One of these areas of vague knowledge actually seems to have led to an accurate prediction about Manchester United losing the Manchester derby a couple of weeks ago and by three goals, no less. Despite a bit more league success over the last couple of weeks, Utd remain perilously close to mid-table obscurity, seventh in the league only one place above Southampton for goodness’ sake. Having now been knocked out of the Champions League by Bayern Munich, it’s not looking good. I feel pretty sorry for Moyes, there seems to be a bit of chatter about him being rubbish, but he must have been alright to get the Man United gig in the first place, and you’d probably expect a bit of regrouping in the wake of Fergie’s departure. Still, what do I know? That’s rhetorical, by the way.
I was also a bit surprised to reacquaint myself with the league table to find Liverpool (a team that I associate with lots of people my age supporting, despite a complete absence of geographical association, because they were quite good in the 80s) riding high at the top. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride, Liverpool have finished in the top three seven times in the last 18 seasons, but not actually topped a league since 1990. Could this be their year? I’m going to reserve judgement until after their game with Man City on Sunday, because I’m a coward like that.
Where I seem to have come unstuck a bit is that prediction about Sunderland, now bottom of the league, escaping relegation. They do still have two games in hand and it’s still looking pretty tight at the bottom of the table, but with games yet to play against Everton, Man City, Chelsea and Man United, sorry Sunderland, but I take back everything I said. See you at the Valley next year (assuming Charlton don’t get relegated, too *shifts nervously*). Nonetheless, they’ll be hoping Fulham continue their spiral into the abyss by losing to Norwich on Saturday. Presumably in disarray following the sacking of Canaries’ manager Chris Hughton at the beginning of the week, another impassioned speech by Delia Smith might be their only hope.
Speaking of coming unstuck, it’s all gone horribly wrong for Newcastle since Old Blue Eyes went postal, losing their last three games by not insignificant goal margins. But in ninth place and with not many games left this season, there’s literally nothing to play for. I guess Pardew’s just happy to have kept his job, given that headbutting (or even “sort of pushing someone away with your head”) is generally speaking, considered socially unacceptable at your place of work. Funny old world, that football.
Elsewhere, Tottenham remain in contention for that Europa League place but realistically, will probably get no higher up the table. I imagine Spurs fans’ noses would be a bit out of joint if they couldn’t scrape a win against sixteenth-placed West Brom at the weekend, but let’s face it, where Spurs are concerned, stranger things have happened.
That’s my summary of the main comings and goings this week, use it sparingly. And by “line-on”, I’m almost certain my dad meant “line-out”, which happens in rugby not football, just as an FYI.
Can Poyet’s Sunderland survive the drop? Who will win Sunday’s title showdown? What next for Manchester United?
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