A DISMAL Manchester derby remembered only for a fake Marouane Fellaini headbutt — days after Lionel Messi’s majesty settled a true Spanish Clasico.
The great Jose Mourinho v Pep Guardiola head-to-head petering out into a degrading scrap for fourth place.
A meltdown at Arsenal, whose two best players seem to have downed tools and whose manager will be rewarded for years of decline with a new two-year deal.
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And on the horizon, a Champions League final already guaranteed to be without English representation for a fifth consecutive season.
This was supposed to be the season in which the Premier League reasserted itself as the greatest show on Earth, thanks to an influx of big- name managerial A-listers.
Instead, three clubs who spent like drunken seamen last summer — Arsenal and the two Manchester rivals — appear to be fighting it out to prove themselves as the league’s biggest flops.
Sunday will bring the latest edition of what used to be England’s red-letter fixture — Arsenal v United — and the latest head-to-head between its most bitter managerial enemies, Arsene Wenger and Mourinho.
Yet there will be no fire and brimstone from Vieira and Keane, no splendour from Henry or Ronaldo, no true spite like Van Nistelrooy and Keown, or the pizza-flinging battle of the buffet.
It will merely be a scrap between the fifth and sixth best teams in a largely ordinary league — with bucketloads of ditchwater speculation over whether the two managers will shake hands.
With 28 of the 30 fixtures between the league’s ‘big six’ now complete, few will live long in the memory.
Liverpool’s 4-3 win at Arsenal on the opening weekend; the start of the first Manchester derby when things looked shiny and new; United being monstered on Mourinho’s return to Stamford Bridge; Dele Alli downing Chelsea at the Lane and City’s lunatic 1-1 draw with Liverpool.
Most of the rest have been forgettable and several, including City v United, absolute turkeys.
The Guardiola v Mourinho build-up of last summer seems a long way off now.
Jurgen Klopp, another Hollywood boss, has fared better in the North West, but an inconsistent Liverpool will clinch a Champions League spot at least partly due to the ineptitude of their big-spending rivals.
Whatever the moody billboards and brash TV trailers told us last summer, football’s not about the managers, really — it’s about players.
And for all its TV billions, the Premier League doesn’t have enough great ones.
Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and N’Golo Kante have been worthy recipients of the last three annual individual awards but they aren’t exactly global superstars.
Those with Tinseltown price tags don’t tend to live up to them.
Paul Pogba, Mesut Ozil, Anthony Martial, Raheem Sterling and John Stones have yet to do so.
Of those in the £40million-plus bracket, only City’s Kevin De Bruyne has approached any sort of value for money.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic sprinkled much-needed stardust on post-Fergie Old Trafford but the Swede is 35 and now has a battle on his hands to beat a cruciate injury.
So with Chelsea surely home and hosed — four points clear of their only contenders, Spurs — it’s time to ask which of the also-rans have been the Premier League’s greatest flops.
City, who spent £169m last summer and whose manager, Guardiola, earns a world-record £15m per year?
United, who spent £149m and whose boss, Mourinho, equalled Guardiola’s pay deal when he arrived in Manchester?
Or Arsenal, who kicked the habit of a lifetime and shelled out £91m, and whose manager, Wenger, is the fourth-highest-paid on the planet?
Last Sunday, all three clubs were busily staking a claim to be regarded as the league’s most disappointing.
Wenger’s inability to fire up his players, especially Ozil, for a crucial North London derby at Tottenham said it all about the need for a managerial change — not that it will come when the Frenchman decides his own future.
City’s failure to defeat a doomed Middlesbrough, either home or away in the league, proved they are not even the flat-track bullies they are sometimes cracked up to be.
They will be trophyless and current form suggests they are by no means assured of fourth place, no matter how cosy their run-in might look.
A year on from the fanfare that greeted him, Guardiola’s revolution is yet to get off the ground.
And United’s tenth home league draw of the season, against struggling Swansea, proved Mourinho has also failed to significantly progress the club beyond the torpor of Louis van Gaal’s reign.
An unusually easy Europa League pathway might allow the Portuguese a second trophy to add to their EFL Cup win and progress into next season’s Champions League.
But you wouldn’t put your house on a semi-final victory over Celta Vigo — especially given the way Spanish clubs, even the mid-table ones, have dominated the English for years now.
So my money is on City being the biggest under-achievers.
But who knows what depths the Arsenal v United clash might sink to yet?