The week in brief
Title race lasts for all of ten minutes… Fulham comes unstuck – Hodgson is every critics hero… World Cup squads announced… Domenech leaves it to the stars… World Cup barometer starting to rise… Harry is Kewell for the Cup (you can smell the headline)…
News of the Week
It really didn’t give the papers much to talk about, but Chelsea crowned themselves as kings of England with an empathic drubbing of Wigan, 8-0. The media needs something to talk about, however, and those tribute pieces, or season in review feature articles just weren’t going to cut it. Instead, the media seems to have switched to World Cup mode. The spin doctors have certainly had a busy time of it, producing probably the story of the week, and then the biggest non-story of the week. News came out of everywhere that English captain John Terry was set to miss the biggest show on Earth following a training ground mishap and his foot. Forums were prompted into a frenzy, and the English chances seemed to go into somewhat of a meltdown. But have no fear, Terry declared himself fit the very next day, robbing the papers of something to talk about. Indeed, Terry is set to line up for Chelsea in the FA cup final. In an interesting sub-plot, the skipper’s old man came out in court and admitted to drug dealing. Great role model there.
Play of the Week
It wasn’t pretty, nor particularly stunning, but Diego Forlan’s touch and Paul Konchesky’s deflection was the clear standout for play of the week. It may have happened in the quiet Hamburg, but you could see the goal meant a lot to both sets of players after the game. I wonder if that might signal the end for the South American veteran. There were slim pickings this week and the only real competition came from Pim Verbeek, as we saw him give a brief life story of every player announced in the Australian world cup squad as the payers names and photos were projected onto a Qantas branded 747 – quality.
Pick of the Weekend
I just want to direct your attention to last week’s Saturday Sugar quickly. Notice in this very section my prediction of a 7-0 Chelsea win. Not bad. Not bad.
Anyway, there’s not much option here, but the FA cup final isn’t bad viewing. This week debate raged about the merits of the competition amongst England. Many are arguing that the cup has lost its magic. With declining percentages of home-grown Pommy players, that special feeling seems to have gone. These guys just seem to have short memories. Who could forget the matchup between bitter rivals Leeds and Man United this year. That was the perfect advertisement for the cup and the dreams of smaller teams who push for “cupsets” against the giants of Europe. The fact that Portsmouth continue to excel in the knockout competition, despite their failings in the league, also attests to the value of the FA cup. Despite the big money available in other competitions, the FA cup is still a worthwhile venture in passthesugar’s opinion. Why don’t you disagree below (comments, stupid)? Anyway, Chelsea are short priced favourites in this one. They’ll be desperate to snatch the double and rub it in to those Reds just a little further. You’d always hope that Avram Grant can inspire something special, but it’s difficult to picture anything other than a drubbing at Wembley.
Just for an interesting quote to give you an idea of the debate from one of my colleagues (lol), Eurosport editor, Lee Walker:
“I’ve been to five FA Cup finals, watched another 20 or so on the box but Saturday’s match will be the third final in a row that I have passed on. When I was a kid, the only games on TV were the FA Cup final and the World Cup – it was a massive occasion, but now we have saturation coverage. But it’s not just whimsical nostalgia. Even 10 years ago it would be unheard of for teams to field anything less than their best XI, now you’ve got the likes of Arsene Wenger fielding a third choice defence at Stoke in an attempt to do just enough to get through. Money rules – the Premier League is king for managers, the Champions League has even greater significance and fans don’t turn up in the early rounds because the FA Cup is not included on their already pricey season tickets. Andy Gray said during the battle for fourth between Manchester City and Tottenham that it was a bigger game than the 1981 FA Cup final – I don’t agree but if you asked the fans of those clubs they probably would.”
Quotes of the week
“You can stick Father Christmas at the back alongside me at the last minute if it works” This remarkable gem comes from big bad Rio Ferdinand in response to Jamie Carragher’s inclusion in the England squad for the World Cup. Just imagine…
“I am not one for dancing on the table. I am not a very good dancer.”
Didier Deschamps reacts after Marseille surprisingly take the cookies in Ligue 1.
“I’d rather do that than build chicken sheds no-one wanted!”
Ian Holloway has become one of the more respected managers in England after switching careers from selling hen houses (whatever they are) to steering Blackpool to the verge of Premier League action.
“Easy questions please, because my level of wine is high! I don’t know if I’ll be able to go home.”
This has appeared before on footballfortheday, and it will probably appear again. It’s Carlo Ancelloti, btw.
“The missus was going ‘who are you voting for’ and I said ‘I’m not voting for anyone’. I’m just going to take my voting card and I’m going to put in massive letters ‘Tevez is God’ and throw it in the polling station. I’m voting Tevez.”
Noel Gallagher shows his true colours.
“At 68, when you go to sleep at night, all you want to do is wake up in the morning.”
Sir Alex really is trying every excuse in the book. Putting it into perspective like this doesn’t really trivialise the Chelsea win as he may have hoped. He was gracious in defeat however.
Get me my cab money
Take the good odds that Chelsea will win by more than 3. Maybe you could always flutter something on Mourinho and his boys over in Italy to seal the deal there too.
If you’re not watching sport, you should be watching…
This may not be to everyone’s fancy, but it’s still a fantastic watch. This should become the new dictionary definition of commitment. Apparently this was their last game at the Saltergate… I’ve actually changed my opnion about this a little, since when I first wrote the piece. Not sure if I’m such a fan anymore…but it’s worth watching. It’s a good strike, mind you…