The obvious action over the three days of the Premier League weekend has involved leaders Manchester City failing to convince, Arsenal keeping themselves in the frame to enable them to only disappoint in May, and Tottenham giving anyone who likes them plenty of false hope. Oh, and Liverpool and Manchester United. showing why they were playing each other on a Monday night in Champions League week.
Obvious action can clearly get a little boring. So what else might you have missed? Read on for the big stories in our Premier League review.
Well first of all, Claudio Ranieri has come in for some criticism for resting players ahead of Leicester’s Champions League clash in midweek. You’ll remember Ranieri, the manager who was going to try to save Leicester from the drop last season. Now, maybe the Foxes don’t have a realistic chance of winning the Champions League but it’s hard to foresee (as some are doing) that during the winter they will be slipping down an icy slope to the Championship just because they might have a decent run in Europe too. In fact their Italian boss could rest several players each week and still find that there are plenty of teams below Leicester at the end of the season. Let’s give the guy credit - even if it does prove to be a combination of more European nights and doing the job he was brought in to do in the first place.
One club looking to haul itself out of a relegation battle is Stoke City. The most amazing thing seems to have happened in their recent draw at Old Trafford and victory over the mighty Sunderland on Saturday. You might think it’s just social media hype but it appears that the draw with Manchester United gave Stoke the Champions League trophy (think on Mr Ranieri - Stoke appear to have won that tournament so you may as well go back to winning the Premier League). Not a group of fans to rest on their laurels, social media was again lit up this weekend by the clear sentiment that the Potters have now also claimed the World Club Championship, all by simply beating the bottom club. Of course, this is partly down to fans getting over excited by taking four points from two games but it’s also because Stoke have quite clearly got a collection of the planet’s greatest players in the form of the Swiss Messi (Shaqiri, as if you could have forgotten), the Welsh Messi (no introductions needed for Joe Allen, surely) and Geoff Cameron. A warning - don’t always believe what you read on social media!
Unless of course it’s about Sunderland. While Stoke won’t really be getting any real major trophies any time soon (believe it or not) they are once again starting to show that they are a better run, more effective unit than Sunderland (and a number of other teams who might not last much longer in the Premier League). David Moyes is obviously the bookies favourite to be the next managerial casualty and it’s a sad reflection on Sunderland’s current status that a move to manage the Scottish national team would be a huge step up. Is Moyes to blame? Well he should have realised that Sunderland are yet another club who aren’t Everton, but he’s not responsible for the problems deep at the core of the club. The fans need a win and social media to give them at least a little delusional hope.