Ole Gunnar Solksjaer may well experience first-hand tonight the gulf in class that currently exists between his Manchester United side and their treble-chasing neighbours but, regardless of the result, the club’s new manager is already searingly honest in his appraisal of their standing in the English game.
The 24th change in top place in the Premier League did not come without the predictable healthy dose of nerve-shredding drama as Mohamed Salah’s 90th minute header forced Toby Alderweireld to turn the ball into his own goal, gifting Liverpool a sorely-needed victory.
Mauricio Pochettino maintains Tottenham’s priorities lie elsewhere but after suffering a second cup exit in four days, and weighed down by injuries to key players, the manager must confront mounting concerns the north London club’s season is in danger of unravelling.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s magical reign as Manchester United boss survived its biggest test to date at St James’ Park last night, his second- half substitute Romelu Lukaku scoring with his first touch of the game and helping to write his interim manager into the record books.
For once, in his post-match comments on Saturday, José didn’t dissemble, and he spoke for what was in all our hearts. We all knew we’d robbed the Cherries blind - but we felt it was the cosmic karmic balancing for our own last-gasp mugging at Stamford Bridge two weeks back. Somewhere in the back of mind chirped the old cliché “these things even out over a season”.
Tottenham’s unfortunate habit of shooting themselves in the foot looks like costing them a place in the knockout phase of the Champions League, after Mauricio Pochettino’s men threw away a lead and all three points from a commanding position for the second European away game in succession.
Antonio Conte left Wembley with another piece of silverware and the love of the Chelsea faithful ringing in his ears on Saturday, the self-proclaimed “serial winner” who wore the look of a man who knows he is about to move on.
Pep Guardiola has clearly won his private, and long-standing, feud with Jose Mourinho for this season at least but, to listen to beaten manager Carlos Carvalhal on Saturday, the all-conquering Catalan should make the most of his current dominance.
Harry Kane headed a late winner and Dele Alli found himself at the centre of another diving controversy. There was a distinct sense it was business as usual for Tottenham Hotspur at Selhurst Park as Mauricio Pochettino’s side moved into the top four.