Morning. A very quick Sunday round-up for you.
It’s the time of the season where you start to play close attention to what other teams are doing and as we keep pace for a top four finish, other sides around you dropping points is always welcome. Man Utd taking 2 from 6 this week is obviously good for us. I didn’t watch their game against Southampton, but I saw some clips on Twitter and everyone knows short, out of context snippets are the right way to make judgements these days. It also saved me from having to look at Cristiano Ronaldo’s neck.
I saw Bruno Fernandes swing a punch at someone, miss, but not get cautioned or sent off. I saw Luke Shaw pulling the shirt off a man’s back. I mean, we can all laugh at the ITWGX Index©®, but seriously. Xhaka would be currently on his way to Devil’s Island at this point, sentenced to spend the rest of his natural life on a rotting pontoon with no chance of parole. Some years later, an esteemed online sports subscription website would produce a 4000 word long-read, interviewing one of his prison mates about the time Xhaka organised an impromptu game of football for the prisoners, using a ball created from rags, seaweed and octopus tentacles, and still managed to get himself sent off. A feat made even more remarkable by the fact there was no referee. Still, as we have seen, the rules of Premier League combat appear to be tailored individually for each club.
I’ve also seen clips this week of Harry Mustafi … sorry, Maguire. Holy moly. He runs like someone who was created in a lab by a mad scientist who knew he didn’t have all the working parts to make a real human, so had to use cartilage and sinews from a permanently drunk, three-toed Komodo dragon. The coordination is almost there, but not quite, and the strain of carrying around that enormous head proves too much at times. Long may he continue this rich vein of form.
So, having not played this weekend because Chelsea were somewhere doing some shit nobody cares about, we’re down to 6th place, but with two games in hand. It is a very decent position to be in at this point of the season, and it really does hammer home how important the win on Thursday night was. I know there’s still a lot of talk about the celebrations, but when you consider the fact it meant we opened up a 5 point lead on Wolves when defeat would have seen us go a point behind them, not to mention the other midweek results, I get it completely.
I’m still a bit baffled as to how it is that people who watch football and are purportedly football fans don’t understand it. Or claim not to, which I think is more likely. I just like the fact this group of players clearly get how vital it was to win that game, and that makes me more confident that the focus and preparation will be right for the next one, and the next one, and the one after that. We might not get all the results we want, but I don’t have any doubt about their commitment and desire, which is a nice place to be in my mind, at least.
Now, I’m going to make some breakfast, take dogs for a walk, and have a chilled out Sunday. I hope you can do the same, whether you have breakfast, or dogs.
Back tomorrow with more, and an Arsecast Extra.