We’re just going to get right to it. Tuesday and Wednesday didn’t bring a whole lot of shock. But, there was just enough drama within the top six to keep folks talking. So let’s discuss, shall we?
Look, Tottenham fans. I want you to know that it’s okay to believe there’s still a shot at the title. I understand that had John Stones not missed that sitter on Wednesday, the gap would only be five. But don’t gear up for a title run. Remember last season? Just hope Spurs don’t replicate the end of last season. Champions League is the goal. Maybe finishing above Arsenal is the goal, too. I don’t know and won’t pretend to know. But…
- You’re five points up on Liverpool with a game in hand. Focus on that.
- You’re seven points up on Manchester City. Focus on that.
- You’re 11 points up on Arsenal (they have a game in hand). Focus on that.
Now, who’s going to be our Premier League Manager of the Year? One of the more obvious choices would probably be Antonio Conte, but here’s the thing: Chelsea just won the title in 2014-15. The Blues had the talent last year, it’s just that José Mourinho lost his touch. And while there’s something to be said for the tremendous job Conte has done—and it has been tremendous—it’s tough for me to say, ‘Yeah, the manager with all of the talent and money one could possibly ask for should definitely get that award.’ Then again…
- Pep Guardiola sure as hell ain’t winning it, and look at the squad he has. And we won’t even get into the money situation. But…
- Craig Shakespeare probably gets a shout, right? Taking Leicester from relegation to mid-table with five consecutive wins since taking over is no small feat.
- Hull’s Marco Silva may get some of that attention if they survive the drop.
- Paul Clement has Swans playing better, but they’re not out of the woods yet. And Wednesday was a nasty kick in the teeth.
- Alec Baldwin—I mean Walter Mazzarri—for Watford? They’re 10th in the table! Watford!
- Until Jürgen Klopp learns how to coach defense (or purchase better defenders), he’s out of the running. That attack will only get you so far. Especially when legs begin to tire. Take note from Chelsea and Tottenham, guy.
I don’t want to hear it about Manchester United anymore. I don’t. If I hear about how unlucky they’ve been all season, I’ll figuratively lose my mind. Because for all of the chances they’ve created, for all of the whining…
- They’ve scored just 43 goals. That’s less than Bournemouth and only two more than West Ham, who are in 13th and 15th, respectively. Nobody in the top five has less than 57. Zlatan has scored 16 of them (or 37 percent).
- Of their 16 home matches, they’ve won just six and drawn nine others. Just finish one chance here or there; is it that hard? Well…
- Also, why is there all this fuss about Luke Shaw possibly going to Tottenham? What makes this current United club believe they can just get Danny Rose? Shaw needs to go somewhere so that he can prove he can stay healthy first. As it stands, Shaw for Rose would be a massive downgrade for Spurs. Stop it.
- How many attacking players do you need? Maybe it’s time to focus on defense, Mourinho. Like City, United have all this money. Like City, the summer spending spree hasn’t helped all that much. Maybe this is just who United are for another season or two.
Finally, we come to the relegation discussion. Well, kind of. There’s not going to be much of one…
- We told you early on, Sunderland, that this was the year. We’re not sorry. It had to happen at some point. I hope you understand. Build yourselves up in the Championship, then come roaring back.
- What in the hell happened to you, Middlesbrough? Your defense can be as frustrating as all get out (in a good way), but where are the goals?
- Hull or Swansea City—who’s going down? I’m going to say… Hull.