Aug 29, 2008

Prem weekend preview

So here are the fixtures for the weekend ahead. Note that Manchester United, by virtue of being Champions League winners, play in the Super Cup against UEFA Cup winners Zenit St. Petersburg in Monaco tonight. It should be added for readers that don’t know that the Super Cup is about as important as an NFL pre-season game. No one – other than the sadly deluded Gerard Houllier, who was desperate to match his Liverpool reign with that of his illustrious predecessors -- takes the Super Cup seriously; though Zenit might get some mileage out of beating Man Utd.

Back in England, and two fixtures, both on Sunday, catch the eye: Aston Villa v Liverpool and Chelsea v Tottenham Hostpur. The Villa/Liverpool game is exciting for two reasons: the bad blood between the clubs that lingers because of the Gareth Barry non-transfer is obvious, but more importantly, these two teams may be competing for the final Champions League spot this season.

Both clubs are lining up left wingers before the transfer window closes on Monday. And the Milner capture, together with a smart defender signing (see 18/8 question) that flew under the radar, suggest that your humble blogger's predictions may have been a bit harsh on the Villains. And don’t let Liverpool’s results fool you – they been poor in all the games they’ve won, and squeezed out victories in the last 10 minutes each time. That kind of thing has a habit of evening out over a season.

The other team that should be challenging fourth is Spurs, who yet again are stumbling out of the gate. It would be really nice if they stopped buying so many players and gave their squad time to gel. On current form, Chelsea should walk this game. But no team except Man Utd did more to ruin Chelsea’s season last year, from the Carling Cup final, to the game that this blogger thinks did more to derail Chelsea’s run in and title chances than any other. So maybe the old hoodoo will come back to haunt the Blues.

Enjoy the weekend, everyone.


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