The Premier League is an absolute mess. On Tuesday, some wind was knocked out of the sails of Leicester City, as they struggled to draw at home against relegation battlers West Bromwich Albion. That gave Tottenham Hotspur a chance to go top, which they didn't take; they got badly outplayed on Wednesday. So did Arsenal and Manchester City. All of the fifth-through-eighth-placed teams won. This league looks like a lottery.
Chaos reigns. Everything you know is wrong.
After Arsenal lost to Manchester United over the weekend, a bunch of Proper Football Men in their 40s and 50s remarked that the Gunners had no leaders. Charlie Adam remarked that it was true, Arsenal didn't have any vocal leader on the pitch over the last couple of seasons. This sparked a big global conversation on the subject, featuring a very good point by Michael Cox. Yes, Arsenal have no leaders, but do Spurs and Leicester? If no one has any leaders, then it doesn't matter.
And then one day later, Spurs and Arsenal get thoroughly embarrassed. Most believe them to be the two best teams in the Premier League, and they disgusted their fans with their performances against West Ham and Swansea, respectively. Not only did they both lose, but they both looked like they weren't really up for their games, instead looking ahead to this weekend's derby. 2-0 to the LEADERSHIP IS A LIE camp.
Meanwhile, having the league's most notable leader didn't do Manchester City any good. They got steamrolled by Liverpool, which even surprised Jürgen Klopp. 3-0.
Manchester United and Stoke City joined West Ham and Liverpool in getting all three points. LOOK AT THIS RIDICULOUS TABLE. The race for fourth place is now, somehow, just as wide open as the title race. It's honestly not out of the question that United could put a run together and win the league. This is dumb dumb dumb dumb, and it's amazing.
Here's how Arsenal lost
Here's one for the "LEADERSHIP MATTERS" camp. Ashley Williams, proper captain. 3-1.
Juan Mata is a good free kick taker
Juan Mata's had a bad season. But all of Manchester United's players whom we've seen wear the captain's armband regularly were injured, so it went to him. He scored this free kick. 3-2.
Michail Antonio is the celebration king
While Antonio does not wear the armband for West Ham -- that would be Mark Noble -- he's certainly a leader for following up his Homer Simpson dance by doing The Carlton on Wednesday. We think this is a big plus for the leadership narrative.
LEADERSHIP MATTERS -- 3
LEADERSHIP IS A LIE -- 3
It's a tie, which means LEADERSHIP IS A LIE wins, because the tiebreaker is that nothing matters.