The Monday TackleSeptember 12, 2016
After a little of a situation in a remote part of town cum Kenya Power Black niggle, I must tell you that Maitha is back with your favourite TDO segment. And if you look keenly between the lines you’ll notice his hangover from the horror show that was United’s first half display in the Manchester Derby.
- The power of the narrative
It was billed as the billion pound game. Good v Evil. Tiki taka v Park the Bus. Pep v Jose. Pep v Zlatan. It was all about the narrative. The narrative. Well, the narrative didn’t disappoint as Kevin de Bruyne, discarded by Jose Mourinho at Chelsea, glided across the Old Trafford turf like a ginger ballerina, probing, passing and bamboozling a static Manchester United midfield and defence, hitting the post at will like he was taking part in the crossbar challenge.
Well, we learned a few things: all the talk about Daley Blind’s intelligence and positional awareness was just that…talk. Pep Guardiola’s arrogance in bringing sweeper-keeping to this league where they eat keepers for breakfast should be found out against the likes of Tony Pulis (although to be fair, one John Hart also dropped a clanger on his Serie A debut for Torino yesterday). And who knew Pep could park the bus as well as his nemesis? For large periods in the second half I thought the team in blue was Jose’s, with Nicolas Otamendi doing his very best impression of Pepe. 4/4. 12 points. 2 points clear. On to the next one.
- Son can do it on a cold wet windy day at Stoke
Not so long ago, the litmus test for any footballer was to make it out of the Britannia alive. Yes, Lionel Messi has won 5 Ballons d’Or, bottled 2 Copa America finals and a World Cup final, but can he do it on a cold wet windy day at Stoke against Ryan Shawcross? On Saturday’s evidence, Son Heung Min is a shoo-in for the 2016 Ballon d’Or. 2 goals and an assist on a cold wet windy day at Stoke which is now Stokelona, playing tiki taka with Xherdan Shaqiri’s bewitching left foot and Bojan Krkic running between the lines. It’s a pity that they don’t do much defending nowadays, which is why Spurs just show up like they own the place.
- Return of the Costa
What to do with Diego Costa? The brooding, snarling, bearded villain who looks like he dropped out of shooting a Narcos scene and straight onto a football pitch. Diving, spitting, fouling, trash talking, missing chances, the customary yellow card and scoring two goals, just because. That defensive mix up between Gary Cahill and Thibaut Courtois will have Antonio Conte thinking out loud, not to mention Captain Leader Legend Racist on crutches, and we haven’t even reintroduced David Luiz yet. Good times these.
- Hammer away
I like Slaven Bilic. He’s a lawyer, rockstar, distinguished former player, brilliant coach, even better pundit (remember Euro 2016?) and sets out his teams to play the right way, which is to score loads of goals and have a lot of fun. Which is why we go oooh la la at Payet’s extravagant rabona assist (FPL should give him a bonus point for the sheer outrageousness of it all). For all his faults at West Ham, Big Sam could never let a two goal lead at home slip (though he kinda did once. At the Reebok, to Arsenal). Maybe Bilic should learn a thing or two from the one and only Allardici.
- The Champioooons
Oh Leicester, oh Leicester. Last time in this fixture, Jamie Vardy announced to the world that yes, I can do a Zidane-esque volley and if you chat shit, you will get banged. Anfield’s expanded capacity was the scene of the most one-sided capitulation of defending champions in recent memory. The red gegenpressing machine crackled into life and reminded the champions of England, deserved entrants into Pot 1 of the UEFA Champions League, of their true position in the footballing food chain. Last season was an aberration, no more.
- Five years ago…
Five years ago, I was a penniless freshman in university, now I’m just penniless. Five years ago, Baba was dead on favourite to become President, we all know how that went. Five years ago, Jack Wilshere was bossing Arsenal’s midfield against Xavi, Busquets and Iniesta. He was the Great White Hope of English football. Now, Jack Wilshere is a 60th minute substitute for…AFC Bournemouth. Five years. It can change a lot.