Well, it really is down to the wire in the Premier League, with only one game left to play.
On Monday night, Crystal Palace inexplicably bothered to put up a valiant fight (just spiteful if you ask me) and drew with Liverpool. With only two points between Liverpool and Manchester City, who crushed Everton’s dreams of a place in Europe last weekend, and whooped Aston Villa 4-0 last night, there is no telling how this season is going to end. Liverpool will play Newcastle at the weekend, who will surely lose? City play similarly underwhelming side, West Ham. I just don’t think I can call it (Man City are going to win).
If they win the league, Manchester City do so under the cloud of reports that the late, great Mystique would have referred to as so, so, so scandalous. Yes, apparently UEFA suspect Man City of having done a MASSIVE BAD by flagrantly breaking their Financial Fair Play rules, and are about to lay the footballing smackdown of a £50m fine and restrictions on their Champion’s League squad. These rules, which came into force in September 2009 COINCIDENTALLY a year after City were bought by Abu Dhabi United Group Investment and Development Ltd, are supposed to stop clubs spending more money than they make to secure big name players. The hope is that as a by-product of this an extremely wealthy HYPOTHETICAL team, I don’t know, let’s call them Shmanchester Shmity, owned for example, by a rich Arab Consortium, is prevented from basically buying an incredible squad that no one else can compete with. Oh, Man City, this is awkward.
Meanwhile, in a league awash with cash and corresponding decent players from outside our own green and pleasant land, Chief Executive of the FA and one time exposer of sexed-up dossiers, Greg Dyke, has been pondering how to promote home-grown talent in the football leagues. One solution may be to have a league, nestled betwixt League 2 and the Conference, consisting of the B-sides of Premier League and Championship sides. Hang about, Greg, isn’t the idea to be good enough to make it into the A-Team? It’s all so confusing. Hopefully former Charlton Athletic giant, Danny Mills (why did the BBC leave that out of their write up of him? As if an association with Leeds United reflects any better?) and other members of the FA’s England Commission will help him figure it out.
At the bottom of the table, it’s all over for Cardiff and Fulham who will both wave goodbye to the Premier League at the end of the season and enjoy cheaper tickets and fewer spectators in the Championship, come August. Former Fulham owner and widely-regarded reasonable human being, Mohammed Al Fayed, claims that the removal of the Michael Jackson statue from Craven Cottage was the root cause of the club’s relegation. According to Al Fayed “it was a big mistake” by owner, Shahid Kahn, “But he paid for it now”. Well, it was a thing of great beauty and a real source of inspiration for the players, I’ve no doubt – seems pretty plausible to me.
Sunderland continue to confuse me, but they’ve done it, because they also sneakily had a game in hand. In theory, their victory over West Bromwich last night could yet undo them, though with a comparatively health goal difference of -15 to their -32, it’s going to be third-from-bottom Norwich who are sent packing when they play Arsenal at the weekend. I’ll be hoping that Arsenal, who have already secured their place in the Champion’s League next season, will do the right thing and lose. By 18 goals.
That’s all this week. I reckon I would genuinely believe you knew about football if you repeated any of the above to me in the pub. Isn’t learning fun?
Is there time for one more twist in the title race on Sunday afternoon? Will Manchester City’s celebrations be marred by the Financial Fair Play furore? What do you think of Greg Dyke’s latest proposals?
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