Shuffle served up The Killers’ Smile Like You Mean It on the way to the game. The line ‘Dreams ain’t what they used to be’ seemed apt. Spurs have gone for change, a break with all that has been created over five years that brought so much joy to so many. But no trophies. And it seems that is the only measure that matters. So we’d better get on with it.
Here’s a sign of how well Ole has got his feet under the table, and how quickly we’re getting used to the pleasure of having him — we’re already becoming blasé. The Reds I know were confidently expecting an entertaining game on Saturday, and also expecting to win.
And now for something totally unique: Manchester City v Liverpool. The earliest title decider ever seen. Well, not quite, of course. The pre-match heat, so intense and febrile, begot a match sizzling with fervour and movement, but when the mists cleared, we found that we’re all still gripped by the icy fingers of the first week of January.
I’d love to be able to blame our humiliating annihilation on the numbskull responsible for dressing us in a green kit, upon a grass pitch, but frankly that’s a feeble excuse. Saturday’s demolition served as a timely reminder of the enormity of the task facing Unai Emery.
May I be the first to wish you a happy new year, dear reader? Yes, that’s jumping the gun a tad; but being premature is very à la mode, it seems. Because Liverpool FC are the 2019 champions, or so we are told by most of the English media, so we may as well all go home.
Terrace Man Utd What? Two entertaining United games — in a row?! It must be Christmas, because it’s just what we wanted. In fact, Santa’s come a bit too early, unless he’s somehow planning to top it all on Sunday at Anfield. Now that really would constitute a Yuletide miracle.
Liverpool are in predictably unpredictable mode, making it harder to maintain a cerebral even keel. Things weren’t helped by a muted atmosphere which indicated how many (hardly any) wanted to be there at all.
With football’s powers that be seemingly intent on garroting their golden goose, with increasingly relentless, wall-to-wall live TV coverage, it's somewhat of a relief that unlike our disappointingly underwhelming midweek cup win, an Arsenal v Liverpool Premiership outing, under the floodlights, remains a sufficiently portentous encounter to set Gooner pulses racing and pack out the Emirates.
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”.
I’m almost out of cautionary tales now. The Gerard Houllier reference last week was given short shrift elsewhere. Eight goals in the week, seven by our ‘misfiring’ fab three, was all the ammunition anyone needed. I hate smug optimists… Their own hark-back, to last season, was borne out to be fair. Another opportune bit of target practice against weaklings was all Salah and Mane needed to get going again.