The genie is out of the bottle

The simmering resentment from supporters towards the architects of the European Super League has been concentrated on some clubs among the six rebels more than others. In particular, the Glazer family at Manchester United, Kroenke Sports Entertainment at Arsenal, ENIC and Daniel Levy at Tottenham Hotspur and Fenway Sports Group and John Henry at Liverpool, have felt the wrath of fans by way of barbed statements and fan protests. There has been less vocal opposition from supporters at Chelsea and Manchester City, albeit the volatile reaction of fans at the London club was one of such outrage outside Stamford Bridge prior to the match against Brighton that they were very quick to follow City in announcing they were withdrawing their membership of the competition.

It may be coincidence but at United, Arsenal and Spurs, the dissent has felt particularly febrile. Long-seated tensions over a lack of success and general perceptions over the erosion of loyalty and the sense that fans are being taken for a ride have fused together. At United, yesterday, that exasperation found its ultimate expression with supporters invading the Old Trafford pitch long before kick-off thus forcing the delay and then postponement of the match against Liverpool. One wonders if United had had the success under the Glazers – who have spent close to £1bn on new players – that City have enjoyed under Khaldoon Al-Mubarak would the level of dissent have been anywhere near the same? There is similar outrage in North London where Arsenal and, to a lesser extent, Tottenham have been cash cows for owners with onfield success a distant second to significant profits.

Pitch invasions and vocal protests are unlikely to change anything for tone-deaf owners in gilded towers but these are toxic times and there will be more to come. The fixture has already been rearranged when they could have had ramifications for the conclusion to this season's Premier League: Under FA Rule E20b, clubs can face anything from a warning through to stadium closure and potential points deduction if found guilty of failing to take adequate action.

City did their part

Park events at Old Trafford yesterday for a minute and Pep Guardiola's side all but confirmed what we have known since the turn of the year: that they will be champions for the fifth time in 10 seasons. In that period, Chelsea have won two titles while Manchester United, Liverpool and Leicester City have won one each. Add in the name of Arsenal and you have the identity of the Premier League winners for the past 26 years. For all the talk about how the advent of the European Super League would have created a closed shop and a lack of genuine competition, the English title race – fuelled by Sky Sports billions – remains one for the richest runners. The broadcaster's pontificating about how we got to the point we did with the attempt to create the ESL lies firmly at its door. 

Contract killer

Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang has been an utter conundrum this season as evidenced by his strike in the 2-0 win over Newcastle. He still runs the channels, scores goals and he even chips in with the odd assist but his figures have fallen off a cliff by comparison to the previous campaign. The Arsenal striker scored 22 times last season, the same number that he registered the year before that. In his first half season at the London club, he scored 10 times, the same number that he has managed over the duration of a campaign which started with the Gabonese signing a £375,000 per week contract. Mesut Ozil was rewarded with a similarly lucrative deal and watched his career fall off a cliff. Perhaps Arsenal will think twice when it comes to the next time they find themselves attempting to hold on to an expensive asset with limited resale value.

Potter for Spurs? Really?

There is a growing opinion that Graham Potter should be at the forefront of the conversation over who should manage Tottenham next. It seems inconceivable that a manager who has spent most of the season battling relegation might be in consideration for one of English football's top jobs but Potter's system certainly passes the eye test and worked at the weekend 2-0 win over Leeds United. The one area of concern might be over chance creation, though. There is a common perception that Brighton have suffered because of the lack of a goalscorer – it's possibly the case but the admission itself raises the issues of why a coach would then persevere with such a strategy. It also begs a central question: are Brighton really that good at chance creation? Current stats for the Premier League season places them on 45 – good enough for 10th in the division – while Spurs, considered a negative team under Jose Mourinho, sit in fourth on 57 big chances.

Havertz finding his feet

It has been a trying season in the Premier League for Chelsea's £70m record signing but the German finally appears to be clicking under the tutelage of his countryman, Thomas Tuchel. The 21-year-old has scored eight goals in 40 games for the Londoners but it says something about his own high standards that it has been seen as a miserable return. There's no doubt that for the money spent Havertz has not had the season expected of him but on Saturday's evidence against Fulham – when he scored twice – there is much to suggest he can have a significant part to play in the bid for a Champions League and FA Cup double over the remaining weeks.