Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a tendency to smile even when his club lose games, it isn't a lack of respect, it is just him. He's chirpy and an optimist and it feels that ever since he took over at Manchester United 25 months ago the press have been on his back not having much regard for him at all.
Sometimes Manchester United have played up to that part going through terrible spells of form, players not giving 100% and Solskjaer's tactics have been broken down in a 24/7 football world, where everyone now has a say. Perhaps the Norwegians reputation as a manager hasn't helped. Does coaching Molde sit on anyone's CV that well? Does taking Cardiff down to the Championship help matters? But this week the chirpy guy from Norway who has Manchester United's blood running through his veins has just knocked the champions Liverpool 'off their perch' to take a reference shot from Sir Alex Ferguson. Manchester United are top of the Premier League. And it means an awful lot.
United have won 11 games, two more than Liverpool and they have flown by the Reds with the same games played. The midweek win over Burnley confirmed it and was United's 3rd win in a row. On Sunday they could go six points clear of Liverpool but they will have to do what no team has done in 2 years in the league and that is win at Anfield in what should be a mouth watering clash. United and Solskjaer have made a statement at the weekend they could underline it in permanent marker.
Another club hot on the tails of Liverpool is Manchester City who are playing well again and are now in 3rd place with 32 points and just one behind Liverpool, and the bad news for Jurgen Klopp's team is that City have a game in hand. City will also be at home to Crystal Palace where they will be expected to win and this weekend could either be one where Liverpool reinforce their title credentials or hit the earth at warp speed and see their dreams of back to back titles slightly scattered.
And then there is Liverpool's fierce rivals Everton who might be the outsiders for the league title but are not giving up. Everton have pulled off some terrific away wins this season beating the likes of Leicester and Tottenham and Wolves can be added to that list too. They are just 4 points from the top and are currently only being denied a top 4 place because of goal difference to Leicester.
To win the Premier League odds:
Manchester City 1.67, Liverpool 4.00, Manchester United 7.00, Tottenham 26.00, Leicester 45.00.
Premier League: Team of the week:
De Gea, Cancelo, Dias, Keane, Stones, De Bruyne, Pogba, Iwobi, Neves, Kane, Foden
Last weekend the Premier League took a break to welcome in the third round of the FA Cup and there were some surprises. Chorley knocked out Derby and Crawley beat Leeds 3-0. Marine in the 8th tier of football did well to lose only 5-0 against Tottenham, but all in all the big teams all made it to the next round.
The draw has been made and the stand out ties will see Manchester United play Liverpool just days after their league meeting. Chorley in the sixth tier will take on Wolves, Fulham will play Burnley in all Premier League match and there will be a repeat of the 1966 final when Everton play Sheffield Wednesday.