As part of his new weekly column, Joe Devine looks back at the things that (may or may not have) happened in the latest Premier League gameweek…
1. Manchester United Tactics Uncovered
Commentators, pundits and fans have been pulling their hair out this season, openly confused about the tactics being employed by Louis Van Gaal at Manchester United. Conference rooms have emptied to the word “philosophy” and Dutch football writer Elko Born very nearly drowned last week under a hail of frantic questioning. This weekend, however, it seems like the English are finally beginning to catch on, as Manchester United easily saw off Liverpool in what proved to be their most open-book tactical game yet this season. In a daring and adventurous ploy, Louis Van Gaal has instructed his United team to allow the opposition teams numerous opportunities on goal. “Mo time, mo mistake” as Van Gaal is calling it, is potentially the most daring of tactics used in the Premier League since Kenny Dalglish tried to field only 7 players with his Newcastle side in 1997. The theory relies heavily on the assumption that players with too much time to decide will then make mistakes, and as you can see – it’s been working rather well. In United’s games against Arsenal, Southampton and Liverpool, the opposition teams have had immeasurable numbers of chances, and somehow managed to still lose the games. Lucky? Not Van Gaal – he’s just clever.
2. Leicester Accidentally Fire D.O.F
In what some critics are calling “super fucking embarrassing”, Leicester City have accidentally fired their director of football Terry Robinson. Word came down from King and Queen Power late Saturday evening that Nigel Pearson’s head was for the chop, but in an apparent mix up – in which the words “knock off the big man” were uttered – executives of the club proceeded to the office of grotesquely overweight D.O.F Terry Robinson instead. This comes as a double blow for the foxes, as Terry Robinson is the only one who knows what day the rubbish goes out at the King Power stadium, and is refusing to reliquish the information. Lucky? Yes, Nigel Pearson is lucky.
3. There’s only one Arsene Wenger
Confirmation arrived on Saturday that there was in fact only one Arsene Wenger. Fans and colleagues had been worried for weeks that Arsene was caught up in a confusing doppelganger-type situation. Reports suggest Wenger had been cursing the name of Dostoyevsky in his sleep, before falling out of bed and rolling around on the floor like a little slug. The fans at the Emirates were suitably pleased to hear the good news, and showed their appreciation by singing the manager’s name loudly from the stands. Lucky? Yes, we’re all lucky there’s only one Arsene Wenger.
4. Lampard Goes Forth
At the top of the list of this weekend’s weird wonders, news arrived on Saturday evening that Lampard had gone forth. Nobody was quite sure what this statement meant, but the press were quick to speculate. Multiply? Prosper? Spread the word? What was Lampard going forth to do? Whatever it was, I’m sure he had a great time doing it. In fact, maybe it was all nonsense – I also heard that he’d smoked a joint with Thierry Henry, which seems remarkably unlikely.
5. Benteke Can’t Find Equaliser
Last on the list, and suitably unimportant, is the news that Christian Benteke was unable to find an equaliser at the weekend. Friends, including Gabby Agbonlahor, Ron Vlaar and Roy Keane were visiting with Benteke to test out his new Beats by Dre surround sound system. Roy has tinnitus, so Benteke kindly tried to lower the middle on his new system, but was unable to find the equaliser menu. Sadly, Roy had to leave, and drove home to drag his dog across some fields for the seventh time that day. The rest of the lads ordered a Chinese.