Weekly English football round up 8 Dec 18
Racism rears its ugly head at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea fans racially abuse Manchester City winger Raheem Stirling. As Stirling went to collect the ball that had gone out of play, fans are clearly seen on TV images shouting racist abuse at him. Chelsea FC and the Metropolitan Police are investigating the incident.
It has emerged that an investigation is being held into an incident in last week's Tottenham vs Arsenal match where a banana skin was thrown at a black Arsenal player.
Getting onto the football, Chelsea inflicted the first Premier League defeat of the season on Manchester City. City controlled the game for long periods, but Chelsea hit them with a smash-and-grab goal just before half time by Kante, and then a second from Luiz from a corner mistakenly awarded by the referee when it should have been a goal kick.
Liverpool had beaten Bournemouth at Dean Court earlier by 4-0 with Mo Salah bagging his second hat trick for 'pool. Liverpool look in ominous form and as a result of these two matches, Liverpool now top the Premier League by one point. Manchester City host Liverpool on 3 January. Game on.
Spurs won 2-0 at Leicester with a belter by Son and a diving header by Alli. Spurs played a weakened team for the match, resting Kane, Erikson and others before the upcoming Champions League match at Barcelona in the week. Spurs have to win in the Nou Camp to progress to the knockout stage.
West Ham beat Crystal Palace 3-2 at the Olympic Stadium.... a score that flatters Palace, who were woeful. West Ham fans seem much happier with playing at the Olympic Stadium, and having to endure a 15 minute tube journey to Stratford, now that they're winning. This time last season, when they were losing, the move to the Olympic Stadium was being blamed for everything from loss of players form to the grass not being lush enough to perform sliding tackles.
Funny isn't it, how objections to moving stadiums seem to evaporate once the team in question starts winning.
Jose Maurinho celebrated Manchester United actually winning a league match at Old Trafford.... against the worst team in Premier League. United's 4-1 win was hailed as a "breakthrough". Great. They play Liverpool in a week's time.
In the Sunday match, Newcastle lost 1-2 at home to Wolves, the winner coming in the 94th minute against a Newcastle team reduced to ten players when DeAndre Yedlin was red carded for Serious Foul Play midway through the second half. Yedlin hauled down Diogo Jota, who was clean through on goal.
Rafael Benitez has called for VAR to be introduced to help avoid perfectly correct decisions such as his players being properly red carded when they commit offences that merit it. Newsflash, Rafa.... VAR is coming to the Premier League next season. It was announced months ago. And even if it had been in force, Yedlin would still have been sent off.
In the Championship, Sheffield United beat managerless Reading and move up to 3rd. Brentford boss Thomas Frank described his team's first half performance as a "Horror Show" as they trailed 0-3 before a recovery reduced the embarrassment to a 2-3 defeat to Swansea.
Norwich stay top of the table with a late, late winner against Bolton and Leeds benefited from a very iffy penalty to overcome QPR. Cue predictable grumbles from Steve "Brolly Wally" McLaren... surely the most overrated manager in the history of English football.
At the other end of the table, Millwall scrapped out a 2-2 draw with Hull City to move out of the bottom three. Reading, Bolton and Ipswich all lost.... "all is lost" might be an appropriate way to describe the plight of Ipswich who are already 8 points adrift of safety at the bottom and show no sign of being able to do anything about it.
In League One, Pompey go marching on, beating Southend 2-0 at Fratton Park to go six points clear at the top. Doncaster continue their rise up the table, winning 4-0 at Bristol Rovers and replace Charlton in the play off places. Charlton travel to Fratton Park on Tuesday and I don't think Pompey will be trembling in their boots.
During the week, Bristol Rovers boss Lee Mansell appeared on a radio phone in talking about mental health. He said that more people need to open up about their feelings. After the Pirates 4-0 humping by Doncaster on Saturday he was unavailable for comment.
No surprises in League Two this week. The top three all won, nobody scored a lot of goals and Macclesfield, now managed by former Spurs, Arsenal and England centre back Sol Campbell, lost their first match under his regime and cemented their place as the 92nd ranked team out of 92 club in English League football.
Welcome to the big time, Sol.