In one of my early blogs, I waxed lyrical about how I go through obsession phases and vowed that golf wouldn't be one, and I might add that it wasn’t. I played until mid September before Saturday league football started again and free time became precious. I never did manage to break 90 but rest assured the clubs will be out again come April and hopefully sooner than that.
What did appear to be nothing more than a fad was this very blog. Having smashed my way through six in four to five weeks, nothing has been forthcoming in the last three and half months. As a result of rather indirectly selling my soul to Murdoch, the truth is that I’ve not had the time to put any thoughts down on paper and for a couple of months i barely had time to watch as much football, NFL, golf, or cricket as I normally would.
The workload continues to increase but as my last blog post back in August focused on what I thought would be of interest in this year’s Premier League, a good way to get blogging again would be to see how the five topics that were supposed to keep everyone interested this season are progressing.
1. Javier Hernandez
I’m going to come off extremely biased here but I simply don’t care; this guy looks the complete package so far. Chicharito has seven goals this season, including the winners at Stoke in the league and Wolves in the Carling Cup. His first goal at Stoke however is the one that sticks in most people’s mind, as he somehow managed to arch his back and place a header into the back of the net using the back of his head. I mentioned a few months back that I was really looking forward to seeing him play with Rooney, however young Wayne’s well documented issues on and off the field have meant that this partnership hasn’t really got started. Even without Rooney though, Hernandez has blossomed into United’s most likely threat if a goal is needed.
2. They say in America that parity usually rules supreme in the NFL, and for the first time in a long time, the Premier League is starting to head in that direction. The standards may have dropped somewhat but overall this makes for a more exciting league. Chelsea currently top the table and have four defeats in late November. FOUR DEFEATS!!!!. Last year they had six in total. But Chelsea isn’t the only team to have odd results. Sunderland who ran out 3-0 victors at the Champions ten days ago, had two weeks previously been battered 5-1 at their biggest rivals Newcastle. Newcastle themselves were beaten by the same score line at Bolton (this years surprise package) this past Saturday. West Brom have travelled to the Emirates and won and taken a point at Old Trafford, yet managed to be beaten 3-0 at home by a Stoke team who are on a three game unbeaten run having lost their previous five. One thing that does stay constant, West Ham are rubbish. Their performance at Anfield last Saturday evening was nothing short of a joke and they are surely dead certainties to go down.
3. My early season prediction looked something like this.
At the moment the table looks like this
With Liverpool currently in ninth and so inconsistent they can’t be trusted to put together two wins against teams in my Saturday league, the top six will more than likely stay that way, but I would swap Bolton and Spurs around. Bolton are a completely different side under Owen Coyle and are playing some great football that has got them big results recently against Spurs, Newcastle and Wolves. Plus they were one kick away from an impressive win at Goodison a few weeks back; I can see them sticking around.
As for the title race itself, at 12.45 last Saturday I had Arsenal, at. 1.45 I was ready to sign into Oddschecker and find the best price, at 2.40 I didn’t know what to think. Chelsea then went to St Andrews and got beat, whilst United plodded past Wigan without much fuss or fanfare. I’ve talked about Chelsea already but as for United, they hardly look inspiring yet somehow they remain undefeated. This is not a team that would win the title in any other season but this year with the other team slipping up anything is possible. City? Well they have talent but as I’ve said before I don’t think Mancini will bring them the title or even a trophy. Winning 4-1 away at Fulham was a step in the right direction but any manager who brings on Gareth Barry and thinks it will bring them a goal isn’t convincing me. As for Spurs, they may be the most exciting team in the league in terms of entertainment and they have made the best signing of the season in Van Der Vaart, (excuse me i’m just thinking of him playing every week at Old Trafford....... sighs), however they are more susceptible to a draw or defeat at home to a so called lesser team and so Harry’s dreams of a title will have to wait. As a famous commentator once said “It’s Up For Grabs Now”.
4. The blue half of Merseyside once again had a terrible start, blowing my prediction of them making the Champions League right out of the water. Losing Rodwell at the start of the season didn’t help a huge amount, but they have lost just one of their last eight games, the 2-1 home defeat to Arsenal. Whilst that run sounds impressive, too many draws in that sequence have meant that they haven’t really climbed the table as much as they would like. They have two tough away games ahead of them at Chelsea and City, places they managed to take four points in total from last season, and with some very winnable home games coming up Moe from the Simpsons, Albert Steptoe and the rest of the toffees will be climbing up the table, I’m still pretty confident of that. They may even finish higher than the red half of Merseyside.
5. I owe the people and supporters of Blackpool an apology. Currently residing in 12thplace they already have more points than I thought they would amass the entire season. Ian Holloway has brought with him a much needed breath of fresh air in terms of post match interviews and he has also brought with him a squad with a huge amount of fighting spirit as demonstrated by their "heroic in defeat" performances against City and Villa and of course their famous win at Anfield. With the talented Charlie Adam patrolling the midfield, and Luke Varney and Marlon Harewood coming up with some big goals, including Varney’s candidate for goal of the season against Wolves, the Tangerines have a great chance of staying up. And here’s hoping they do as a lack of cash means I can’t make the United trip there in a couple of weeks.