EVERTON v ARSENAL
It is fair to say that things are not all gravy at Everton. But, the Ev’s PR team, who have already so successfully captured an aviatic iPhone game for their shirt sleeve sponsor, have had a good Friday ideas session and have themselves a plan. “We need an influencer”, they say. And so, former goalkeeper Neville Southall finds himself on the bench as an emergency loan. Big Nev puts one kind arm around Tom Davies and another one around Ademola Lookman and tells them, “May spine of jellyfish, Boris holding knives, Hammond face of stone, Gove more oil than BP, The strong and stable party, Joke”. They understand.
Everton 10 – 0 Arsenal
CHELSEA V WATFORD
Antonio Conte has got his dates mixed up and turned up to Stamford Bridge in full Dracula costume. Fake fangs, fake blood, fake hair. He thinks it’s Halloween, the poor bastard. Walking up to a busy Marco Silva, Conte shakes his hand and asks “Why does Dracula have no friends, Marco? Because he’s a pain in the neck!”. Unflustered, Marco says “Good luck, Antonio” and heads towards the changing room. So, straight up to Troy Deeney goes Conte, who is busy printing out pixelated images of the Chelsea defence and feeding them to his dog. “Troy, what kind of medicine does Dracula take for a cold? Coffin medicine!”. Troy kisses him on both cheeks, tells him “Good luck, Antonio” and heads towards the changing room.
Chelsea 1 – 1 Watford
NAPOLI v INTER MILAN
The Manchester City lads haven’t seen Pep for a few days now, not since their midweek Champions League victory. But other people have seen him. At Naples International Airport, for instance, picking up his Fjällräven backpack with a Marek Hamšík keyring attached to it. “Ciao, dove sei the San Paolo?” he’s been asking people in the Quartieri Spagnoli with a tourist map under his arm. “I just think they’re the best team ever,” he tells the young man working in the cafe. So he plonks himself on the Tribuna Ovest with his new scarf wrapped around his neck, his Stone Island jacket zipped up and his programme tapping an excited beat against his shaking knees. “I support these now,” he tells the person sitting next to him.
Napoli 2 – 0 Inter Milan
BARCELONA v MALAGA
There’s only five minutes gone in the game when each Malaga player removes their shirt to reveal a vest made out of the Spanish flag. It’s the wrong thing to do. Gerrard Piqué is incensed. He moves from one player to another and, unrestrained by his teammates, earnestly tells them that his birthplace of Catalonia is well within its rights to hold a vote between its residents. He turns around, expecting somebody else to have noticed. Lionel Messi continues to strike a ball into the back of an empty net from 6 yards out “48…49…”, Luis Suárez plays offensively good head tennis with a ball boy and Sergio Busquets is slide tackling himself, frustrated that it always seems to happen a good second after he intended it to.
MILLWALL v BIRMINGHAM CITY
Millwall 0 – 0 Birmingham City
Image supplied by Offside Sports Photography.