Dec 14, 2007

Premiership Preview (From An Actual Brit)

A workmate of mine was kind enough to write up a preview of this weekend's Premiership games. Smoods is a proper Brit, unlike me who just pretends to be one every once in awhile (for authenticity's sake, mate! Okay, I'll stop.) Here it is. Enjoy!

Weekend preview
How much money is enough money? If you have enough brain cells to rub together then you know the answer is: it’s never enough. That’s the attitude of the Premiership’s overlords anyhow who, not content hoovering up millions of pounds in revenue every year, are eager to find more ways to add to their pile of filthy lucre. To these modern day Uncle Scrooges there is one answer: no such thing as too much hype.

That’s right, folks. The fixture mavens at the FA have taken the hype machine to its logical conclusion and reserved a day exclusively for the top four teams. It’s safe to assume they think they’re being really clever--and the ratings will probably back them up. But then again, who thinks popularity equals smarts is reading this at home right now watching their Titantic DVD and listening to Celine Dion. So, you know.

The view from here is that the Prem has got it ass-backwards. Highlighting the fact that 16 of the 20 Prem teams are basically shit is no way to build long-term respect; it’s a cheap money grab by cheap, mostly fat, middle aged men. It’s this sort of mentality that ensures English football will soon be a numbing cartel at the top, with all other teams starting each season playing for fifth place. And please, don’t tell me that Everton and Tottenham cracked the top four recently. Those were just teases. Spurs are having a season of misery matched only by the Atlanta Falcons, with the Martin Jol fiasco, the fears around Ledley King’s career, the definitive end of Paul Robinson’s, Gareth Bale’s injury and Dimitar Berbatov’s wandering eye (seriously, didn’t Dracula teach us never to trust anyone born east of the Danube?) turning apparent contenders into nothing more than pathetic pretenders.

As for Everton…their captain is a Manchester United reject who is the most vilified England player of the past decade for his tackle against Romania that saw England turfed out of Euro2000. Unlike another England player who fucked up in a big tournament Neville has never redeemed himself on the big stage, lacks Beckham’s good looks, and plays in the shadow of his big brother. As Eli Manning will tell you, playing the same sport as big bro will hurt your career, especially so for Phil, who’s brother ain’t no Peyton. Phil’s not even the alpha dog in his own family, how can you take him seriously as a team captain? We shouldn’t. Everton are doomed with him as their leader.

On to the games:

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Birmingham v Reading, 15:00
Alex Moyes seems on paper to be a good choice by Birmingham owner and pornster in chief David Gold. On the other hand, there are a helluva lot of Rangers fans who hate him; not a good sign, and certainly not the qualities you’d want in your messiah (as the English like to refer to managers and players they think will get their teams out of the shit). Reading, meanwhile, are managed by own of the best English managers of the past 20 years, who for some reason never gets the respect he deserves. Steve Coppell’s Crystal Palace team of the late 80s and early 90s were a terrific unit, full of future superstars, including Ian Wright, Gareth Southgate, Nigel Martyn and, er, Alan Pardew. Reading should win this one.

Derby v Middlesbrough, 15:00
It would be greatly amusing to see the Boro team that beat Arsenal get thrashed by Derby, just so we could play that stupid game where we claim Derby would hammer the Gooners. Kudos for Southgate for trying to take Steve McClaren’s lump of turd and turning it into a free-flowing team. It’ll take more than a year, though.

Fulham v Newcastle, 17:15
Two teams who started the season with high hopes under new, heralded managers. Fulham always seem to hover around 15th place regardless of manager, putting in the occasional inspiring performance, while Newcastle…man, that’s just some comedy gold. Given that these two teams have shipped 53 goals in 32 games this season, there’s a fair chance this will be high-scoring.

Man City v Bolton, 15:00
Let’s see :Sven’s fancy-Dan foreigners cope on a cold, wet afternoon up north against the cloggers of Bolton. Smart money says they won’t. Bolton are having a surprising renaissance under Gary Megson, though that may just be relief caused by getting out from under the tyranny of Little Sam.

Portsmouth v Tottenham, 15:00
Pompey are the pleasant surprise of the season so far. They’re also in for the shock of the season when 96% of their squad head to Africa for the Nations Cup in January. They’ll be lucky to beat Wigan during that period, so they should get all the points they can in the meantime. Unfortunately for them, Spurs seem to be turning their season around, though with Robinson in goal you never can tell. Even the best teams lost at Fortress Fratton Park, so what chance Spurs?

Sunderland v Aston Villa, 15:00
A lock for most boring game of the weekend.

West Ham v Everton, 15:00
West Ham’s performance in the next few seasons will be a test to see whether Alan Curbishly is a good manager or just some geezer who got incredibly lucky at Charlton. We all have one good novel in us, so we’re told. Maybe we all have one good stint in management, too, except that Curbs was the only person smart enough to hang on to his for 15 years. Everton, despite Neville Neville’s son leading them, will hope for a repeat of their midweek win.

Wigan v Blackburn, 15:00
If someone somehow scores in the Sunderland-Villa game, this will be the game to watch for all lovers of putrid hoofing. Rovers have hit a bad patch, which raises worries over their chances to spank Wigan the way Wigan deserve to be spanked.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Arsenal v Chelsea, 16:00
Arsenal would have loved to have played Chelsea a couple of months ago, when the whiny bitches were still putting their handbags away after ensuring Jose Mourinho got sacked and while Cesc Fabregas was playing the best midfield on the planet of anyone not named Kaka (which, thankfully, is most of us). Now, though, it’s a different proposition. Avram Grant has the team playing well (enough) again and Cesc is out, though rumors are he’ll start on Sunday. He’ll need to if Arsenal are to avoid losing this one.

Liverpool v Man Utd, 13:30
This fixture is English football’s equivalent of Red Sox vs Yankees – two teams that dominate the media coverage of their sport to an unhealthy degree with self-satisfied, self-absorbed fan bases who think they have the right to sign any and all available star players and who complain about anything less than a championship. This in two cities that the rest of the country really wishes would get swept away in a vicious tsunami. They also are two of the best teams in the country, damn them. This will probably be a score draw, but if United have any pretensions at asserting their right to reclaim the title, they need to whip out their manhoods and slap the scousers in the face with them on Sunday. Now that would be worth getting out of bed at 8.30 for (the time the games on the U.S. East coast).

No comments:

Post a Comment