Monday, December 27, 2010

A few football observations

I love this Premier League season! I particularly like the way that public sympathies have shifted over the last few years, so that a lot of people are now saying 'Yay, Man Utd are winning!', as opposed to 'Bah, Man Utd are winning again!'

Chelsea are really struggling to escape the gypsy curse that Ray Wilkins inflicted them with. When they sacked their assistant coach on November 11th (probably at 11:11 in the morning), they were in a dominant position on the top of the table. Now, with only one win in the eight games they've played since then (and that one being an irrelevant European game against MSK Zilina), they're languishing in fourth and have the ignominy of Bolton Wanderers nipping at their heels.

Bolton travel to Chelsea on Wednesday night, knowing that a win at Stamford Bridge would move them ahead of Chelsea in the league. Yes, they've played a game more, but nobody cares about that when they're getting excited about league positions. This would be an ideal time for Chelsea to record a convincing win (as all logic says they should) and break the curse, giving themselves a bit of renewed confidence going into the new year. If they lose, though...

If they lose, they might well end up in sixth, with Tottenham Hotspur also moving ahead of them if they can beat Newcastle (something which they historically tend not to do). This is another of the great things about this year - Spurs have spent outrageously large sums of money in building up their squad to potential-top-four standard, but because they haven't spent quite as much money as Manchester City, everyone's still cheering them on as the plucky underdogs. It's a great position to be in.

The money thing is interesting, too - at the start of the season, everyone was hoping that Spurs would once again pip City to the all-important fourth place in the league table. Everyone was resigned to the fact that equally wealthy Chelsea were sure to end up in the top four. But now everyone's seized on the possibility of Chelsea not making it, and if the pendulum swings just a little bit farther, soon the masses will be celebrating Man City's triumph over the rich boys. Mob psychology is awesome.

And poor old Liverpool have drifted into obscurity. Their poor run of form has gone on long enough that it's no longer a story that they're languishing in mid-table. Unless they do something dramatic, they've turned into Aston Villa.

Aston Villa, of course, have turned into relegation-strugglers, but nobody cares about that.

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