There may be a title race after all

IT'S one thing for Oasis's Noel Gallagher to say his beloved City "are from another planet" but Arsene Wenger?

The Arsenal boss used those very words to join the rush to bestow other-worldly accolades upon Pep Guardiola's side.

No matter that it was partially in defence of his own club's performance at the Etihad a fortnight ago. And, yes, he's still blaming the ref for that defeat! But it makes me feel we are getting a bit carried away; it's only November and we might yet have a title race after all.

Arsenal and United have stirred, Spurs are not as good as we thought and Chelsea are still there. City have been sensational and it is a pleasure to watch them morph into Barcelona-lite.

But it is only a dozen games in and they are getting injuries. The loss of John Stones for six of the busiest weeks of the season is, as Pep himself admitted, "a real, real blow".

We thought losing Benjamin Mendy six months was devastating but Pep pulled a masterstroke by reinventing Fabian Delph as a defender. He needs to do the same with Eliaquim Mangala.

Vincent Kompany made a timely return at Leicester but also an untimely challenge on Jamie Vardy for which he was fortunate to escape with yellow.

Neither he nor Nicolas Otamendi can be relied upon to stay fit or avoid kamikaze tackles.

The City defence has still not been tested and bigger challenges await.

Manchester United with their big boys back are looming and you can bet Jose Mourinho will have a plan.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Romelu Lukaku up against any two from three of the afore-mentioned trio could be the fault line where City's invincibility cracks. And we could see a stumble or two.

In 2016, they also started with a bang but were found out. This season they are much stronger but not above a Mourinho-induced December wobble.

One defeat and the pressure will build as it did last time. Which is why Pep could be busy bringing in back-up in January.

Besides the widely touted acquisition of Alexis Sanchez, who would be available for the Champions League, he could be in for a spare centreback.

If City can survive Stones' absence and still be playing what Gallagher called "cosmic football", then it will surely be Pep's finest achievement yet. City won't just be Barcelona-lite but Barcelona full-bodied, Messi apart.

Then, talk of other planets would not be misplaced but for now he and their admirers should keep their feet on Mother Earth.

Real could be rubbish

Perhaps Real Madrid really are rubbish and Spurs not all they're cracked up to be?

It could explain why we got a bit carried away after they thrashed the Spanish giants. But look at recent results.

Another listless performance on Saturday followed those against Manchester United and Crystal Palace in which this coming team played more like … well, Spurs. The Spurs of old, the Spurs that flatters to deceive, the Spurs that has won only once away against a Big Six team in 17 attempts.

Yes, they were on the wrong end of several "Mike Dean" decisions but not even the most one-eyed Spurs fan can say they deserved to win.

Don't forget Spurs have lost three times in the past month – once even to West Ham in the League Cup after leading 2-0!

The only thing in their defence is that the injuries they were accused of faking to avoid England call-ups looked genuine. They shouldn't have played against Arsenal either.

Harry Kane looked a week away from fitness, Dele Alli was not at the races. The one that did look fit – Harry Winks – had been spotted at a nightclub dancing. Yet he was saved for a substitute's role.

Christian Eriksen looked like he was still hung over from the midweek eulogies.

Besides, the way Real Madrid are stumbling with Cristiano Ronaldo showing signs of age, beating them was not quite the glorious arrival in the big time it seemed.

Has Moyes' Hammers bubble already burst?

There should be a Society for the Protection of David Moyes. Not the most popular choice as West Ham manager, the Scot's "honeymoon" lasted … 11 minutes.

That's how long it took his beleaguered Hammers to go behind at Watford and then the Hornets' fans and the twitterati swung into action.

The explosion of ridicule would flout the Geneva Convention yet it can bring down governments never mind managers.

Moyes will forever be remembered as the man who followed Alex Ferguson: think James Bond and he was George Lazenby to Sean Connery. Forgotten already is a magnificently defiant decade keeping a poverty-stricken Everton on the fringes of the top four.

Pressured into accepting the role by Fergie himself, he never had a chance. And his subsequent jobs – Real Sociedad and Sunderland – were miserable failures.

You can't fault his courage or his honesty – but he may be too brave and honest for his own good. Brave enough to go abroad and accept poisoned chalices.
In Spain, his reluctance to learn Spanish went against him.

"A bollocking in any language is still a bollocking," he said. It did not win the locals over. Nor did his claim, upon taking over Sunderland, that they were a basket case. It ensured that they were.

I am currently re-reading the biography of Bill Shankly and have just marvelled at how the great man lifted journeyman players at places like Carlisle, Huddersfield and Workington before he transformed Liverpool.

"Twenty minutes listening to Bill and you thought you could conquer the world," said one.

Moyes should take a leaf out of it – it might just rub off. If not, no half-decent club will look at him anymore.

And the owners, the former porn kings and their hard-nosed Girl Friday Karen Brady, should heed the warnings. The move to the London Olympic stadium is looking more ill-fated than ever.

We wish Moyes well but he doesn't look like the man to stop this bubble from bursting.

Bob's latest book Living the Dream is on sale at Border's, MPH, Kinokuniya and Popular bookstores. Bob will be signing copies at Sid's Pub @ Bangsar South, Jalan Kerinchi Kiri, Pantai Dalam, KL on Saturday (Nov 25) evening.