Curtain comes down on another managerial tragedy
Before last weekend, Crystal Palace looked about as professional at the FA’s senior management.
Then again, a week ago people still assumed José Mourinho viewed Manchester United as a long-term project. Now he’s talking new contracts and flirting with Paris Saint-Germain.
Last weekend, Craig Shakespeare still had a job, but that was until his Leicester City team came up against thrill-a-minute WBA. Now, “Shakey” is counting his payoff and reading lame “final act” headlines.
So who’s next for a change of fortune? Your fantasy team maybe? Under-fire Ronald “let’s sign another midfielder” Koeman?
Maybe Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who until this week resembled a footballer still trying to find the correct M25 North turn-off, will slay old foe Spurs?
11am kick offs unless stated
West Ham United v Brighton & Hove Albion
The Hammers’ back-to-basics approach has paid off to a degree for Slaven Bilic. Andy Carroll was, in fact, called “basic” after his sending off against Burnley.
Carroll fuelled perceptions that his lift does go all the way to the top (he’s tall, to be fair) by probably costing his side two points.
It’s not pretty, but luckily his team-mates are showing more discipline.
Chelsea v Watford
Mmmmm ... interesting. Chelsea appear to be in the middle of a wobble. Defeat to Palace, almost a defeat to AS Roma — is Antonio Conte’s squad really not up to the task as the manager believes.
Watford are a place above them in fourth and are equipped to frustrate the champions.
Huddersfield Town v Manchester United
The Terriers have lost their early sheen and, as one punter worryingly pointed out, are looking a little leggy already. The prospect of facing the man-mountains of United will not fill them with glee.
Manchester City v Burnley
Burnley have made a terrific start but come up against, on form, arguably the best team in Europe. They certainly have the best player in the Premier League in Kevin de Bruyne.
If they break Burnley’s immense resolve, this could get messy.
Newcastle United v Crystal Palace
Croydon’s finest are a team reborn after a few weeks with Roy Hodgson and, crucially, the return of Wilfried Zaha.
Newcastle are another team seemingly on the up if Mike Ashley’s desire to sell goes ahead. Two sets of dangerously optimistic fans - what could possibly go wrong?
Stoke City v AFC Bournemouth
I, for one, thought Bournemouth would do okay this season, so it’s only right I stay with them despite eight games that suggests Eddie Howe’s needs to get a grip of things quickly to avoid panic setting in.Stoke shipped seven last weekend so this one is anybody’s.
v Leicester City
Couldn’t help a sly grin at Leicester players’ apparent shock at Shakespeare’s sacking. The same players who helped Claudio Ranieri get his P45.
Southampton v West Bromwich Albion
Wins are hard to come by for these sides but Saints, at least, appear to have relocated the goal. Always a relief for a football team.
St Mary’s may sometimes resemble all the excitement of a trip to Ikea, but I fancy them to get their fans going here.
Everton v Arsenal
Everton had seemingly recruited astutely in the summer but a beautiful piece of oak still needs moulding into a table, if you get my drift. Speaking of tables, Everton are down the bottom and will face an Arsenal side stung by the dramatic late defeat to Watford.
Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool
The marque game of the weekend and both teams come into the game on the back of interesting Champions League performances.
Spurs proved they could mix with the elite after a draw at the Bernabeu, while Liverpool, albeit against much poorer opposition, rediscovered their clinical side in front of goal with a 7-0 win.
Is it weird that Tottenham look more comfortable in Madrid than at Wembley? I fancy the Reds to cause some trouble.