Wednesday 24 January 2018

City have real pep in their step after win

Weird Wide World of Sport

Dave Devereux

Pep Guardiola won another battle against his old foe Jose Mourinho
Pep Guardiola won another battle against his old foe Jose Mourinho

The highlight of the sporting weekend for many was the meeting of the mega mind and the enormous ego, as old adversaries Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho renewed acquaintances in the Manchester derby.

Duties on the sideline dictated that I didn't watch the action live as it beamed into sitting rooms in the four corners of the globe, so I had to make do with the not so holy trinity of Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer and Ian Wright as I digested the afternoon's action on Match of the Day later that evening.

And later it sure was. The eyelids were pretty heavy before I saw a ball kicked in anger, with the Last Night of the Proms running over time by 15 minutes. It certainly wasn't music to my ears.

I'm not one of those dedicated guys who spends the whole day avoiding scorelines so they can enjoy an almost live experience later on, so I knew that Pep toppled Jose in the battle of the giants, but I left the fine details until later, so there would be some element of surprise when I tuned in.

However, I was pretty sure that Manchester City would be more impressive on the ball and I was 100 per cent certain that Mourinho would have something to complain about after the game. For once I was right on both counts.

Guardiola had every right to have a pep in his step as his side looked like title favourites and the Spaniard has already achieved a bigger miracle than Claudio Ranieri did by winning the Premier League with Leicester - he's made Raheen Sterling look like a half decent player.

It wasn't all roses and chocolates for the Manchester City boss though, as unlike the Proms that preceded Match of the Day, fans certainly couldn't have been shouting 'Bravo' at their goalkeeper as he exited the stage.

'Boo' or 'Hiss' might be a more appropriate name for the City netminder given his flaky performance.

Joe Hart is undeniably prone to the odd clanger, but if he had put in the kind of performance his replacement did, we'd have been hearing about it for weeks and he would have been ridiculed by all and sundry.

In the highlights package I counted four complete balls-ups by the Chilean, he gifted a goal to Zlatan and should have had a penalty given against him for a rash challenge, so Hart must have been sniggering manically into his goalkeeper gloves from afar.

Of course old moaning Mourinho predictably returned to our television screens when tasting defeat for the first time in his new job, but in fairness he did have a point that a penalty should have awarded for Bravo's lunge.

However, the controversy only masks the fact that United were second best and on Saturday's evidence will struggle to win back the Premier League crown.

I managed to stay tuned into Gary and the boys after the Manchester derby highlights ended and having not watched a whole pile of football this season it came as a real surprise to me that Dustin Hoffman had been given the Watford manager's job, and if it goes pear-shaped for Walter Mazzarri he could always star in a remake of 'Tootsie'.

There was plenty to admire in the West Ham versus Watford game, in particular Dimitri Payet's sublime cross for the Hammers' second goal, the sort of trickery that, if I attempted it, would put me in hospital for a month.

Troy Deeney also chipped in with a classy finish, and Adam Lallana's net-buster in the Liverpool-Leicester match that followed was also worth waiting up for.

It was good to see that Jurgen Klopp hasn't mellowed and is every bit as mad as the last time I saw him being interviewed, pleading with the fans not to sing his name until the game is wrapped up.

And then it was 'go on my Son' as the South Korean put in a star turn for Spurs. It was more of a case of 'get off my son' for Stoke manager Mark Hughes though, as he was sent to the stands for his protestations.

Then it was on to Spurs' North London rivals Arsenal as they clunked and clanged like an old jalopy to a 2-1 win over Southampton.

Koscielny might have shown acrobatic skills not normally associated with a centre-half to score their opener but their winner had more than an element of luck about it. Christmas came extremely early for Arsenal when they were awarded a penalty after Giroud took a tumble, and who better than Santi to step up to accept the gift-wrapped three points.

The eyelids were like lead at that stage but I did have just enough energy to see Christian Benteke show that he still knows where the goal is as he scored for Crystal Palace.

Unfortunately I dozed off before catching the highlights of Bournemouth versus West Brom and Burnley and Hull.

Those bloody Proms have a lot to answer for.

Wexford People

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