The worst of the weekend by Dave Downie
Let’s start as we mean to go on this week.
Goalkeepers. Why are most of them awful? Where are the days of competent, decent goalkeepers? They’re an after thought these days.
On this week’s podcast, I compared having to choose between Joel Robles and Maarten Stekelenburg as being akin to deciding whether you’d rather have constipation or diarrhoea – I was completely wrong. If Joel is constipation in that analogy, then hand me the laxatives and a dirty curry, because Maarten Stekelenburg really doesn’t belong in an Everton shirt. The writing was on the wall when he spilled Gary Cahill’s first-half shot only for him to literally gift the same player a goal in the second. But what really got me was something less important that probably went unnoticed. A shot from Pedro hits Idrissa Gueye and the ball trickles out for a corner. The Stek, in the most can’t-be-arsed manner, stands and watches it cross the line and into touch. As you can see from the picture below, Williams and Baines aren’t happy with his lack off effort and neither am I. It was reminiscent of Christian Benteke’s slow motion header earlier this season that he couldn’t be arsed moving for as well.
He’s got to go.
With all that said, we should be used to it by now. We haven’t had a decent keeper since Nigel Martyn. I know a lot of you reading this will instantly throw Tim Howard at me, but I’m not having it. He did a job, that was it. And maybe that’s where the problem started and was allowed to go so long without being addressed?
Moyes saw Howard as imperative to what he was doing when in-fact his ability started plummeting the minute he palmed Frank Lampard’s tame effort into the top corner at Wembley. From then onwards it’s been a case of “he’ll do” with other areas of the team taking priority. In truth, it’s one of the aspects of the club’s new regime that I’ve been most cynical over – it really should have been dealt with as a priority when Ronald Koeman and Steve Walshed walked in. I know it’s something they’ll be addressing early in the summer, but I can’t help wonder how many extra points we’d have if there was someone better in between the sticks this season.
The Romelu Lukaku circus just keeps on going doesn’t it? Well I’ve had enough. I understand the level of speculation surrounding the Premier League’s top scorer, particularly when he’s turned down a new contract with a club outside of the top-six media darlings- sorry, clubs. You’d almost think a player of his profile playing for Everton doesn’t fit a certain media narrative….surely not?
But there are some fantastically humorous pieces of evidence that some reporters are using as iron-clad confirmation that Lukaku is on his way to Chelsea. Have a look at this from Claude Atcheba:
— Claude Atcheba (@ClaudeAtcheba) May 1, 2017
If you look closely enough I think you can see Rom putting pen to paper on a five-year deal at Stamford Bridge, and when Chelsea’s Technical Director Michael Emenalo puts his arm around the striker, he’s definitely taking his measurements for their new strip for next season whilst showing him where the Champions League badge will be on his shirt.
It really is embarrassing how some journalists are going about their work these days.
On a lighter note away from the seriousness of top-class journalism, there’s been a lot of anger going around this weekend. Not least in the North-London derby where the over the top fume of the ball being a millimetre outside of the corner quadrant was at it’s brilliant best.
Fume was also rife at the chaotic Brisbane Road where a “fake abandonment” of the game took place in order to get angry supporters off the pitch who had invaded in a mass protest at the club’s owners. Not sure conning fans out of watching their team play out the last few minutes of a meaningless game is a tactic that’ll work well in the future, but it did bring one moment of hilarity in the stands. Looks like we’ve found yer Da a new partner…
And finally, another Old Firm derby resulted in the most unexpected of outcomes… Celtic beat Rangers…again.
Whilst you’re calming down at the news of such a massive shock at Ibrox, top Sky pundit and former Celtic hitman Andy Walker has been eulogising about Brendan Rodgers’ invincibles: “Going through the league season undefeated would be remarkable. But it’s the fact that they’ve performed well in the Champions League that has raised expectations.”
The mighty Bhoys drew three and lost three in Group C and missed out on dropping into the Europa League.
Walker continued: “If you can go through the season domestically undefeated and win the treble, I think it’s a once in a lifetime achievement. They scored five against Rangers but it could’ve been seven, eight or nine.”
That’s Rangers. The third placed team who are fewer points closer to the bottom of the table than they are to Celtic.
I’d be hoping it was once in a lifetime too, having to play in the Scottish top-flight.