved that Gareth Bale has turned up with a knee injury and that Dele Alli is clearly suddenly out of favour. That will make choosing eleven each week much easier.


Despite all these trials and tribulations, Tottenham put in the almost perfect modern-Mourinho performance on Sunday against Southampton. Granted, Southampton made it incredibly easy for them by setting up camp on the halfway line and just letting Son run in behind every single time – but still, a 5-2 win is a 5-2 win. Harry Kane joined an exclusive list of players including Dennis Bergkamp, Cesc Fabregas, Santi Cazorla and, er, Emmanuel Adebayor by setting up Son’s four goals. And, if Sonny had been able to stay onside more often, Spurs could have had eight.


Danny Ings didn’t do much to make Jose look elsewhere for his Kane backup, but the way Southampton were awarded their penalty was nothing other than weird. It’s great to see that the referees are now using their pitchside monitors, but when they look at something themselves and still make an idiotic decision surely questions have to be asked?


There was a lot to like about Crystal Palace at Old Trafford – namely their kit and Wilfried Zaha. For the first time in their long history, Palace have now won their first two top flight matches of a new season. They were helped just a teeny-weeny bit by another oddball handball penalty decision (also given after a referee has watched it on his pitchside monitor) and by David de Gea stealing at least an inch-and-a-half when saving Ayew’s initial spot-kick. I mean, after that penalty they didn’t deserve a second go.


The Palace social media account asked their fans to describe Zaha in one word post-match. Given that performance, and the fact the transfer window is still open, I’d say ‘available’ sums it up.


West Bromwich Albion need to do more than just score worldies if they want to stay up this season. Grady Diangana and Matheus Peireira each scored left-footed screamers of differing styles and went home empty-handed as Everton scored five of their own.


DLC, J-Rod and RichieRich are forming quite the front three at Goodison Park and Rodriguez oozed so much class that Kieron Gibbs clearly didn’t fancy chasing his shadow for the second half. It is yet unclear exactly what Slaven Bilic, a qualified lawyer, thought his case was when approaching the referee at half time, but he’ll have a couple of socially-distant games in the stands as a result of his on-pitch outburst.


Given the penalties already mentioned in today’s column, could someone explain to me how they were given and the one against Arsenal’s Gabriel wasn’t? Because they are making it up as they go along, you say? Makes sense. Not that it would have changed the outcome of the match, in all likelihood. Arsenal might have scored their winner late after West Ham chose the 85th minute as the moment to down defensive tools, but don’t let the final score tell you anything other than West Ham will be hoping that Fulham and WBA remain as Championship class as already demonstrated and that there’s at least one other incompetent team that appears as the season unfolds.


We can get an indication into how bad West Ham might be this season given the side that swept them aside last weekend, Newcastle, were stripped naked and spanked by visitors Brighton 3-0. Having spent the first 25 minutes watch a jet-heeled Lamptey run him ragged, most of us can understand why Alain Saint-Maxim ended up ‘injured’ and subbed off before half-time.


I’m not suggesting that the BBC get the leftovers when it comes to PREMIER LEAGUE FOOTBALL LIVE ON THE BBC, but I think we can all agree that Burnley vs Leicester wasn’t the most glamorous of offerings on paper. Yet, it perfectly maintained the ‘defending is not quite back in fashion yet’ mentality of the matches that went before it.


Chris Wood scored the most Chris Wood of Chris Wood goals, virtually throwing James Justin into the empty stands whilst simultaneously taking the ball on his chest and finishing – multitasking at it’s finest. Justin might have scored Leicester’s third, but the way Jimmy Dunne brushed him aside for Burnley’s second suggested Brendan might want to get him on a Ready Brek and spinach diet to get some strength in the kid.


Leeds United feel like a nailed on 3.5+ goals bet at the moment. Having lost 4-3 on the opening day against the champions, they treated us all to another seven-goal thriller by seeing off the defensively-hopeless Fulham. Helder Costa clearly watched Mo Salah last week and learned to stand still long enough for the ball to land at your feet and Patrick Bamford also caught the eye with a surprisingly clinical performance. It was refreshing to have two penalties awarded that needed no discussion as Koch cocked it up once again.


I am wondering if Bielsa knows the English for ‘it doesn’t have to be 4-3 every week, lads’.