Do not underestimate how happy we are, and do not assume how long it may take for a season like 2018/19 to be repeated.
With 12 matches left, the title race promises to be absorbent. Which team finishes is likely to set a Premier League record for that position. Which team ends third is also likely to enter a record for that position. I give you permission to hover the ear of anyone claiming it any of the three teams will or may bottle everything; The pace is just too fast for it.
The battle for the top four will also be exciting, especially if Chelsea is making a head change to improve their chances. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's impact means that the Manchester United favorites finish fourth, unthinkable two months ago. Arsenal and Unai Emery are hardly unclear and Chelsea will surely improve from Sunday's misery. Two clubs will miss.
And then you have the humiliation battle. Although we believe that Huddersfield and Fulham have now gone, six clubs will be separated by three points with 12 matches to go. This is Russian roulette, with one of them receiving the devastating shot that may be the difference between brighter future and calamitous cases. Sit back and enjoy the tour.
The form player in the form of the Premier League team, who has been the biggest sub-executive of the crisis club. For all those who underestimate the difference man can make, here's your answer. He and Anthony Martial were our early winners this weekend.
Pogba's battles and subsequent renaissance during the Solskjaer can make some nut words "snowflakes" and "millennia" and encounter social media, but it lacks the point completely. This column will repeat the point until it is blue in the face, but employees will always work better when they feel trusted and appreciated. This is especially true for jobs where employees are dependent on instinct.
It is a part – the biggest part – of a manager's job of getting the employees to perform as well as possible. Manchester United's poor results were not the disease, just a symptom. The disease was Jose Mourinho's archaic man management which led to Manchester United's players lacking the trust they needed to make when they were best. Pogba is not the only example of it, but he is the most thoughtful and the most important has given his value – financially and professionally.
Manchester United supporters who demanded that Pogba be sold in January and to support Mourinho in the specific argument do not have to feel stupid, because this works all very well. But they really have to accept that they were attracted by the cult of Mourinho, and are far better off from its links.
12 – Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford have combined to create 12 scoring chances for each other in nine competitive games under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (692 min). They only beat five games in 17 games during Jose Mourinho 2018-19 (814 min). Wave-length. pic.twitter.com/L3auTbZuC9
– OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 11, 2019
You don't have to like the man (and he doesn't care if you do it or not). But you have to admire Warnock's ability to motivate a team to be larger than the sum of your own uninspired parts and to react to adversity.
We have witnessed this ability in macro and micro over the past two weeks. The macro image is how Cardiff's mind has been focused on the closure battle among the most unlikely and tragic circumstances. The micro is how Cardiff awarded a 91-minute equalizer in an important important playoff and still won the competition in the final. Warnock's fingerprints are everywhere.
Cardiff could not have chosen a more impressive or more important time to record successive top flights for the first time in 57 years. Warnock can still monitor the most unlikely survival bid. After the last three weeks, it is difficult to root against him.
Liverpool's front three
Liverpool's light dip came due to damage to the defense and midfield, but also due to inefficiency in the final third. When Jurgen Klopp needed most of his front three to get the rest of the team out of a hole, they crossed over.
Against Bournemouth, signs that normality may have returned before an instantaneous contest at Old Trafford. The third Liverpool goal, with Roberto Firmino flowing ahead of it clinging to Mohamed Salah's path, shows the kind of understanding that is forged between friends who work everyday with each other. It reminds me of this wonderful Guti wheel – aka the greatest ever help. Watch it eight times and then continue reading …
Of course, Chelsea was involved in its own downfall. Ross Barkley is an Everton and really does not want Liverpool to win the league, Marcos Alonso was useless, made Cesar Azpilicueta exactly what Raheem Sterling wanted for the penalty and Kepa has not made any rescue beyond those you might consider regulation for weeks.
But this is what Manchester City does. They come under your skin and exploit your weaknesses. They work out that you can't stop a certain move, and then repeat this movement until your supporters leave the arena before the final whistle. This is Pep Guardiola's vision, football as Chinese water-tourism. The beautiful bastard.
In the afternoons they wonder how to stop Manchester City. There is a simple answer: they can't. Just cross your fingers, pray for everything you believe in and hope for a day off. The last team to make six against Chelsea? Nottingham Forest. The game recognizes games. Greatness recognizes greatness.
Remember to overestimate players? You know, the flash, cute who used too much and too little of his money as one of Goldilock's three bears? Now he has scored or assisted 50 Premier League goals since the beginning of last season. He is too respectful to point out Vs to those who doubted him and made him a scapegoat for England's problems and his own preconceived. But I'm not. * Flicks Vs *
one highest scorer, despite the outrageous first half missed. Aguero's brilliance is manifested in many different ways, but it is his ability to score against the highly-profiled opponents that make him so special to Manchester City. The grand striker has now scored 43 goals in 64 matches against big six sides since joining the City. Hell.
Somehow, somehow. Tottenham has found new and inventive ways to get up at Wembley over the past month, but they continue to do so. Tottenham is now heading for 88 points this season, which is quite extraordinary considering the circumstances of his season.
Since December 2, Son has just started a Premier League game and did not contribute to any goal or help. It is absolutely crazy given that he has been responsible for leading Tottenham's attack and was forced to bend to the Asian Cup for two weeks.
Just playing you gruff-voiced magician. Two months ago, Burnley saw serious problems. They acknowledged shots at a higher rate than any team in the Premier League history, and while Joe Hart was not entirely responsible for the fact that so many of them went into the net, he was really a bit helpless.
Since then (and Hart knocks out of the team) a team has been transformed. Burnley is on an unbeaten seven match in the league, second only to Solskjaers Manchester United. If Dych's response was to go back to the basics and make a gritty and determined law more gritty and definite, it has served as a treat. Burnley is not safe from the drop but they are moving in the right direction, which is more than you can say for some of the clubs around them.
Score of more than one goal in a game for just the second time in almost two years. Nice timing, great man.
I have some sympathy with Maurizio Sarri, because this is partly Chelsea. A club notorious for leading short-term stance held and appointed a manager who had a long-term vision. They gave Sarri the honor to change Chelsea; Other managers had changed by them.
Chelsea also appointed a manager whose style was so distinct that it was likely to take time and perseverance for the squad to get used to it and take several squad transfer windows to be sculpted according to the chief vision. Let's remember that Pep Guardiola finished fourth in the Premier League in his first season with Manchester City, and Guardiola had a stronger group with bigger budgets. To aggravate that issue, Chelsea appointed Sarri less than three weeks before the Community Shield. Guardiola, you remember, was lined up for months in advance.
But if it is Sarri's defense, he quickly uses his good will. If there are periods of home games where Italian style rises to the surface and you can almost believe that Chelsea can get there, they are easily overshadowed by shambolic, humble defeats. It's not just that Chelsea are losing, but they suffer from the type of collapse that any manager can only suffer once or twice because the owners are getting tough and HR is being asked to work late.
Manchester City has represented these two extremes of Sarris Chelsea perfectly. At home, Guardiola shook and frowned as a man waiting for bad news when Chelsea crossed the passengers and thought the thinkers. But Chelsea's surrender on Sunday makes it virtually invalid. The constant picture was that Marcos Alonso was left with two men to pick up at the back post and choose the brave choice not to notice.
Chelsea have not yet made a goal in 2019 and have granted 13. If a trip to Malmö on Thursday would allow them to seize the unfortunate statistics, they will do so in a competition that they do not want to be in and still see more and more likely to settle for next season.
Sarri can avoid the bag this week, but he shouldn't be too comfortable. Having twice called his players publicly and failed to get a reaction, it is difficult to know where you are going from there. It makes the owners wonder if they are not you, but you.
He has been involved in Chelsea's two heaviest ever Premier League defeats, and he's been to the club for two weeks. Does he have a curse filled with these shorts?
It's not how you start but how to end, and Brighton gets sucked into having trouble scoring six points from a possible 33. Chris Hughton's team doesn't play terribly, but they are punished for defensive mistakes (including a ridiculously high line against Burnley) and their shoulder transformation has gravitated back to the mean.
Brighton's next five secret opponents are, because Huddersfield, Cardiff, Southampton, Bournemouth and Newcastle, a gentle run that should be enough to see them keep their heads over water. But then we included Burnley in the same list.
Claudio Ranieri, already floundering
Losing Manchester United in isolation, even at home and even by three clear goals, is not enough to kill Ranieri's reputation. But Fulham's supporters become restless. The inevitability of Fulham's defeat on Saturday, combined with another miserable performance and strange strategic decisions, hardly helped.
Ranieri has now had 15 matches in charge of Fulham, but won only three and pulled three more. If Slavic Jokanovic was quite accused of significant underperformance after receiving promotion, Ranieri has just taken Fulham closer to immediate closure and he did not even succeed in achieving the good bit.
The assumption was that Ranieri would make Fulham more solidly defensive, which inevitably reduces some of their attacked invention, but he has succeeded in the latter without improving the former who is sufficient to make a difference. Fulham has now passed seven games without a clean sheet, which results in 17 times in the process. In the 15 games before Ranieri's arrival, Fulham made 16 times. They have scored 15 times in their 15th and so the obvious conclusion: nothing much has changed.
Just as worrying is the style of Ranieri's football. Fulham's supporters do not require marauding, lively football, but they are very aware that Tom Cairney and Ryan Sessegnon are two of the most talented players in the squad and both have been shot to the edge of the squad when Ranieri has long gone, directly passing by. a midfield that represents Fulham's strongest costume. He ignores some of the strongest elements in the squad. When you do, the results need to be improved.
On Saturday, Fulham turned fans at Craven Cottage at Ranieri. They demanded Sessegnon and Cairney, booed the exchange of Andre Schurrle for Cyrus Christie and chanted during the second half that Ranieri did not know what he was doing. Whispering silently so lovable Uncle Claudio doesn't hear you, but are they right?
On January 8, Everton's majority owner Farhad Moshiri warned that the club's league position and form were not good enough. Since then, Everton has lost to Southampton, Wolves and Watford in the league and tumbled out of the FA Cup to Millwall. They are five points behind Wolves in seventh who have played two matches more and four points behind Silva's previous club. He could get fired, of course.
Jose Mourinho's miracle
"We have to try to win as many points as possible and try almost miracles to end in fourth" – Jose Mourinho, December 4.
Turns out they didn't need a miracle, just to get rid of Mourinho and wait nine matches.
Claude Puel and the strange team elections
Claude, come in to my office. No, you're right, I'm not happy. Now say, take this pen and write 1000 times. I'm not allowed to start Demarai Gray as a fake nine while Jamie Vardy is on the bench.
And yes, I noticed that you left Wilfred Ndidi on the bench and he just started because Nampalys Mendy got hurt in the warm-up. What do you think this paper is for?
Go five games without defeatincluding victories over Everton and Leicester, just to lose at home to Cardiff and thus fall back into the bottom three. The one who successfully bets on the result of bottom-half Premier League teams beyond "Huddersfield and Fulham to lose" is a winning player.