Down with the bunting, box up the tinsel. The league is over and we can all relax in the afterglow of our trophy gluttony. No late-campaign jitters, sleepless nights worrying about goal difference and whether our little star will shine brightest. It’s over and everyone knows it is.
Separated by a few feet in the Goodison Park directors’ box, and several decades of experience on their managerial CVs, Carlo Ancelotti and Mikel Arteta viewed a drab and dour stalemate which offered little insight into which appointment will ultimately prove the right approach from these two slumping giants of the English game.
Carlo Ancelotti and Mikel Arteta will not face each other on the touchline today when Everton meet Arsenal at Goodison. The incoming gaffers will wait in the wings, ‘running the rule’, no doubt gaining an insight into the size of their tasks.
It may not have been quite as dramatic or memorable as that Steven Gerrard goal almost 14 years ago to the day but, as Mohamed Salah clinched Liverpool’s place in the Champions League knockout stages, this important victory certainly carried echoes of that famous night.
The same week Stephen Rochford embarked on his first of three underwhelming Connacht championship campaigns with a visit to Ruislip, another manager familiar with some football grounds in London as well as working with top players for a support base craving silverware brought out a book called Quiet Leadership.
Lionel Messi scored twice as Barcelona beat Las Palmas 3-0 in a game played behind closed doors after the Spanish league refused Barca’s plea to postpone the game on the day of the highly-charged Catalonia referendum.
The opening weekend of the season may be too early to talk of a crisis, but the mood music around Stamford Bridge is not good and Saturday’s humiliation by Burnley was not out of character from a club that has appeared dysfunctional since before becoming champions last May.
Less than two years ago, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez shifted uncomfortably in his seat at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu as most of the 80,000 Blancos supporters around him chanted ‘Florentino Dimision’ (‘Florentino Resign’).
The ability of Chelsea as a football club to snatch ignominy from the jaws of victory can never be underestimated, although last night’s victory at the Hawthorns at least protects a memorable Premier League campaign with another title, their fifth of the Abramovich era, writes