Weekend Highlights: A nod & a shove
Sometimes it’s hard to be a football writer. You give all your love to one sport, devote your life to studying the technical aspects and laws, try to understand formations so you can apply meaning and purpose to what many regard as twenty-two millionaires running around a bit of grass and, having watched as many games as possible in a 48 hour period, try to summarise in a contextual, enjoyable manner.
Then Garth Crooks comes along and hijacks the whole thing by nodding.
Why fight it?
Among those jostling (pointlessly, as it turned out) for the lead in the Football Ramble weekend highlights was Olivier Giroud, who came off the bench to score two in five minutes and crush the tender shoots of hope offered to David Moyes by Jermain Defoe’s penalty. It’s hard not to feel some compassion for the former Everton man as the shadow of Big Sam looms ever larger across Sunderland, especially when Arsenal remain the top four side most likely to commit to an inexplicable collapse at any given moment.
The #WengerOut banners remain stuffed in the airing cupboard for now, but Moyes, whose team now have the dubious honour of making the worst start to a Premier League season ever, faces more ignominy as fans continue to point out that they were doing much better under Allardyce and the FA this weekend revealing they would have no objection to the vaguely disgraced former England manager taking a job, after he turned down an offer from Wolves.
The only available comfort for Moyes right now (aside from slipping back into the Tracksuit of Woe) is that Jose Mourinho’s points tally is less than his was at ten games in charge after the Reds were held 0–0 at home by Burnley.
Mourinho’s managerial arc being what it is, the Kurtz-esque lunacy is familiar, even if it’s come a little early. It usually takes at least a season and a half for Mou to go feral and stink the place out like a skunk trapped in a chimney, but having been sent to the stands by Mark Clattenburg, he was then shifted to the director’s box, where he had a better view of his side’s 37 unsuccessful shots.
If the escalation continues at this rate, we should be able to wheel out the Travel Tavern gags by Christmas.
In other acts of inexplicable petulance, Neymar pushed Granada’s Vezo down some steps after Barcelona’s 1–0 home victory, Mario Balotelli’s revenge on English football continued as he scored his sixth goal in five Ligue 1 games for Nice and FC Tubize goalkeeper Quentin Beunardeau (a grown man) threw a ball in a ball boy’s (a child’s) face.
None of which were anywhere near the level of trying to poke a man’s eye out on the touchline or hiding in a laundry basket, but y’know. There’s still time.
And finally, since we started with beloved pundits stealing the show, it would be wrong not to bask in the glory of another. Over to Jamie Redknapp now, for his Super Sunday assessment of Victor Moses.
And to think, I literally spend time thinking about what to write here. Quite clearly, I should have taken the frontal lobotomy when it was offered.