So Sunderland are down. I think I can speak on behalf of the Premier League when I say “about f*****g time”, no? Obviously, it was a sight to behold watching them survive from the death, then doing it again, and again. Sometimes, though, you have to put the dying creature out of its misery. Who was the man to valiantly step up and do this? The only man in football with a reputation declining quicker than that of Sunderland – Mr.David Moyes.
What Are You Like Moysey?
It’s quite incredible that only a matter of years ago, ‘Moyesy’ was considered one of the best manager’s in the league. The Scot was ‘hot property’ and was so highly rated that he managed to rob himself the Manchester United hot-seat. That went well didn’t it. Then he was feeling a bit exotic and travelled to the Basque Country to take the reigns of Real Sociedad. The fact his stint in Spain was known for the time he took some crisps from a fan in the stands says all you need to know about that tenure.
For Sunderland, Moyes looked like a good appointment. Good track record as the underdog and capable of building a project with limited resources. When the end of October came and they had a total of TWO points, the fairytale looked quicker than Arsenal collapse – more on that later. Six months later and they’re dead and gone, without showing so much as a murmur all year. Every interview looked like a counselling session for Moyes, the least inspiring manager I think I’ve ever seen.
If you survive Moyesy – which looks unlikely – stick at it with Sunderland and start re-building both the club and your reputation. If you get the chop, take an upper Championship job and slowly work your way back to where you want to be, under the radar and without the risk of further embarrassment, you poor, poor man.
It’s That Time Of Year
“They’ve bottled it”. How many times have you heard that over the last couple of weeks? It’s that time of year where such a football analogy is gleefully thrown around by the rivals of unfortunate sides. The latest in the long line of ‘bottlers’ is Leeds United, who have blown a 13 point cushion to get squeezed out of the Championship play-offs. Another season in the second tier awaits for Gary Monk’s men, but at least it’s a bit of progress from mid-table obscurity. Then again ‘it’s the hope that kills you’ as says my Dad, a suffering Leeds United fan…
Another bunch of bottle-jobs are Arsenal. I stupidly suspected that they might turn up for their biggest game of the season against their bitterest rivals. How wrong I was. They cowered pathetically as they went down 2-0 to Spurs in the last North London Derby at White Hart Lane. The worst thing is that it could have been 5 or 6. If it wasn’t for Petr Cech, and Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen missing open goals, it would have been a historic score. Well done Arsenal for doing us absolutely zero favours. Zero.
Luckily we’re quite good, and after our dummy ‘bottle-job’ against Manchester United we’ve hit top form again. I honestly thought this would be a banana skin, as it always is, but after Pedro’s thunder-bastard of a strike, we cruised to an impressive 3-0 win. I class Everton away as one of those fixtures that determines how good a Chelsea side really is, and this win does great credit to the work that Antonio Conte has done. I now genuinely think he will end the year as a Champion, despite my never-ending pessimism. We’ll see.
A sad bottle-job of the week is Hitchin Town losing their play-off final against Leamington FC. They were winning 1-0, heading for the glory of the Vanarama National League South, when a Hitchin midfielder gave away a penalty, got sent off and the dream ended in a 2-1 win AET for the opposition; the trials and tribulations of non-league football. Better luck next year Hitchin.
There’s been some sad news in the last couple of days, regarding Aaron Lennon and a stress-related illness that he is suffering from. With such great momentum, at the moment, in the fight to reduce the stigma that mental health induces, sensitivity and candid coverage is compulsory code for the media. Unless, of course, you write for the Daily Mail or the Daily Mirror.
Both newspapers used Lennon’s problems to produce shallow, fabricated, tacky headlines that put focus on the Everton winger’s wage and his past interactions with various D-list celebrities. It’s an absolute disgrace and something that I feel quite strongly about.
These people are professional figures in sports journalism, and have supposedly ‘made it’, working for national news outlets in an industry that thousands strive to succeed in (myself included). Yet they see such a sad occasion as an opportunity to link their Sports and Showbiz columns and put a bit of false glitz on a story about mental health.
Along with The Sun, and the less said about them the better, these tabloids are proving time and time again that they care for nothing but they’re pockets, and they’re all a disgrace to the journalism industry. There are brilliant journalists out there, but as someone aspiring to reach their heights, it’s becoming harder to ignore the sleeze of this saturated toilet roll. Wipe your arse with it; it’s all they deserve.
Anyway, get well soon Aaron Lennon, football is behind you.
The Best Team Won
Sometimes, knock-out football can produce some wild results that defy football logic. This week’s Champions League action could not have gone further against that theme, as Real Madrid and Juventus put in the most professional of performances to put one foot each in the final. Fair-play to Atletico Madrid and AS Monaco for getting so far, but it’s clear as day that Zinedine Zidane and Massimo Allegri’s men are head and shoulders above them. The Champions League has been excellent this year, but this could not have been more straight-forward.
All goals were scored by Cristiano Ronaldo (3) and Gonzalo Higuain (2), but I don’t rate the latter one bit so I’m going to gush over our man CR7 instead. What a man. There’s something so satisfying about a player that just scores goals and goals and goals. He doesn’t run it around everybody like Messi, but his finishing is so clinical that it’s nearly impossible not to respect him and enjoy his presence in the modern game. Back to back hat-tricks in Champions League knock-out ties and his 42nd Real Madrid match-ball.
Unbelievable Jefe *Ronaldo celebration*.
The Frank Lampard* Man of the Week
- It’s hard to ignore Cristiano Ronaldo for his constant scoring at the highest-level. I’ve literally just given him a tribute, but he deserves to be mentioned twice and given the honour of this hall of fame. Also it’s another honour that he has joined Messi in earning – within the week. Fair play big man.
- I have to give a shout out to Emre Can for an unbelievable bicycle kick against Watford on Monday night. Not only was it a game winning goal in a tough game for Liverpool, but the technique on that effort was a peach and added yet another beauty to the best season for acrobatic goals that we’ve ever seen.
The José Bosingwa* Tit of the Week
- All the divers out there that succeeded or failed to con the referee this weekend. Unbelievably, in 2017, there were THREE high-profile cases this week: Marcus Rashford, Leroy Sané and Harry Kane. All of them won penalties with varying degrees of simulation and they should all be ashamed of themselves. Two of them are English too which few people seem to mention…
- Another issue that should never be appearing in 2017 football chat is racism. A video showed Spurs fans blatantly racially abusing Robbie from ArsenalFanTV – in front of police who didn’t pick anybody out. Sulley Muntari was also racially abused by fans in Italy, and banned for one game for walking off the pitch. What world do we live in?
New Award Names
* Frank Lampard – The man is a legend, end of.
* José Bosingwa – Arguably the worst player I’ve ever seen play consistently for Chelsea. Somehow won the Champions League and never go of the trophy in the celebrations ruining all of the photos. A proper tit.