“Mando” our manager didn’t even have to work all that hard or even think about removing his helmet, this one was so cuddly from the beginning. Kane firing from everywhere, Sissoko scoring again because that’s what he does, Eric Dier playing well in the middle, Lucas flitting about and causing trouble throughout, a CLEAN SHEET, and what can you say about Son? His running separated this game from the start—it was only fitting that an 80 yard sprint through seemingly the entire Burnley team would make this day truly memorable.
So Sessegnon, Skipp and Parrott got to actually play, though to be fair none of them did anything at all remarkable as the rout played out. The clean sheet was deserved in the second half, but there were several near-misses for the Gingers in the first and an obligatory horrible Dier giveaway that could easily have led to a goal. But this lineup seemed to me like our true first XI—only Davies for Jan will alter it and that might be another few weeks at least. The Sissoko-Dier pivot worked, despite Jose’s stated belief that the Frenchman is better off on the wing.
Kane got us going with a screamer, and then put the cherry on top with another, from ten yards closer. Dele was a bit off his game today and didn’t even fake a smile when he came off—he missed some connections and was too slow on the easy break he got where a quicker decision results in a goal for either he or Son.
But I want to talk about Number Seven for a minute. He was going to be my MOTM even without that glorious goal. His runs down the left were simply indefensible by Burnley—it is a reminder about how important pure pace can be. But that goal will stand as dramatically as Dele’s wonderful juggling act and pivot at Selhurst Park a few years back. He just took off and damn the torpedoes he was going to score.
At times like that not only is he clearly the best Asian footballer in history, but he looks like one of the top ten footballers in the world. He is not—not yet—but he isn’t far behind. Despite all the attacking talent in this league—Mane, Salah, Sterling, Vardy, Rashford, Aguero, Kane—at moments like that Son provides something nobody else can. His value to this team is immense—and I think, along with Dele, somehow Poch lost the plot just a bit in terms of setting him loose. It wasn’t a grave error just the more subtle mismanagement that the years and the repetition and the drudgery of training must have produced.
Kane, Son and Dele playing so well—and with the likes of Lucas and Sissoko joining in—is not a coincidence. Mando has said “This is the Way” and his fighters are obeying. Bayern is a lark—of course it won’t end 7-2 and if we win, we might hasten Poch’s next appointment, but it is a meaningless game except to observe some players. Next weekend at Wolves will say a lot more about whether this side can actually get to Top Four status this season—truth is, they might be better than Chelsea as they haven’t lost in two months. I can’t wait for the next episode.
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