WEEKEND TAKEAWAY: Everytime Manchester United Win Proves Jose Mourinho was Tolerated for Too Long

It wasn’t long ago that Jose Mourinho was sacked as Manchester United manager, but it’s been a long time since United scored three or more goals in three consecutive games and this is on the back of the 4-1 win over Bournemouth on Sunday; add to that the swagger and utter confidence with which results have been garnered over the past few days.

A fortnight ago, it would have been expected of Manchester United to pick all nine points on offer, whilst there is a huge possibility of delivering that, what is never assured is the quality of play and level of entertainment. The return of a club icon has brought all of that back.

Not too long ago, Paul Pogba was likely considering a move away  – depending on who you choose to listen to  – from the club that had paid a then world record fee for his services, now, departure may sound alien to him.

Pogba has hit a sudden scoring run, three in the last five. The sort of performance that questions Jose Mourinho’s judgement; Pogba had started the final three games leading to the departure of the Portuguese manager on the bench and here he is looking revitalised.

Make no mistake, Jose Mourinho is a top manager or perhaps he was; it’s hard to imagine that any top manager in modern football would find it so difficult to bring the best out of these crop of visibly talented footballers.

Liverpool masters of winning dirty

Twenty matchdays on and Liverpool must now really believe in their own ability to deliver the elusive 19th league title.

It is not just the enviable unbeaten streak, it is the manner in which it has been delivered; first Anfield has been made a slaughter ground.

Liverpool have not lost at home in 32 games and only a handful of teams have departed unscathed.

Secondly, Liverpool have mastered that art of getting favourable results even when they’re not playing so well and Saturday is another example of this.

However, it’s tough to describe a team who won 5-1 as the ‘poorer’ side, but for large spells, that is exactly what it was.

The mood at Anfield is surely one of anticipation now. Liverpool, seven points clear of second-placed Manchester City, are attempting to run away with the Premier League title and the other contenders are not doing much to halt the attempt at the moment.

City uncharacteristically lost three of the past four league games, a poor run Liverpool duly took advantage of.

Up next for Liverpool is Manchester City at the Etihad stadium and this would be really decisive in the chase for the title.  

Cristiano and Messi visibly in decline yet remain the best

At this time in 2012, Lionel Messi had scored 91 goals in the calendar year betting the age-long record of 89 goals set by Gerd Muller.

By the time Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo retire from active football, future generation of footballers will be starring at their names each time they aim for an award; such is the level of their consistency.

And even though both players have visibly declined, they are still operating at a far superior level to other players.

Messi’s 51 goals this calendar year is the most by any player and for the eighth time over the past nine years, Messi has scored fifty or more goals.

Cristiano, on the other hand, ended the year on 49, the only time he has failed to hit the 50-goal mark since 2011.

Crucially, his brace in the 2-1 win over Sampdoria was just about enough to earn Juventus the win and preserve their own unbeaten run in the Serie A.  

The consistency of this duo over the past 11 years should be the aspiration of every young footballer. They are the perfect example.

Galatasaray transfer listing Aziz, irrational.

It’s a comical story, this. Serdar Aziz had been excused from Galatasaray’s final league game of the year against fast-chasing Sivespor because the defender had reported to battling food poisoning which had resulted into a stomach upset.

But as is usually the case, pictures of the defender having a nice time in the Maldives surfaced on his wife’s Instagram story and typically there will be a backlash.

Although Galatasaray won the game 4-2 to pull five points away, the Turkish giants feel slighted by the defender’s actions and made a rather irrational choice of transfer-listing him.

I wonder if anyone at the club thought this through. It is unlikely Aziz decided the day after the game to jet off to the Maldives with his wife, surely it must have been booked ahead.

Is the timing contentious? Definitely not. Players are privy to their off days and can make reservations in advance and this is no different. Galatasaray’s reaction is knee-jerk and uncalled for.

Novak Djokovic begins new season with another win

A year ago, Djokovic wasn’t at Abu Dhabi for the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, ruled out due to injury and the crown deservedly went to South Africa’s Kevin Anderson.

Djokovic then battled from 22nd on the ATP rankings to win Wimbledon and the US Open taking his total Grand Slam count to 14 before ending the year top of the ATP rankings.

His 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 win over defending champion Kevin Anderson handed Djokovic his fourth MWTC, his first since 2013. With the Australian Open approaching, and Rafael Nadal yet to return to optimum level, the odds are in favour of the Serb.