Is Mourinho better than Pochettino? Can pigs fly?
I’m not a Liverpool fan though I have to admit it’s been a thrill to watch a team that stubbornly refuses to lose. In their last five Premier League games, they have scored late to win 1-0 away at Sheffield United; scored a last-minute penalty to beat Leicester 2-1 at home; left it only until the 85th minute to equalise 1-1 against their arch-rivals Manchester United, who were shockingly lively at Old Trafford; trailed Spurs on account of a first-minute Harry Kane strike at Anfield before equalising early in the second half and winning from a 75th-minute Mo Salah penalty; and – you saw it last weekend – drawing level at the 87th minute before securing their 10th win in 11 Premier League matches at the fourth minute of added time with Sadio Mane’s goal.
While many a Liverpool fan would baulk at predicting a Liverpool victory against Manchester City on Monday morning, I remain unconstrained by any such commitment.
So I’ll say it. Liverpool will win. Not even the demonic manipulation of VAR by Satan in the form of Martin Atkinson has been able to stop them. And Manchester City have looked frail this season. They have been held to a draw at home by Spurs, been beaten against Norwich City and lost at home to Wolves. They even struggled to beat Southampton 2-1 at the weekend – the team with the Premier League’s worst defence.
Yet, the result of the Liverpool v Manchester City fixture is not the outcome I am looking forward to. It’s the one not too far from the top that will pique my interest the most – Leicester City v Arsenal.
Yes, Leicester City.
I take them to despatch Arsenal at home and overtake Manchester City on Sunday morning, a result I hope will precipitate the dismissal of the dismal Unai Emery, a move that will no doubt delight my Siao Mate Noah Tan.
Then by Monday morning, Leicester, not Manchester, will be the City that will keep Liverpool honest for the rest of the season.
And why not? They have a young and exciting squad of players who seem to enjoy every minute of their football. Take their merciless 9-0 destruction of Southampton at St Mary’s for instance – their absolute victory, the biggest win by an away team in the history of the top tier of English football, was a joy to watch.
And Jamie Vardy. Vardy, at 32 years of age as a striker, is the equivalent of those in Singapore on the verge of collecting their CPF. Yet he is now the leading scorer in the Premier League with 10 goals.
He is just one of three players in Leicester City’s weekend starting line-up who were already born when Liverpool last won the English title, the other two being defender Jonny Evans, who won three Premier League titles as a Manchester United player, and goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, son of the great Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel. While that last detail may be of little significance now, the younger Schmeichel has let in the fewest goals in the Premier League this season.
And both Vardy and Schmeichel were part of the Leicester City team that won the Premier League title in the 2015/2016 season.
Yes, in case we’ve forgotten, Leicester City won the Premier League more recently than Arsenal or Manchester United (and Liverpool, but let’s not go so far back in history). Which makes it surprising to me that there are so few Leicester City fans in Singapore. They deserve a lot more support for what they have been doing, and this season, with their fine mix of youth and experience, I’d take them to chase Liverpool till the end.
In fact, if you’re a supporter of Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur or Manchester United, and especially if you’re a United fan, I’d suggest this: Quit banking on Manchester City to stop Liverpool. As a neutral, it’s heartbreaking to watch. Back Leicester City instead.
Sure, continue to be a fan of the team you’ve been loyal to since you made that commitment last season or decades ago, but take the Foxes as an exciting and foxy young mistress who would be more than a little happy to please you for a little affection.
Before that, though, get her name right. It’s Leicester, like the name, “Lester” or the latter part of “molester”. It isn’t “Lay sister”, “Lay siesta” or “Lay Chester”. And no, the “Lei” has no relation to the Hawaiian Lei, which may resemble the garlands that many of you respected patrons of Thai “hang flower” establishments would be familiar with.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, it might interest you to note that Leicester City are 18 to 1 favourites to win the title at Singapore Pools, the only place in Singapore where you can bet legally. Which means, if you bet responsibly and like me, put a hundred bucks on Leicester winning the Premier League title at season’s end in May, you could have $1,800.00 in your pocket if Liverpool...er...how do I put this delicately? Slips.
That would mean you would have enough cash to book a return flight to Bangkok, get decent lodging, party over the weekend, and return with duty free purchases from King Power, Leicester’s owners and Thailand’s top travel retail group, from which Leicester City’s home ground takes its name, and also their shirt sponsor.
That should be fun. And (I think) that’s what mistresses are for. Best part is, you can dump them (Leicester and your mistress) anytime they stop serving you well.