So, I’m sitting here watching the Rugby World Cup final, and I don’t, in all honesty, have much of an idea about what’s going on. England are losing (of course) but, other than that, I couldn’t tell you very much about it all. Now I know how some people feel while watching the football. What’s that whistle for? Why doesn’t he just run past him? You know the sort of thing that I’m talking about. Football, then, is on the back burner today, and that’s no bad thing. For those of us that find all the houpla surrounding it somewhat nauseating, it’s something of a blessed relief.
Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool all won today. It’s only a matter of time before they grind their way back into the top four places again. The only thing that I would say about any their matches was that the Merseyside derby was a dreadful game, full of niggling fouls and, ultimately, a result that stood on a couple of decisions made in favour of, you’ve guessed it, Liverpool. Look, I’m not saying that it’s all rigged in their favour, but these referees don’t help themselves sometimes, do they? It wasn’t a particularly good day for Scott Carson – I compared him unfavourably to Joe Corrigan earlier today, and I’m starting to suspect that he might have seen this, because he contrived to get himself sent off for Aston Villa against Manchester United in the 5.15 “Match For The USA Audience”.
There are only two interesting stories in the Premier League at the moment, and one of them (Tottenham Hotspur) weren’t playing today, so my personal highlight of the afternoon award goes to Manchester City, who are continuing to upset the great and the good by doggedly holding on to third place in the table. It won’t last, of course, but we should enjoy it while it does (and I’m saying all this in spite of Mr Shinawatra). They beat Birmingham City 1-0 this afternoon, which leads me to the following question: How good a club coach is Sven Goran Eriksson? Seriously! If he can get Manchester City, world famous as one of English football’s patented “Comedy Failure” clubs into the top three in the Premier League, he can do anything. Why he wasn’t snapped up by someone bigger is beyond me.
For some reason, I hadn’t looked at the Championship table for quite a while prior to earlier this evening, but I’m pleased to be able to report that it’s much the same as last season – everybody is beating everyone else, with the exception of Watford (who are beating everyone and are six points clear at the top of the table after a 1-0 win against Hull City) and Queens Park Rangers (who drew today, and are slowly catching up with the rest of the stragglers). A good example of how random everything is in that division is this: Leicester City are currently in seventeenth place in the table, but with two games in hand on everyone else. If they were to win those two games in hand, they would find themselves in fifth place in the table, and only three points off an automatic promotion place.
The bottom two divisions have a similar feel to them. Leyton Orient appear to have arrested their recent collapse (they beat Port Vale at Brisbane Road this afternoon). Leeds United were in my home town this afternoon, beating Brighton & Hove Albion 1-0 at The Withdean (I went to the shops just after 1.00, and there was a heavy police presence at the railway station, though, curiously, there were no travelling supporters to be seen anywhere. Strange. If you’re looking for proof that God doesn’t exist, then you need look no further than the bottom of the League Two table, where Franchise scored yet another late goal to pick up three points at Hereford and go four points clear at the top of the table. All in all, not a good weekend.