Lightning strikes twice for City
For the second week in a row, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side were victims of VAR. At 2-2 and with a minute of injury time left to play, Gabriel Jesus scored what he thought was the winner against Tottenham Hotspur. The celebrations mirrored those when Raheem Sterling scored at a similar time against the same opponents in last season’s Champions League, and the outcome was the same.
After a delay of a minute or so, referee Michael Oliver disallowed a goal due to a handball in the build up. It was a soft decision, but thanks to the rule changes, the correct one. With 30 shots in the game compared to Spurs’ three, the hosts would’ve been good value for the win, but it wasn’t to be.
Sterling had set them on their way, but the opener was cancelled out just three minutes later by Erik Lamela. Sergio Aguero restored the lead before half time, but Lucas Moura, with his first touch on 56, completed the scoring.
Pukki leaves Newcastle feeling queasy
Newcastle’s 93rd-minute consolation was all they had to show for their trip to Carrow Road, Jonjo Shelvey getting on the score sheet for the Magpies. By that point, the visitors were already 3-0 down thanks to a wonderful hat-trick from Teemu Pukki.
His sensational volley opened his account just after the half-hour, and he added a second on 63. Nine minutes later and his first Premier League treble was complete, even earning the plaudits from visiting manager, Steve Bruce.
Just two games into the new campaign and Bruce is already under pressure, being one of the teams that have lost both of their opening matches. A long, hard season awaits.
Liverpool pass the test to round off a perfect week
Extra-time and penalties in the UEFA Super Cup in Istanbul during the week wasn’t the best preparation for Liverpool before the long journey to Southampton. However, it’s to Jurgen Klopp’s credit that he managed to drag his players through a testing 90 minutes down on the south coast, and see them emerge with another three points which sees them sitting proudly at the top of the table.
As so often happens, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino got themselves a goal, and although Danny Ings’ 83rd-minute riposte gave Liverpool a tense last few minutes, the Reds deserved the victory. For all of Klopp’s bonhomie and charisma for the TV cameras, he remains just as much a taskmaster as Guardiola and Pochettino et al.
He didn’t give his players a moments peace, repeatedly ranting, cajoling and encouraging from the sidelines. Little wonder that his staff will run through brick walls for him to get the job done. A perfect week was the reward for all of the hard work put in, and it’s already beginning to look ominous for the other sides in the division.
Is Roy Hodgson too old for the big time?
To label someone as too old to do their job is, admittedly, a little cruel, but Roy Hodgson’s entire demeanour during Crystal Palace’s loss at Sheffield United spoke of a manager from another era. A manager who, whilst almost universally respected, belongs to a different generation.
His tactics were wrong, his style laboured. His players looked disinterested half the time, and yet the 72-year-old wasn’t able to address his problems to a sufficient enough extent as to avoid defeat. Sometimes it’s the hardest thing to admit that it’s time to bow out gracefully, but Hodgson runs the risk of sullying his reputation if he becomes like the boxer who just has to go one more round.
As decent and upstanding a gentleman as he is, the time has come for him to step aside. If Crystal Palace want to enjoy, rather than endure another Premier League campaign, then a tough decision has to be made.
Lampard must be given time
No sooner had Chelsea drawn 1-1 with Leicester at Stamford Bridge, than social media was awash with tweets and messages that Frank Lampard had to be replaced. It would be shocking if it wasn’t so predictable.
Against a backdrop of no new signings and an injury list that is of relevance to the conversation, Lampard has overseen a bid loss at Old Trafford but then taken his young team to within one penalty kick of winning the UEFA Super Cup, and a creditable draw. There’s every reason to expect that, given time, he can build a great team at Chelsea, and one that has a core of young, English players.
Lampard proved his credentials beyond doubt at Derby County, but must be afforded the same courtesy in west London. Immediate, knee-jerk reactions help no-one, least of all the players themselves.
The time to judge the manager is 12-18 months after his appointment, not three games in! There was enough in Chelsea’s performance to get excited about, and that’s all that should be occupying everyone’s mind in the lead up to the next game.