Weekend Round-up: Four things we still don't know (and one we do)
We're humble here at Foul Throw, so rather than storming in with a sunming up of all the things we learned over the weekend (these aren't hard to find if you want them), we're gonna quickly round-up all the things we still don't know. And one thing we learned.
Four things we still don’t know…
Who’ll still have jobs at United in January
2-0 away at Burnley. An archetypal Mourinho move, following up a disastrous week where it seemed as if there was little to no chance he would keep his job beyond October- let alone Christmas - with a solid win which keeps him in the job at least one week more.
Adding to the confusion is that Mourinho’s ploy to align himself with the fans, and present Woodward as the enemy, seems to have worked. It started after last Monday’s defeat to Spurs when he stayed behind to applaud fans in the Stretford end, and continued with a trademark smirk, after yesterday’s win when he notched up the result as a ‘2-0 win for Woodward’ – implying Woodward needed the win more than he did, even if he can theoretically defend it as giving his boss the credit. Crucially, though it seemed to be partly vindicated mid-way through the game as United fans flew a banner, emblazoned ‘Ed Woodard a specialist in failure’ over the ground. Will either of them have a job in a month? We still don’t know…
Whether Jurgen Klopp actually believes anything he says
Jurgen Klopp last week: “Alisson is obviously a goalkeeper who can play football, which is good. He’s confident enough to do it. He didn’t do it for showing off, he did it to sort the situation. He has a nice level of confidence, so he uses that. I like the save from the header more than the chip, but the chip was the right thing to do in that situation.”
Jurgen Klopp this week: ‘That was a mistake, no goalkeeper in the world should dribble in that situation that’s how it is. But he did it. That’s all okay.”
Let’s face it, the difference was in the outcome, not in the situation. Klopp will say whatever he believes will get the best out of his players and maintain his nice-guy persona. Which is fine. That’s his job. But we shouldn’t completely fall for it.
How good Arsenal’s summer was
This one comes in two parts. Because there were players who came in in January, and also a manager. And after four weeks, we still don’t really know how good either will be in North London.
As far as the players are concerned, Lucas Torreira has only played 119 minutes over four Premier League games, meanwhile Bernd Leno hasn’t played a single second. As far as Torreira goes, his World Cup exertions have largely been seen as the reason for his exclusion - and he was impressive following his introduction against Cardiff, but Leno’s is harder to fathom. Cech is still playing despite having shown himself to be incapable of playing out from the back, which is what the new boss seems to want.
Which brings us to that man, Unai Emery. It’s been unconvincing to say the least so far. Emery has lost to two of Arsenal’s top six rivals and scraped past 16th and 20th in the league respectively, affording the former their first goals of the season. But, Wenger’s stranglehold on every aspect of the club was always going to take a while to unpick, and Emery’s past form suggests his side will play better in the first half of the season than the second. Did Arsenal have a good summer? We still don’t know…
Whether Benitez is the problem or the solution
For the third time in two weeks Newcastle came away with a nearly but not quite result. For two of those games - against the two most recent Premier League Champions – that can probably fairly be spun as a positive, although it obviously doesn’t actually get them any closer to survival/ 40 points/ Neverland. But against Championship Forest, that excuse just won’t wash, and without cold hard points on the board, Benitez’s argument that he is getting the best out of a poor squad hamstrung by a lack of investment gets weaker. They’ve had some tough games, and have only played four in total. So we don’t know yet. Looking at Newcastle’s fixtures (they play Arsenal, Crystal Palace, Leicester and Man United next) we might not know for a little while to come.
And one we do…
Liverpool’s front 3 will pick up each other’s slack
Salah missed an excellent chance against Leicester. That’s nothing new. He missed a lot of good chances last season. The difference? Last season he scored a lot of goals too. The worry among Liverpool fans, and the hope among their rivals, was that if Salah couldn’t score that many last season his supporting cast who had taken a backseat (at least in terms of scoring) wouldn’t be able to step up. With four goals in as many games Sadio Mané has spent the early weeks of the season crushing those hopes.