Football NewsFriday 4th November 2016

Alternative PL Preview: West Ham's cash cow, North London derby, Lukaku's flashbacks

Alternative PL Preview: West Ham's cash cow, North London derby, Lukaku's flashbacks

Spurs to avoid even looking towards Wembley on their way to the Emirates

Having spent long trying to get there, the Champions League has turned into Tottenham Hotspur’s worst nightmare. They suffered their second defeat at Wembley on Wednesday night, this time losing out to Bayer Leverkusen to leave their hopes of progressing to the last 16 in the balance. It’s almost as if playing all your home games at a stadium that isn’t yours, so you effectively have no home games, was a bad idea.

The Wembley curse is real and so Spurs will take no chances on the way to the Emirates Stadium for the North London derby against Arsenal this weekend. They’ll avoid glancing in the direction of the national stadium for fear of picking up some more bad juju. Mauricio Pochettino will even black out the windows on the side of the team bus that faces Wembley.

Sadiq Khan to install a totaliser at the London Stadium

Another week, another tale of just how much the Olympic Stadium (or the That Bloody London Stadium as it is commonly called now) will cost the taxpayer. Mayor Sadiq Khan ordered an inquiry into the soaring costs of running West Ham’s new ground, with revised estimates putting the total at £323 million rather than the £160 million originally slated.

But Khan’s primary measure will see the installation of a totaliser at the London Stadium. Like the one they hang behind Fearne Cotton on Children In Need night, it’ll show a live running total. But this won’t display how much money is being raised, but how much money is being spent instead. It’ll hang directly over the director’s box, right next to Boris Johnson’s seat.

They love throwing cash away at the London Stadium

Romelu Lukaku to be thrown off his game by flashbacks

For a player who spent three years at Chelsea Romelu Lukaku didn’t walk through the Stamford Bridge entrance too often. So there won’t be much that he recalls about the place when he visits with Everton this weekend, but the spooky flashbacks he does get will throw him off his game.

He’ll hallucinate during the game, imagining the picture of every Chelsea manager to have ever shunned him taunting him from the touchline. Robert Di Matteo, Rafael Benitez, Jose Mourinho and Roman Abramovich for good measure all reminding him just how worthless they deemed him to be. If games against West Ham are Lukaku’s happy place, matches at Chelsea are the opposite.

Tom Heaton to wear hockey gear against Crystal Palace

Rumour has it that Health and Safety were close to stepping in during last week’s clash between Manchester United and Burnley. If university graduates are prevented from tossing their hats into the air then it surely couldn’t have been safe for goalkeeper Tom Heaton to face so many shots at him in just one afternoon.

Indeed, the Burnley number one was a human wall at Old Trafford and he will therefore take some precautions ahead of this weekend’s match against Crystal Palace, just in case the same thing happens again. Heaton will wear hockey gear from head to toe. He won’t feel a thing. Christian Benteke could shoot BB pellets at him and he wouldn’t flinch. It could make the difference in Burnley staying up this season.

Tom Heaton will take precautions this weekend

Jose Mourinho to impose a shot clock on his Manchester United team

37. That’s how many shots Manchester United fired off against Burnley last weekend. Never before had they notched so many shots in a Premier League fixture. It was an astonishing display of attacking intent. There was only one problem. Not a single one of those 37 shots found the back of the net as they drew 0-0.

Mourinho will come up with a plan to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen against Swansea City on Sunday. United will surely find the net if they fire off enough shots, it’s the law of averages. And so Mourinho will impose a basketball-style shot clock on his team, demanding they shot on goal every 24 seconds. One of them is sure to beat the goalkeeper, right?