What a difference a week makes! Former United players are no longer all-for-one-and-one-for-all and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is not so much as the wheel of the bus but being thrown under it. But despite hitting Chelsea with the biggest heist since Ocean’s 11, it’s clear right now that United are Ocean’s Apart from the top three, with Liverpool and Manchester City cruising.
KEANE UNDERSTANDABLY SHIRTY AT CARRICK
It has only been seven days but David De Gea – who poisoned the legacy of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer by saying United no longer knew how to defend and did not know what to do with the ball – feels everything is mended.
“We are a team – we are defending well,” he claimed after “Miracle” Carrick dropped Cristiano Ronaldo and United got lucky at Stamford Bridge.
Roy Keane was having none of it from Carrick himself, turning on him for praising his players so quickly.
Perhaps he has been reading Carrick’s autobiography, Between the Lines, where the caretaker manager says of the no. 16 shirt he inherited from Keane in 2006: “I tried to make it that the shirt was just a piece of material rather than an important part of the fabric of Manchester United’s history.”
TUCHEL NEEDS FAITH TO MOVE MOUNT IN
The instinctive reaction to Chelsea’s inability to kill off Manchester United was that they need Romelu Lukaku back fit again fast.
Actually, the numbers show it is Mason Mount, strangely, who is key to rolling out the wins.
Chelsea have won seven of the eight games he has played in, only drawing at Anfield. By contrast, their win percentage drops to just 46 percent without him.
Despite speculation a few weeks ago he was unhappy, Thomas Tuchel recognises the value of Mount and is keen to keep him. He just needs to play him more.
NEAR-PERFECT CITY LEAVE LITTLE ROOM FOR ERROR
It is incredible just how impressively some of the Manchester City players are working to prove that Pep Guardiola does not need a world class striker.
In difficult conditions against an impressive West Ham they got away with it again. But only thanks to a captain’s innings from Ilkay Gundogan.
The Germany international probed West Ham’s tender areas with no fewer than 58 passes – 56 of them accurately. Then scored what proved to be the winner to boot.
These remarkable performances are keeping Manchester City in the hunt, but with such tight margins on perfection, they look most in danger of slipping more often among the top three.
LIVERPOOL SO MUCH MO THAN JUST SALAH
It is inevitable when you see Liverpool have won 4-0 again to ask how many has Mo Salah scored this time?
The worrying thing for Jurgen Klopp’s rivals this weekend is that Liverpool maintained their momentum without him scoring any at all – or even playing particularly well.
A Merseyside derby may not be as straightforward – they lost the game in the last one and Virgil Van Dijk in the one before that.
But while these clashes are supposed to be a great leveller, it’s hard to see beyond a heavy Everton defeat on Wednesday – with or without Salah’s help.
AUBAMEYANG LOOKING TO RAISE HIS GAME
Nine goals in 10 games won Arsenal the FA Cup in 2020. Two more goals in two games the following season, it won Pierre-Emile Aubameyang a new contract when it looked possible he might not get quite the deal he wanted.
He then scored two goals in his next 15 years.
Six in his last seven games for Borussia Dortmund earned him his move to Arsenal in the first place.
Another former Arsenal player Emmanuel Adebayor always used to have a similar pattern to his form. After a fourth game in a row without a sniff of a goal, is it time for Arsenal to start talking another new deal again?