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For me the sign of a good manager is being able to totally hoodwink your players into delivering a fine performance and, by this token, Claudio Ranieri is a very good manager.
All hail Ranieri
Ranieri told all the players to listen to the Champions League anthem on the way into work on Saturday morning, told them they were playing Basel and even got them believing it was a Wednesday night.
The net result? Leicester beat Palace 3-1. Genius.
I’d also like to tip my hat to the documentary curse of Pardew doing a piece with the BBC and having his praises sung during the week before getting put back in his place by a manager who really knows how to manage a club below the elite.
Talking of managing clubs below the elite, Sean Dyche is clearly planning to take over the Premier League one city at a time. Both Liverpool and Everton have been to Turf Moor and left pointless this season and Burnley even managed to pull this one off without their main man Steven Defour.
“Ginger Mourinho” is a tag that Dyche is trying to shake off, mainly because nobody wants to be thought to be like Mourinho these days, but he could well become the next Englishman to be considered way too unfashionable to manage the national side.
But in these days of equal opportunities, who knows?
Saved by the Cech
Arsene Wenger signed Petr Cech in the hope he would single-handedly win the points that eventually lead Arsenal to the title. A good goalkeeper can be worth up to 72 points a season to a club like Arsenal after all.
However, I feel it unlikely that Arsene was expecting it to be matches at home to Middlesbrough where his goalkeeper would earn them a valuable point. Cech was superb against a Boro side who ran past Arsenal like a doped up sprinter in the first half.
Arsenal moved into top spot on their manager’s birthday.
Joint Top of the League
Liverpool climbed their way to the top of the pile on Saturday night, but then lost their footing and fell back down.
Liverpool fans tweeting “Top of the League” were quickly forced to adjust that to “Joint Top of the League” as Klopp’s men were superb for 80 minutes against WBA.
But, if you cannot defend corners there is every chance that West Brom will score against you and McCleary’s goal sufficiently dented Liverpool’s goal difference to see them end the night in second place.
Spurs could have made all of this irrelevant had they scored a fraction as many goals as they picked up yellow cards in the 0-0 draw with Bournemouth.
Where Liverpool and United served up a 0-0 of the dullest variety a week ago, the clash at Dean Court was full of entertainment and, somewhat blatantly, elbows.
Eddie Howe would well within his rights to believe the Cherries should have been seeing out the game against 9 Spurs players after Lamela and Sissoko managed to get away with various crimes.
Maybe Spurs are indeed more able with Kane?
Back in the day, Harry Bassett used to have his Sheffield United team have their Christmas party in August as they never got going until the New Year.
Maybe Mark Hughes needs to explore similar possibilities as yet again Stoke have waited until late October to kick off their season.
If there is a manager regretting their decision to officially take a job more than Mike Phelan right now, I would love to see him.
Stoke returned from Humberside two goals to the good and faux-Barcelona’d their way out of the relegation zone.
Payet, the savior. Again.
I hate it when a Saturday round of fixtures passes without being able to point at someone and absolutely die of laughter. Thankfully in the 94th minute Sunderland gave me my moment.
Is there a more hapless club in the first part of any football league season? Even they must have thought they could go to the London Stadium and make West Ham hate their new home even more?
But no, deep deep deep into injury time Winston Reid thumped home the kind of goal that Payet would have been proud of to make the chatter around Sam Allardyce become a full on chant.
PS: I’ll be back on Tuesday with the rest of the weekend’s games – in the meantime head over to www.talesfromthetopflight.com to follow the daily column.
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