Another weekend of football. Another weekend of strutting your stuff. Of seeking to keep pace at the top or aiming to break of free of the stranglehold at the bottom. And of course, another weekend with a fair bit to chew on:
Opponents may find City vulnerability in Delph
14 league wins in a row. Just two points dropped in the entire season. 11 points ahead of the rest, Manchester City look invulnerable. But if there’s any chink in their seemingly golden armour right now, it seems to be in their defence, particularly the left back. Fabian Delph has done a more than commendable job since coming in after Benjamin Mendy’s injury in September, but has spent few games looking uncomfortable when defending. He was caught out of position in situations that led to opposition goals against Huddersfield and Southampton, while his failure to cut out a long ball led to Manchester United’s equaliser at the weekend. Opponents might just see Delph’s current floundering state as a cause for optimism. Problem is City seem to make do despite the deficiencies.
Jose still the most sore of losers
It was inevitable. Right from Jose Mourinho’s comments about Manchester City’s diving and tactical fouling prior to the derby, you sensed the Portuguese was going to air out more grievances if United ended up losing. And end up losing they did, which made Mou proceed to stating how City always get lucky, the rub of the green in terms of refereeing decisions, as he pointed out that Ander Herrera should have been given a penalty for his team instead of a yellow card for diving. The reported fracas that followed the game in the dressing, with Jose apparently at the heart, shows he’s still a man who doesn’t gracious modesty when on the losing side.
Conte needs to pipe down on the excuses
Chelsea lost just five times on their way to a steamrollering title win last season, but this season they’ve already lost four. What seems to be the problem? If word from their manager Antonio Conte is anything to go by, a lack of players and not much time to rest. It’s been Conte’s continued song this season, particularly the first one, every time the Blues faltered. For a manager who thrilled many with his tactical switch last season which kickstarted Chelsea’s glorious run of form, Conte seems to be relying on spend, spend, spend and less of adapting, as he did last term. The Italian had stated earlier this campaign that this would be the toughest of his career, and the increased number of games that comes with qualification for Europe shouldn’t be a surprise. Conte might still pull another fast one on the league, but needs to stop painting Chelsea as not having enough quality. This is the most ruthless of clubs when it comes to dispatching managers.
Another managerial departure at Dortmund doesn’t put Watzke or Zorc in good stead
From enviable stability to two managers in a calendar year, the Signal Iduna dugout hasn’t been the most glamorous of places for gaffers. It’s hard to figure out what or where it went wrong for Peter Bosz, after such a flying start Dortmund tailed off, and the Dutchman was eventually relieved. Director Michael Zorc had initially expressed faith in Bosz some 11 days earlier, claiming they want to get on the road to recovery with him in charge, but the defeat led to action from he and fellow hierarchy member Hans-Joachim Watzke, their decision an admission not just of faith lost in the manager, but of a failed project by the club.
Atletico doing what they know, and well
For all the sniggers at the lack of conviction Atletico Madrid have shown this season, they have only lost once in all competitions so far, none in the league, only Barcelona are unbeaten in La Liga as well. On Sunday against Real Betis it was a typical Atletico win, score early, keep it tight, and snuff the life out of the game as it peters out. They have nine league clean sheets so far, Diego Simeone has acknowledged the shortcomings of their attacking display and reverted to the old mould. It’s not without its results.