It means, quite simply, that for the first time this season, Manchester United and Chelsea have failed to win a game whilst Manchester City march on unbeaten and undrawn, (is that a word?). This in turn, in the grand scheme of things, means absolutely nothing!
No doubt the press will be rattling on about how Manchester City are the best team in the league and how they will win it at a canter. Also about how José Mourinho needs to sort out the Manchester United problems and how Antonio Conte will have to tighten up the Chelsea defence.
All, some or none of these statements may be true but, at this stage of the season it is irrelevant to everybody except the press, who need to sell newspapers, and the fans, who just want to read about their clubs.
This weekend has seen just the FOURTH game played for each of the clubs in the Premier League and the fourth weekend has never, ever been a decisive weekend in the history of all of mankind since time immemorial or even when Adam was a lad.
In recent years Sky TV, amongst others, has started showing the Premier League table after ONE game, using the excuse that “the fans enjoy seeing it”. This season, for a very short time, Hull City were top of the Premier League, so it is probably true that some of their fans took a photo of the table for posterity, but I fail to see of what relevance it is to the vast majority of supporters who are only interested in where their team finishes the season, not where it begins it!
In antediluvian days, before even the Premier League began, it was a slightly less relevant weekend as the clubs used to play 42 games, (on sub standard pitches, in horrible weather, with a heavy leather ball and without the managers complaining about how tired the players were every week), so nobody really bothered about league positions until Christmas.
To this day the same importance is placed on a team’s status at the turn of the year only now we have the press and TV media dissecting every aspect of every game, every week.
The number of televised games means that nobody need miss out, particularly when supporting a bigger club which will be screened more often than others. Sky Sports, BT Sport, Bein Sport, Astra Sport and MIO are just five channels which come to mind for watching live football whenever it is being played and these are just the ones of which I am aware. This does not take into account cup competitions or internationals which will also be shown on ITV and/or BBC.
This has meant that every football fan around the world, even those not attending the games, has become an expert. Now that TV offers instant replays and countless ex-footballers, some who were good, some who were not, offering differing opinions on every refereeing decision, every tactical selection, every substitution, every mistake, every goal, every miss and every save, there is no reason to have to wait for the Sunday papers to drop through the letterbox to find out how your favourite team played, as used to be the case.
Since the advent of social media it is now possible for a City fan in Manchester to argue with an Arsenal fan in Beijing about the relative merits and demerits of their respective clubs. The world is much smaller than it used to be!
When Brian Clough said that showing live football on TV would be the death of the game, it was one of the very few times that he was wrong. He wasn’t to know the amount of money that would be poured into guaranteeing that it was successful and he probably didn’t anticipate a worldwide audience. He just thought that people would get fed up with the amount of stoppages and time-wasting which, when just showing highlights, are all edited out.
Live football is now a way of life and it is watched by so many people that there is always a collective groan whenever there is an international break, or a game is postponed for whatever reason. It is akin to addicts being separated from their particular source for a short period of time. Following a break or a close season, the game is welcomed back into our homes like a long lost relative returning from outer space.
So, back to the question and to reiterate, it all means nothing. It won’t really mean anything for a while yet. Currently, the game is a mild diversion from what is happening in the rest of the world. It is not until Christmas that it becomes more important than what is happening in the rest of the world.
By that time either Hillary “the crook” Clinton or Donald “the dictator” Trump will be President of the USA. It seems that football isn’t alone in not living in the real world!