1- No Top Four for Manchester United: Record Premier League champions Manchester United still look great on paper. In fact, given the right coaching, they should be challenging for the title.
Sadly for the Red Devils, a cord has been broken between manager Jose Mourinho and his players. Incessant criticism of his players, especially the defense and Paul Pogba, is boomeranging on the United boss. There is no way United can reach the top four with such a clueless back line and dispirited camp.
2- Manuel Pellegrini Proving His Mettle. I opined in these very lines that the only difference between West Ham United and Arsenal is self-belief.
At the time, I sounded ludicrous because the Hammers were stuck in the bottom three. Manager Pellegrini’s astute management has since brought the best out of Michail Antonio, Marco Arnautovic, Javier Hernández and star man Felipe Anderson. By season end, West Ham should be challenging for Europe.
3- Messi, Ronaldo Remain Top Two: Lionel Messi’s hat-trick at Levante, in a game in which he also created two more goals underlines how upset the greatest club player of all time is, to finish fifth in the race for last season’s Ballon D’Or.
With Cristiano Ronaldo also leading Serie A’s goal involvement, the pair are proving Luca Modric’s award was just a temporary blip. Kylian Mbappe, Mo Salah, Harry Kane and Neymar must pull up their socks.
4- False Nine Crucial to Chelsea Revival: Maurizio Sarri’s trust in orthodox centre forwards Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata has been diminished by consecutive victories over title favourites Manchester City and Brighton Hove.
Blues orchestrator in chief Eden Hazard has rediscovered his mojo with a goal and three assists to lead the EPL’s goal involvement thanks to his deployment as a false nine. Can’t see Sarri reverting to Giroud or Morata.
5- Son Heuing Min Must Start for Spurs: Tottenham Hotspur’s laboured victory over Burnley, in part, borne out of manager Mauricio Pochettino’s decision to start Erik Lamela instead of South Korean dynamo Son.
Without the speed demon’s direct running and unpredictability, the North Londoners came within minutes of dropping points. Lesson learned: Spurs’ attack is most devious with Son and Lucas Moura running around Harry Kane.