Good Week/Bad Week in the Premier League

Roy Hodgson and Roberto Mancini are drinking sarsaparilla in the last chance saloon, Chelsea look anything but butch and Gerard Houllier is doing it for the kids.
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Bad week for Roy Hodsgon, Carlo Ancelotti and Mrs. Doubtfire.

On Saturday night I, like a million others, got myself all wound up at the prospect of seeing two big men beat seven bells of shit out of each other. I stupidly got caught up in the hype and thought, in boxing parlance, that I’d see, “a right tear up.” Or, like the bloke stood next to me spitting beer out of his nostrils, “a proper fuckin’ raaahhh.”

So I drank rapidly, talked all sorts of nonsense to men I’ll never see again. Popped outside for a fag and listened to a bloke who was no taller that 4’8” tell me how he’d been a contender. Speculated that Audrey looked up for it and had a chance because oh his solid right jab and big left. Shouted that if Haye dropped his hands that A-Force might chop him down. Screamed for ‘another Kronebourg please darling,’ after the awful first round. Laughed when Audley didn’t throw a punch. Shook my head when he let Haye batter him. Went home without any desire to stay awake for Manny Pacquiao Vs Antonio Margarito. Missed a proper fuckin’ raaahhhhh.

This fight, of course, wasn’t the only mismatch of the weekend. Last Sunday, after his brace of goals had put Chelsea to the sword and got John W. Henry’s missus all moist at the gusset, Fernando Torres said the following. “We have to be able to do this against the weaker teams or it means nothing.” Now, though I’d struggle in the written part of my Kentish dialect exam (are there three As or four in row?) I’ve got an urban masters in Spanglish due to my brother living in Buenos Aires. Let me translate.

“Roy, for a start, it is hard to take you seriously as you look like a cauliflower trying to headbutt its way out of a beagle. You’re a fuckwit if you think that Paul Konchesky is a left-back worthy of the Liverpool shirt and, as we the players won the game today, if you can’t adapt your ‘two-banks-of-four’ formation to get six points out from the games against Wigan and Stoke then you should take your jowls, and the imaginary beard you keep stroking, and piss off whence you came. Miss Linda, now that I have your ear and, who knows, possibly your arse, I’d like you to tell John that Roy Hodgson would, at no other time in history, have got the job. Now that period is over, sack the pillock or this beautiful new dawn will be ruined by a man who looks like he should be on the broom at the big B&Q at Switch Island. Please, look at Man City, and hurry up, or me and Pepe will go and you won’t get to be the jamon in between two slices of pan ajo.

Man City were shit again. The fans booed, Doubtfire substituted a striker for a defensive midfielder and a tumbleweed blew across the pitch. Plus ça change.

Liverpool were turgid against Stoke, they weren’t up for the physical and that will send fans over the edge much quicker than a lack of technique. Although it may seem harsh, the faithful just don’t like Roy. They usually give managers a chance at Anfield, but the soap opera of the last two years has left the fans with no time for dilly-dallying. No time to allow a basically limited manager, who has had more success with plucky underdogs, to get a team of internationals used to playing in a in a system designed to stifle and protect.

And what about Chelsea? Had David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd been commentating, he’d have said ‘start the car’ so often that John Terry, a man with all the intelligence of a cantaloupe, would have dragged Jody Morris out of whatever crack den he’s sleeping in to hotwire every vehicle in the car park. Although they are still top and, should they get everyone fit, will probably still have a bit too much for everyone else, Carlo should be worried. Last season he had midfielders coming out of his arse. Now, he has an autocratic chairman dispensing with his number two, a bench with less experience in the dark arts than Aled Jones and, even more worryingly, ‘a lack of spirit.’ For every week he doesn’t play, Frank Lampard becomes a better player. Sunderland hammered them yesterday, without Petr Cech it could’ve been a cricket score. Who knows, maybe they all stayed up to watch the Pacquiao fight after laughing at Audley? While the Sunderland players spent the journey south dining on raw meat and taking the piss out of Brucey for wearing a quilted Barbour at his age. They were tremendous, they denied Chelsea space in midfield, targeted the makeshift defence and used the pace of Welbeck and Richardson to harass Ashley Cole into his worst performance since the hairdresser puked on him.

Oh, and Man City were shit again. The fans booed, Doubtfire substituted a striker for a defensive midfielder and a tumbleweed blew across the pitch. Plus ça change.

Good week for Gerard Houllier

When Houllier was manager of Liverpool, the Kop used to sing, “Who let the reds out? Hoo, Houllier…” He also gave Steven Gerrard his debut and won a few pots. It all went a bit sour when he signed Bruno Cheyrou and called him ‘the next Zidane’ but he was ill, so I’ll let him off. Should he continue to blood young players and commit to attacking football, his tenure at Aston Villa could be massively important for both the club and the national team. Ok, so they showed naïveté in allowing United back into it, but with Young, Bannann (Scottish), Albrighton, Agbonlahor and even the maligned Stewart Downing forming a ‘famous five’ of Ardiles proportions, Houllier is giving Villa fans something they haven’t had for a long time; excitement. He is lucky that he has this season as an elongated honeymoon period. The club was on the floor when Martin O’ Neill left, but now with him, Gary McAllister, Gordon Cowans and Kevin McDonald responsible, Villains can rightly be excited as to what the future holds. Just don’t let him buy anyone, Randy. Unless, of course, you would like to see Djibril Cisse dye his hair claret and blue.

Of course, loads of other stuff happened this weekend. Arsene Wenger must wonder how his team can lose at home to the Baggies and Newcastle, yet play with grit to win at Goodison. Spurs fans will be getting slightly worried that Gareth Bale will be sold at the end of the season if he carries on like this, and also that they can’t defend for toffee. And Mick McCarthy is one bad result away from covering his face in grease, buying a huge gun and going on the rampage in Wolverhampton City Centre, a la Michael Douglas in Falling Down.

As I said, Plus ça change.

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