I’ve not seen as much football as I would have liked this week as I’ve been trekking around Scotland on a family holiday that on the plus side saw me pass Easter Road, Tynecastle and the former home of Meadowbank Thistle in Edinburgh. Work out which team plays in Perth and drive by the homes of Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Brora Rangers & Wick Academy in the highlands.
But whilst camping in the middle of nowhere I’ve been keeping a close eye on what’s been going on as Manchester United continue to entertain in the Premier League with their second successive 4-0 win. One friend stated “they may as well pack up the league trophy now, unless Huddersfield can do something about it”.
In truth the Premier League didn’t really teach us much last weekend. Stoke always beat Arsenal who incidentally are still crap. Wenger out anyone? Tottenham don’t like Wembley, still… Chelsea aren’t really that bad, Manchester City aren’t really that good, and Wayne Rooney is not yet finished. Well not for Everton at least.
The Championship is perhaps more interesting right now with Neil Warnock’s Cardiff winning their fourth and toughest match of the season at Wolverhampton Wanderers. Can the old boy lead another side to promotion? It will be his best feat yet if he does.
In France Neymar scored again, and again, as PSG hit six and pretty much wrapped up the league title. In Spain Barcelona and Real Madrid got off to winning starts whilst in Germany Borussia Dortmund & Bayern Munich did the same.
Serie A is a league that fascinates me this year with Vincenzo Montella’s AC Milan better equipped than they have been in many years to stop the dominance of Juventus. Milan have signed Nikola Kalinic, Leo Bonnuci and Andre Silva with Lucas Biglia, Ricardo Rodriguez, Mateo Musacchio, Hakan Calhanoglou and Andrea Conti all coming in for big money. Add to that their young stars of Locatelli, Suso, Donnarumma & Calabria and the experience of Ibate, Bonaventura and Montolivo and you have a blend of quality equipped to challenge. Milan opened up their campaign with a comfortable 3-0 win against Crotone midst a couple of easy Europa League matches.
Juventus also won 3-0 but Napoli will be no doubt be hot on their heels also winning their first match in between coming through a tough Champions League tie against Nice to progress. With Arkadiusz Milik back in the goals after long term injury they’ll certainly be in the hunt for a first Scudetto since the days of Maradona.
The Champions League, Napoli and all took centre stage this week as the draw for the group stages were made, Tottenham drawn against Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund will have it tough as will Celtic who have Bayern & PSG in their group.
In transfer news Zlatan is back at United, although he probably actually never left. Davinson Sanchez is a snip of a deal for me as he signs for Tottenham from Ajax whilst Blaise Matuidi signs for Juventus from Paris St Germain in another good bit of business.
Finally As Wayne Rooney retires from international football, a real legend in the game. England Manager Gareth Southgate named his squad to face Malta & Slovakia with three untried players, Everton’s Jordan Pickford, Nathanial Cholobah of Watford and Harry Maguire who capped off an amazing week scoring on Saturday, playing against his old club on Tuesday and making the national team on Thursday. Well done Harry.
Oh and by the way, that team who play in Perth? St Johnstone of course.
Star of the week: Harry Maguire (if Carlsberg did weeks then they certainly did Harry’s as his new club Leicester City enjoyed back to back victories, a goal against Brighton, standing ovation against Sheffield United and a first call up to the England squad isn’t bad going).