Arsenal FC v Manchester City FC
Sometimes it's hard to get used to the games without supporters, no matter how much noise is broadcast. One can only wonder what the players could achieve if the home fans were behind them. However, when playing Manchester City in current form, it probably wouldn't matter.
Much has been said of how Guardiola understudy Arteta knows about the workings of the City team. But, in today's game, it seemed it was more about how much Guardiola knows about Arteta. In what way?
One of the constant, and reoccurring criticisms of Arsenal is their slow starts. Last year, the London based Gunners achieved much success through effective defending, and the odd counterattack. But, even then, they were prone to starting in 3rd gear.
And, so it was in today's game. City came out of the blocks at a hundred miles an hour, and got their due reward within the first couple of minutes when diminutive Sterling headed home despite a defence that had the much taller Holding and Mari. Although Holding had a great game, especially in his surging forward, this was a terrible mistake to make.
Guardiola knew that Arsenal would start slowly, and that they could be one or two behind early, no matter how well they play the rest of the match, and he was right. Arsenal tightened ship shortly, however, Guardiola's planning had already delivered the killer blow by this point. In times past, City's leaky defence could not have been counted upon to safeguard a one goal advantage, but this year is different. Unlike so many managers who refuse to change a formerly successful style, Guardiola has taken note of his leaky defence and turned it into an impressive, impregnable defence, that is truly world class.
Arteta's tactics at keeping City at bay for most of the 90 minutes were good. However, Mikel's tactics came off 2nd best today to Guardiola's planning in exploiting Arsenal's notorious slow starts. Today wasn't about Arsenal 0 - Manchester City 1, it was more about Arteta 1 - Guardiola 3.
The apprentice is learning. However, he is still years behind the master. As such, his team is in a similar position.
West Ham v Tottenham Hotspur FC
In the truly local London match, West Ham came out winners over the sliding Spurs.
West Ham have a fairly good team, especially with the addition temporarily of Jessie Lingard. However, this season, with the potential for a top 4 finish, they are really punching above their weight.
Coming out 2-1 winners over Spurs was a fair and just result. However, the result really confuses me when it relates to Jose Mourinho.
Is Jose a great manager? Undoubtedly, although his ability to get the best out of 'good' players, and not 'great' players, is not always the best. So, it confuses me as to why he would take the job at Tottenham Hotspur?
Levy is not one to freely loosen the purse strings. Sure, he has authorised a few luxurious signings in his time, however it is nowhere like the financial flow that Manchester City seemingly spend at will. As such, when Spurs do make signings, they are good players, not great players. City have 2 or 3 World Class players in most positions, Spurs have 2 or 3 World Class players in their team.
One of the issues Mourinho railed about at Manchester United was the need to sign better players who could compete with the best. So, why would he take a job at Spurs where that was never going to happen?
Mourinho claimed to have 'unfinished business' in the Premier League, but what business is that? If he means challenging for the title, surely he would know that you just can't do that with Son and Kane alone?
Levy was never going to give hime the resources he wanted..or needed to succeed. So, why take that job?
That is a question that constantly baffles me.....