August’s Giraffe and Lemon of the Month

Four matches down, the transfer window closed and already we’ve seen England struggle to a 1-0 win away to the mighty Slovakia. With Champions League about to kick off in earnest I thought this would be a good time to update my predicted end of season league tables and hand out the first Lemon’s and Giraffe’s.

Sadly, at least for this football supporter, the Team Lemon award has to go to Stoke City, who after four matches sit bottom of the table and who already have a goals against in double digits. Being a Stoke supporter always means I look on the darker side of life but for the moment I still think we have enough quality to survive. The opposite is true for my winners of the Team Giraffe award, Hull City. They have been magnificent so far this season and if they continue to battle away until the last minute, as they did against Burnley, maybe in a few weeks’ time they will have moved up my virtual table.

So here it is, (last month’s predicted position is in brackets):

  • Manchester City (1st)
  • Chelsea (2nd)
  • Manchester United (3rd)
  • Arsenal (4th)
  • Tottenham Hotspur (6th)
  • Liverpool (5th)
  • Everton (7th)
  • Southampton (10th)
  • Leicester City (12th)
  • West Ham United (9th)
  • West Bromwich Albion (13th)
  • Stoke City (8th)
  • Middlesbrough (11th)
  • Watford (14th)
  • Swansea (15th)
  • Crystal Palace (18th)
  • Bournemouth (16th)
  • Burnley (17th)
  • Sunderland (19th)
  • Hull City (20th)

From an individual point of view the headlines have been dominated by the big two of Ibra and Aguerro but two players, from opposite ends of the football food chain, who have stood for me are Diego Costa and Curtis Davies. If I were a Chelsea fan I would be delighted to see the brooding, angry countenance descend once more across the features of their Brazilian cum Spaniard. It is amazing how many times I read a Chelsea match report which begins with “Should Costa have still been on the pitch” only to be followed by “the Spaniard scored the winner”. In today’s modern game, where football is in danger of becoming a non-contact sport, these types of players should be applauded for keeping the ugly in the beautiful game. On the flip side, if it hadn’t have been for the antics of Mike Dean, Costa’s team mate, Gary Cahill was an almost shoo in for Lemon of the month for his complaints about being mugged for Swansea’s second. Come on Gary, you’re supposed to be a big tough centre half, stop whinging and next time make sure you’re the one dishing out the physicals.

But Costa is just pipped for my Player’s Giraffe by Curtis Davies who has been the rock upon which Hull have built their impressive start. Some players have to travel until they find their footballing home and in Davies’ case he seems to have had the misfortune to be marooned in Birmingham for most of his playing career but now it seems he has found a club where he is comfortable. Whatever happens to Hull this season I hope Curtis continues to shine and that in years to come Hull supporters remember him as the club great he is already showing himself to be.

Finally my individual Lemon goes to an person who traditionally would have been found adorned in black, Mike Dean. Admittedly the changes to the rules have created confusion, especially concerning grappling in the box, but I wouldn’t mind the uproar if the rules were being applied consistently. In the Stoke – Manchester City game, whilst the first penalty against Ryan Shawcross may have been a penalty (if you discount the fact Otamendi was as much to blame), the Stoke penalty that seemed to ease Mike Dean’s conscience was an absolute joke. Throw into the ring a blatant penalty missed before Mr Dean had given the initiative to City and a dozen or so other incomprehensible decisions and it was hard not to join in with the Boothen End as they sang “you don’t know what you’re doing”.

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