S,o another week, another new article for the season’s hottest new signing, thehashmark.com. Welcome one and all to The Hashmark’s newest addition, The Roaming Football Column. It’s not called the roaming football column officially (Editor’s note: It is now), that’s just what I’m calling it; it roams, it’s concerned with football and it’s a column, so it seemed an appropriate title.
My name is Arthur but you can refer to me by my football manager pseudonym: “England’s Glory (made in Sweden)”. Well, what a week it has been in football; this week we’ve seen the resurgence of the London thug brigade, namely Adebayor and Mikel, fighting it out for the league cup; I mean, come on lads, do you really care that much about the league cup? Many questions came about from that match last Sunday, mainly what’s the point in the league cup but also that perhaps Wenger isn’t so crazy pursuing his “young guns” approach. That afternoon, Arsenals squad (with an average age of 21.6 compared to a Chelsea squad of average age 27 point something) met blow for blow a side who consider themselves along with many others to be real European title contenders. For the first half at least Arsenal showed guile and pace, and most of all an ability to pass the ball in a fashion that left Lampard and Ballack almost without a touch on the ball. And while Chelsea always looked like winning what in the end was an average match with neither side producing the goods, Arsenal showed that an expensive foreign player policy isn’t always the best way to build a coherent team. Everyone of those Arsenal players may not have been born an Englishmen but they have all trained and grown up here with the influences of the Premiership seared deep into their hearts. However, Chelsea were the better side, just, and that was easily seen in the second half when Robben ran rings around the young guns and ultimately produced a quality assist for Drogba to seal the win. England’s Glory says: watch out everyone, Arsenal seem to be full of baby faced assassins.
Now to the weekend’s games. What a result for Wigan; looking like relegation fodder a month ago they have pulled out a lovely little run of wins to almost secure their Premiership status. Ok, so City aren’t in good form and have never really been a real threat in front of goal this season but nevertheless with the likes of Mpenza, Samaras and Corradi on the books it could have easily been a loss for Wigan. The fact that they kept all three of these strikers in check shows the ability of Jewell as a manager to motivate his troops even though this season had become a real drag after the highs of last year.
Man Utd are now 8-1 favorites to win the title after their 1-0 win over Liverpool on Saturday. They rode their luck for most of the match but thanks to O’Shea they sneaked a winner. Now, if not before, they clearly must have something going for them; they’re 9 points clear and look like nothing can stop them, but how the fuck are they doing it? Here’s a quick list of Manchester Utd players I don’t rate: O’Shea, Fletcher, Carrick, Brown, Evra, Saha, Richardson, Vidic, Park Ji Sung, Silvestre (well, basically the whole team). Actually, that’s not entirely true; Giggs still has the magic, Larsson is a cert one on one, Scholes can still hit them whatever anyone says and Ronaldo has been the best European player this season, without a doubt the reason Man Utd are 9 points clear. But notice that of those four, one is on loan and three are in their last seasons, at the twilight of their careers; how much longer can they cover for the likes of Carrick? (who can do absolutely fuck all). He’s a great passer you say, oh, fantastic, he’ll be able to pass it brilliantly to Fletcher who’ll lose it and then Carrick won’t be able to make the tackle because he couldn’t pin the tail on the donkey let alone position himself on the field. But hell, they’re top, so something must be right about their team. God I hate Fletcher!
Ok, now for the important business of my team of the week award. This is awarded to the team I think has performed most outstandingly over the last week. And, drum roll please, it goes to Wolves. This week saw Wolves moved up to a play off position with an outstanding 3-2 win over in-form Luton (in 20th position). There’s also an award for Wolves’s Stephen Ward, named Championship player of the month for February. Truly these are the golden boys of the black country.
And finally the round up. Poor Fabregas; he missed a sitter at one end then scored a sitter in the wrong end. All I can say by means of a consolation is at least you’re not Fletcher (simply because he’s shit). Charlton and Watford did noone any favors by drawing 2-2 on Saturday. After the match, Watford manager Aidy Boothroyd explained to the press that “it is not a 45-minute match, it’s a 90 one”. Thanks for that Aidy, glad that one’s been cleared up. Perhaps Colchester should have been listening, as they failed to turn up for the second half of their 5-1 drumming at Derby.