There can be few doubts that Mikel Arteta is a good fit for Arsenal, despite his appointment representing something of a calculated gamble. The North Londoners have famously gambled before on the management front and come up trumps. There is, therefore, no need to get more than medium-sized jitters about the arrival of a man whose profile fits the bill on many levels.
In a title race which has been billed as the heavy metal football of Liverpool against the melodious harmonies of Manchester City, Pep Guardiola’s side proved they can crank up the amps when they really need to - and the Etihad maestros must surely now be favourites to be crowned champions.
And then there was one. Well, two actually, but the World Cup third-place play-off is definitely one of those nominally competitive fixtures which presents a fairly robust challenge to my old friend Declan Lynch’s wise maxim that there’s never a good reason not to watch a football match.
With a century of goals and a host of records set to tumble before the curtain falls on their title-winning campaign, Manchester City’s season continues to set new standards, which manager Pep Guardiola believes will mark them out as the best team in Premier League history.
It might be hard to imagine Graeme Souness, the Roy Keane of his era, taking to the pitch for even a routine assignment with anything other than his most ferocious battle face on but, as he revealed in his Sunday newspaper column at the weekend, he and his Liverpool team mates were “larking around like 12-year-olds” in the tunnel before they walked out to play Roma in the latter’s own backyard in the 1984 European Cup final.
There had been severe doubts in many quarters about City’s ability to stage an apt Premier League coronation after the gross mishap in midweek when they had shot their Champions League feet off with the ceremonial cannons.