MONDAY’S BIG STORIES

Chelsea are the real deal in a real way

Chelsea beat Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 on Sunday. Yet, that only told half a story. It was as big a hammering as a three-goal win can be. Tottenham were utterly admonished. The most impressive thing was that Chelsea handed out said pasting in just one half of football.
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Spurs – low block bores for much of Nuno Espirito Santo’s tenure – came out very much on the front foot, with Son Heung-min, Harry Kane and Giovani Lo Celso pressing Toni Rudiger, Thiago Silva and Andreas Christensen. Thomas Tuchel’s men were – bar the occasional quick break – under the cosh for the first 45 minutes.
Yet, The Blues dug in to get to half-time at parity. There, Tuchel made some tactical tweaks, including the introduction of N’Golo Kante.
Chelsea were now in the ascendancy and turned their superiority into the hard currency of goals. Strikes from Silva (49) and Kante (57) gave Chelsea complete control. They then – without descending into being a defensive monstrosity - completely shut the game down to hold Tottenham at arm’s length. They also, when applicable and without offering Tottenham a sniff, chased a third that was scored in added time by Rudiger.
To conclude, Chelsea have mettle, a coach who can affect the game, a wealth of talent, are ruthless, can close out games without inviting pressure and are completely relentless. They are the real deal and a complete package.
Liverpool and the two Manchester clubs will run them close in the title race, but they all have weaknesses. Liverpool have made - bar Ibrahima Konaté - no signings, Manchester City have no striker and Manchester United have no structure. It is hard to find a weakness across the pitch in this Chelsea team.
On the subject of weakness, Spurs. Wow. The Warm-Up will leave it to Roy Keane to break their performance down.
“I couldn’t believe how bad Spurs were,” began Keane in his role as a pundit for Sky Sports.
“You can have an off day but the lack of desire [was not good enough] – particularly for the last two goals. The idea that they did well in the first half doesn’t matter. As Gary [Neville] said on commentary you have to get over your difficult spells and try to survive and stay in the game.”
“I am including Kane, here,” Keane added.
Kane’s body language today and his performance; oh my goodness. I am pretty angry watching Spurs.
"Tottenham players were not doing the basics of football. I am talking about closing someone down and putting your body on the line – that comes from desire."
The result leaves Tottenham sat seventh in the table on nine points after five games, with trips to Nuno’s former side Wolves, in the EFL Cup, on Wednesday at Molineux and Arsenal in the league on Sunday to come.

‘I couldn’t believe how bad they were!’ – Keane slams Spurs performance, Kane body language

Image credit: Getty Images

Logical but harsh to ask Noble to take that penalty

Manchester United emerged – somehow – from the London Stadium with three points following their match with West Ham United. The Old Trafford club won 2-1 but that only told half the story. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men were denied three penalties and then had one awarded against them in the dying minutes.
The Red Devils boss was raging post-match.
“The first one and the third one, I think they are stonewall and you can't even argue against them,” Solskjaer told Sky Sports. “The first one, the lad puts his foot out and Cristiano runs straight.
“The last one, Paul [Pogba] had a foul against him - Kurt Zouma. He did not touch him but he went over him. So why is Cristiano’s third appeal not a penalty?
"I hope it won't be ‘Cristiano is never going to get a penalty.’”
And to compound matters referee Martin Atkinson awarded the home side a spot kick for handball by Luke Shaw with 93 minutes on the clock. David de Gea had a dreadful record at saving penalties. However, David Moyes elected to introduce Mark Noble to do the duty. Noble had converted his previous 10 penalties. This being football, De Gea, who hitherto, couldn’t buy a penalty save, saved it.
Here are David Moyes' thoughts on the penalty:
The thinking behind it [bringing Noble on for the penalty] was simply his record. I'd have been more disappointed if I hadn't made the decision. I made the decision, and it didn't quite work today. I was more influenced by Noble's record, rather than West Ham's record [of four misses in the last five penalties]
Fairly sound thinking. However, it must be said that it was harsh on the West Ham captain to ask him to come off the bench cold. Granted, the Hammers had missed four of their last five but there was surely a player on the field who could have taken on the responsibility. The win leaves Manchester United level on points – on 13 - with Chelsea and Liverpool at the top of the table with West Ham in eighth on eight points.

Trouble in Paris

PSG have won six from six in the league. And yet, trouble seems to be brewing in Paris. Mauricio Pochettino’s men brought their laboured form from their Champions League draw with Club Brugge into their fixture with Lyon.
Granted, Mauro Icardi emerged from the bench to grab a last-minute winner from a Kylian Mbappe cross, but one Lionel Messi looked seriously peeved as he was hooked with 76 minutes gone. Messi, it is clear, detests being subbed and had no qualms letting Pochettino – and everyone else – know with his reaction.
Now, it is not unreasonable to be miffed at being subbed but, well, he is 34 now and probably needs to get used to it.
And here is what his boss had to say about the decision:
"Everyone knows we have great players on the team. We have a very rich squad of 35 players. Then we have to make choices. With the 11 who must start. And then we have to make decisions during the game.
“Sometimes these choices pay off and sometimes they don't. But that's why we're standing in front of the bench thinking about what to do. And those decisions that you have to make, whether things go well or not. Whether you like it or not.
Sometimes it pleases people, or it doesn't. I asked him how he was, and he said he was fine.
Diplomatic stuff, but certainly one to keep an eye on.

HAT-TIP

Jimmy Greaves, one of England’s finest ever strikers, has died aged 81.
Greaves was part of England’s World Cup-winning squad in 1966 and is Tottenham’s all-time top scorer with 266 goals across 379 appearances.
He struck 44 goals in 57 senior outings for his country, a tally only bettered by Wayne Rooney, Bobby Charlton and Gary Lineker.
Richard Williams’ obituary of Greaves, in the Guardian distils his genius.
When Jimmy Greaves was playing against the team you supported, a sense of foreboding accompanied you through the turnstiles. The pleasurable anticipation of witnessing one of the greatest footballers of his era was severely undermined by the knowledge of the effect that this slender, neat-featured, dark-haired, quick-footed little man was likely to have on the course of the afternoon.

Jimmy Greaves: 1940 - 2021

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