MONDAY’S BIG STORIES
Big Six dominate
There is only so much scrolling the Warm-Up is prepared to do on a Bank Holiday Monday morning, but after scanning through the previous three full seasons of Premier League results – that look us long enough… – we are ready to declare without complete confidence that the Big Six did something this weekend that they’ve NEVER done before. (Help us out if you’re reading this, Opta Joe.)
Juventus star Pogba says he has been target of extortion after brother threatens ‘revelations’
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They all won! Victories for Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester United and Arsenal on the weekend mean there will a great amount of smugness across the country after they all picked up three points in very different ways.
City teased their opposition once more by falling to a trademark two-goal deficit, only to then do the real-life equivalent of playing FIFA and start leaning forward to actually take it seriously. An Erling Haaland hat-trick followed, and at this rate he’s going to score 57 league goals this season and break Alan Shearer’s record in 2027. And who are we to call that a ridiculous notion given his fast start in Manchester.
Then there was Liverpool, doing their best Michael Jordan as a football team impression, as after reading that they were supposedly in crisis mode just three league games into the campaign, they took that seriously and decided to demolish Bournemouth despite Mohamed Salah having an off day.
Chelsea ground out an impressive win despite playing the majority of their match against Leicester with 10 men. A number nine may still be needed but Raheem Sterling is up and running, and a victory in that manner will give them a boost following their deflating defeat to Leeds.
Then there’s Tottenham, scoring healthy amounts, looking solid in defence, and outlining why many believe they can be a force under Antonio Conte in his first full season. Harry Kane just loves goals, so maybe just maybe the arrival of Haaland will only make the England captain more determined to prove he’s the best goalscorer in the league.
Conte on Kane’s landmark, Richarlison showboating and Spurs’ schedule
And United! That’s what a win over Liverpool does for you. Back-to-back victories for the first time in February, with the win at Southampton ending their dreadful run of seven straight losses on the road. The optimism is back under Erik ten Hag, and you can’t blame United fans for believing the outlook is a little brighter than it was two weeks ago.
Almost there. Because last but not least, top-of-the-table Arsenal. Overcoming arguably their trickiest fixture to date this season, mainly because a moment of Gabriel madness saw Aleksandar Mitrovic add to his tally and help Fulham take the lead just before the hour-mark, but with Martin Odegaard the imperious orchestrator, the Gunners won 2-1 as Gabriel scored the winner late on.
Wins for still-unbeaten Brighton and no-longer-pointless West Ham mean the weekend did not belong to the Big Six alone, but in an action-packed season broken up by the World Cup, you can’t help but wonder whether the most stacked teams in the league all winning so early in the season is a marker for things to come. Let’s see.
‘We did a lot better:’ Ten Hag following 1-0 win over Southampton
Uh oh, Stevie
“We need results and we need them quick.” Yeah, you’re not wrong, Steven. Having lost on the opening weekend to the team that just got pumped 9-0, beaten Frank Lampard’s Everton and then lost in lacklustre fashion to Crystal Palace, the screw turned further for Aston Villa and Steven Gerrard after they lost at home to the team who had failed to score or pick up a single point this season heading into the match.
Sure, that was only three games in for West Ham, but now they’ve got that monkey off their back the pressure is firmly on Gerrard, who has quite evidently lost the fans and would go some to win them back again.
With Arsenal away and Man City at home, it does not get any easier, and when you consider that they haven’t faced any of the current top 12, to have only beaten Everton and looked so off in the past three defeats shows why Gerrard is the favourite in the sack race.
Antony almost done
The noise on Sunday night means it may not be long before Antony is unveiled as a Manchester United player this week. The club appear to have agreed an £85m deal for the 22-year-old with Ajax, who played hardball during the transfer negotiations and are getting an offer too good to turn down.
That does, of course, heap a mighty amount of pressure onto Antony, and as we’ve seen in the past, United and expensive signings aren’t always an ideal combo, the price tag often a burden that can never quite get shaken off. Just ask Paul Pogba, Harry Maguire, Romelu Lukaku, and of course, Angel Di Maria, whose wife was attempting to break the record for the most times someone has said “horrible” in one reply when asked about their experiences in the city.
IN OTHER NEWS
Not a story we expected to read this weekend, with the representatives of Pogba claiming that the Juventus midfielder has been subjected to attempted extortion by organised criminals, after the France star’s brother Mathias publicly threatened to make “big revelations” about his sibling.
That may be a developing story this week, as surely more will come out of the fact Mathias Pogba announced “upcoming revelations about my brother” that will be “explosive”.
IN THE CHANNELS
Look, it’s Amir Khan with a fan! Boy, does he look familiar, I just.. Can’t… Quite. Put a name… Ah, yes, thanks for the heads up, Amir.
La Vuelta continues this week, the US Open starts this afternoon, and in the football, beyond Valencia v Atletico Madrid tonight, there’s a FULL Premier League round of matches from Tuesday to Thursday.
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YESTERDAY AT 17: 01