Andy Dawson’s ten things we learned from football at the weekend

Things were wonderfully weird in the sport we all love last week…


The Premier League nosedived at 3pm on Saturday

Following the goal-fests at Arsenal and Watford, we looked to be heading for a PL season with a projected goals total of 2,470 against last season’s 1,064. No, that’s how it works, honest.

But the 6.5 goals per game average dropped drastically from the middle of Saturday afternoon, despite the best efforts of Chelsea and Crystal Palace’s rank-bad defenders. Speaking of which…

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Arsenal still can’t defend for shite

When the Gunners had their legendary trophy-hoovering back five in Arsene Wenger’s early years at Highbury, was anyone actually coaching them or did they just work it out among themselves?

Because the current mob were scrambling around like…

Liverpool – who also still can’t defend for shite

See above. It’s great for entertainment value that coaches don’t seem to be able to organise a defence properly any more, but it’s a bit of a liberty when there’s so much money swimming around in the ‘greatest league in the world’ and some of the supposedly toppermost teams need to score at least three times in order to get anything from a match.

Wayne Rooney is far from over

The Gammon King returned to his alma mater and almost single-handedly dragged Everton to a 1-0 win against Stoke. His match-winning goal, leaping to head it back across goal, was one that could only be pulled off by a man in possession of the neck of a bull.

That, coupled with him turning puce during his nuclear-level goal celebration, was the icing on a cake of a performance in which Rooney ran around like a maniac for the duration.

For the neutral, he’s just become about 300% more likeable than before.

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND – APRIL 24: Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez salutes the crowd after the Sky Bet Championship match between Newcastle United and Preston North End at St James’ Park on April 24, 2017 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Mike Ashley is still trolling the city of Newcastle

The Sports Direct supremo and the Toon’s President Gammon must have had a really bad past experience with a Geordie stag party during one of his epic drinking sessions – how else can you explain his repeated efforts at sabotaging the club he claims to care about (while openly trying to flog it)?

After promising Rafa Benitez all the money in his pockets at the end of last season, Ashley looks to have brazenly done an about turn and the Spaniard was seething behind his smile after the Spurs defeat.

This Kyle-Walker Peters thing needs to be investigated further

There’s not enough questions being asked about Spurs’ use of a new right back with a slightly-enhanced name coming in to replace their just-departed right-back.

It’s like when a character returns to a soap opera, but is being played by a new actor and it’s making me feel icky.

Nemanja Matic could be the difference

By the end of the month, and assuming that Conte will be allowed two or three additional signings, Chelsea fans might argue that the Serb won’t be missed all that much.

But he’s definitely going to be an upgrade for their Old Trafford title rivals, acting as the fulcrum of their midfield as Jose Mourinho goes all out to continue his second season success rate.

Yes, I said ‘fulcrum’ – deal with it. Matic went about his business against West Ham with minimum fuss and maximum impact, and allowing him to head north might just bite Chelsea on the arse by May.

Ben Davies >>> Danny Rose

A solid defensive performance, a clean sheet and a goal – and no whining to the press. Danny who?

Klopp and Wagner go on hipster specs shopping trips

But where? I’m guessing the Trafford Centre, as that’s pretty much a halfway point between Huddersfield and Liverpool.

And is the apprentice trying to destroy his master, by learning from him and then outdoing him? Will Wagner take over at Anfield before the season is out?

There’s no such thing as a dull El Clásico

An outstanding 24-minute performance by Real Madrid’s benchwarming Ronaldo in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup included a stunning goal, a yellow for showing off his tits, another (dubious) yellow for simulation and a heinous shove of the ref as he was given his marching orders.

Part two follows on Wednesday night – will Neymar-less Barcelona be just as sluggish and will Marco Asensio’s exciting career progression continue with another goal or two?

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What do you think?