MONDAY'S BIG STORIES
Okay, who broke the Premier League?
There are shocks. There are surprises. And then there are results that seem so inexplicable that just looking at them feels somehow wrong. At best, a typo. At worst, a total reshaping of the world and everything in it, a giddy dislocation, and the sudden rush of realising that you, you fool, you know nothing.
It happened. It all happened. Spurs put six past Manchester United. Villa put seven past Liverpool. And — perhaps strangest of all — West Ham strolled past Leicester City. David Moyes is really getting into this working from home business.
At least the result at Old Trafford made a sort of sense. The club's a mess, they picked up an early red card, and the manager got his job because he scored a very important goal once. And Spurs are decent. You don't necessarily expect six, but you know this kind of thing is possible.
Liverpool, though. Liverpool. "Sloppy" doesn't even begin to cover it. Villa, who were brilliant, sliced through them like a hot knife through thin air. Perhaps we can just write it all off: back-up keeper, a million deflections, just one of those days. Except the point of this Liverpool side is they don't have those days. Not in the league. Not seven.
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And Villa even missed a few decent chances, too. Jurgen Klopp was not happy:
Pretty much everyone made massive mistakes around the goals. The first was obviously Adrián but the reaction around the goal was an even bigger mistake. We have to take risks and that is absolutely normal but we have to protect the risks and we didn’t do that. Each ball we lost was a massive counter-attack. They were quicker of mind than we were.
Perhaps it's for the best that it's the international break coming up. The engineers can turn the Premier League off, have a poke around under the hood, and then turn the thing back on again. See if that restores sense. Because honestly, as fun as all this is, there's only so much a Warm-Up can take. One more comfortable West Ham win and we're going to need a lie down in a dark room.
THE TRANSFER WINDOW SLAMS SHUT TONIGHT!!!
So, you know. Mind your fingers.
All the sensible clubs have done all their sensible business already, the sensible so-and-so's, and that leaves the last day free for chaos, desperation, and heartbreak. Oh, hang on, we're getting a call. No, Ed. Desperation can't play at left-back. They're more of a trequartista.
If the rumours are to be believed, then Manchester United will today announce the signing of three players: Alex Telles, from Porto; Facundo Pellistri, from Peñarol; and Edinson Cavani, a free agent. None of these footballers are called "Jadon Sancho", you'll notice, and there's a very good reason for that: Manchester United are not a very well-run football club.
Unless signing a 33-year-old unattached striker in the last hours of the window was the plan all along? Maybe United knew Anthony Martial was about to pick up a suspension for delicately stroking Erik Lamela's jawline. Always one step ahead.
Obviously no other club can equal United's high-profile neuroses, but there's still a few Premier League clubs with business left to do. West Ham may try to sign a central defender that isn't called James Tarkowski; Arsenal could add a midfielder not called Houssem Aouar. All sorts of second, third, and fourth choices are going to get plucked from the ether and given the hopes of a football team to hold. Who know who you could be supporting tomorrow?
Old Lady 3-0
Absolutely masterful from stuff from Juventus. A 3-0 win against previously unbeaten Napoli, and a performance of total control. The men from Turin were so dominant that Napoli barely seemed to be there at all …
It's probably a good job that nobody at Juventus seems to care what people think about the club, because, well, it's not a great look. Napoli were kept at home by the order of the local health authorities, literally unable to travel. In such circumstances, you'd think a little solidarity would be in order. Or you could make like Andrea Agnelli, Juventus chairman, and say: Rules are rules! Three points please!
The sporting rules are ... clear and say that if a team does not show up, they face disciplinary sanctions. The Sporting Judge will speak tomorrow, and based on his decision, there will be further reflections. It is evident that the fact that a team does not reach a stadium to play a planned match does not give a great image of Italian football.
Of course, as fun as it is to blame Juve for everything, the ultimate blame seems to lie with Serie A, who refused to call the game off and complained that the local authorities were ignoring the league's protocols. A really strong sense of which priorities are important in a pandemic there, lads. Just top work all round.
IN OTHER NEWS
Congratulations to Bury AFC, who began their first season in the North West Counties League Division One North with a last minute winner to take all three points. Not many better ways for a phoenix club to get going.
Happy 60th birthday to Careca, winner of the 1989 UEFA Cup and 1990 Scudetto with Napoli, and one third of the Ma-Gi-Ca front three along with Diego Maradona and Bruno Giordano. Happier times, when we could afford to name attacking trios with syllables and not just initials. Look at all these lovely goals he scored.
Over on the Guardian, Suzanne Wrack has an interview with Alex Morgan, who has turned up to play football for Tottenham with an unusual retinue: a four-month-old daughter and her mother-in-law. There's a sitcom in this.
When the Tottenham forward Kit Graham slotted in a training-ground penalty against Alex Morgan’s team, suddenly "all the girls were laughing", the USA Women star says with a grin. It took her a moment to realise that Graham had cheekily celebrated with her little finger stuck out as if sipping tea, in the same way Morgan did after scoring against England in their 2019 World Cup semi-final.
Transfers! Transfers! Transfers! Transfers! Transfers! And FC Nuremberg v Darmstadt in the 2.Bundesliga if you get bored of … transfers!
And Marcus Foley will be here tomorrow to tell you exactly how Manchester United embarrassed themselves. Again.