Saturday, 15 August 2015

Dr Mo, and some Saturday-related Ramblings

I don't know about you, but I can't wait for the first Chelsea injury of tomorrow's match. The collective holding of the crowd's breath, the uncertainty of Dr Eva Carneiro's touchline stand-in, before Jose Mourinho himself dons the medic uniform and grabs the ol' magic spray. All of course to distract the wider attention from the 2-0 lead that Manchester City have at the time.

On to the things that actually matter - action! Southampton came massively unstuck against the Toffees of Everton whose performance was pure Werther's Original. I spoke to an Everton fan who said he was used to going to bars in Poole and seeing his beloved Blues get trounced on the south coast year after year. Well, he can go back in next time with bragging rights firmly in his back pocket! It was a really impressive display from Roberto Martinez's men, one at odds with a lot of the accusations of one-dimensional death-by-possession leveled at him last season (and last weekend...).

While one Saints swallow does not make a summer, the ability by his charges to actually construct speedy counter-attacking moves is extremely promising for Everton's seasonal prospects. In his post-match interview, Martinez admitted the need for flexibility in his play, and today resembled the best of the 2013-14 performances. Admittedly, it is when the defenses are packed that Everton have tended to struggle, and the next home game against supposedly middling opposition will be a truer test of progress, but today was a definite step forward. Romelu Lukaku had one of his Superman games, and Ross Barkley reminded us all why he was talked of as the next (sober) Gazza. His lack of consistency last season was alarming, but this opening fortnight will ideally act as a springboard for him, and the side.

Speaking of sobriety, Daryl Jannmat will have needed some Dutch courage before entering the dressing-room at half time to face Schteve McClaren. His senseless sending off was the biggest nail in a coffin that was truly made of nails for Newcastle today against Swansea. Jefferson Montero had a field day against the Toon defence, and another day it could have been four or five. One can only imagine the accusations if John Carver was still in charge, because for Jannmat to indulge in a spot of shirt-tugging in his situation was a bit silly to say the least.

Speaking of indiscipline, new boy Aleksandar Mitrovic is seemingly a throwback to the psychotic days of Duncan Ferguson. The Serb actually showed a couple of nifty touches in his short spell on the Liberty turf. Unfortunately, once more he showed a hotheaded streak that threatens to earn him a reputation. The referee showed him a yellow card for a bit of pushing and shoving - while awarding Newcastle a free-kick, apparently missing a rather nasty high lunge at his Swansea opponent. Had this been spotted, that yellow may well have been red.

Borussia Dortmund and Thomas Tuchel got the post-Klopp era off to the perfect start with an absolute annihilation of Borussia Monchengladbach. 4-0 did not do it justice, with the referee even taking pity on Lucien Favre's men by not even bothering with the stoppage time at the end of the 90. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was in the hottest of form, and the Premier League speculation will no doubt intensify as August reaches its conclusion.

If tomorrow is supposed to be Super Sunday, the Saturday was a more than adequate appetizer!

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