Friday, 28 September 2007

Premiership Weekend Preview 28/9

On Monday night(yes, I know it's technically not the weekend), Spurs host Aston Villa at White Hart Lane. For me, this one is too close to call because it all depends on which Villa show up. Will it be side who quite comfortably beat CSKA Fulham or the side that lost against Liecester midweek? Tottenham, you feel, after thier comedy start are almost on their way to getting things together following the North London derby defeat. Two good cup wins (Granted one was against a bunch of amatuers and the other against Famagusta) and avoiding defeat at Bolton (The importance of which cannot be underestimated) could see them push on starting Monday.

You have to wonder however, if the pressure is begining to get to the normally laid back (not reinforcing any Dutch sterotypes or anything) Martin Jol who has seriously been on the defensive over the last couple of days. Making a point of mentioning Mourinho by name suggests that maybe there was some truth to rumours about Levy making the Portugese an offer.

Up the Seven Sisters road, Arsenal just cant seem to escape speculation about a proposed takeover. Billionaire Alisher Usmanov has increased his stake yet again. Little is known of this man and if you ask a lot of Arsenal fans, they dont want the guy to have anything to do with their club.

There is always going to be suggestions of dressing room unrest whenever boardroom shenanigans are taking place and after what has seemingly been a good week for the gunners (top of the league, record profits, Carling Cup win), Wenger will be hoping that his players can stay focused on the task ahead because, as he knows first hand, West Ham is not an easy place to go to. A task made harder by the fact that Dean Ashton is now back and firing for the Hammers.

Staying in London, The Kremlin hosts a West London derby between CSKA Fulham and Fulham Northern Irish. CSKA will be boosted by the expected return of Didier Drogba as well as a their win in midweek. Avram Grant is talking about unleashing a five-man attack (Spurs fans out there will be thinking back to the rollercoaster days of Ossie Ardiles) because, as we all know, goals win games and hey, seeing as they are playing Fulham, who knows what the score might be?

In two other note-worthy games, The Salford Bay Rowdies will be hoping to bounce back from their suprise Carling Cup exit against Birmingham and former favourite Steve Bruce. In another match of Rowdies-players-turned-gaffers, Mark Hughes takes his Blackeye Rovers team up to Sunderland and Roy Keane. Should be a 'sparky' encounter...

At the bottom, pub side The Derby and County host Bolton. This is the kind of game where both sides could throw caution to the wind as beating fellow relegation candidates could prove so vital in the long run. Expect goals, bad defending and lots of shouting from the touchline.


Saturday, 29 September 2007:
Birmingham v Man Utd, 17:15
Chelsea v Fulham, 15:00
Derby v Bolton, 15:00
Man City v Newcastle, 12:45
Portsmouth v Reading, 15:00
Sunderland v Blackburn, 15:00
West Ham v Arsenal, 15:00
Wigan v Liverpool, 15:00

Sunday, 30 September 2007:
Everton v Middlesbrough, 16:00

Monday, 01 October 2007:
Tottenham v Aston Villa, 20:00

And now for something completely different...

Going back a couple of years, Pope John Paul II sadly died. At this time, I also happened to be taking a Theology module called 'Philosohy of Religion'. During one of our seminars the discussion veered onto weather David Beckham would be mourned in the same way as the pope. We then went on to talk about whether it was feesable to consider if football was as big (or bigger?) an institution worldwide than the Catholic Church.

Comparisons between the beautiful game and religion could once again be brought to the fore this week (really sorry for the laboured and tennuous link there) as the Anglican church in America rejected/ the idea of ordaining openly gay priests as bishops while former England International Graeme Le Saux talked about the gay rumours that plagued him throughout his career.

In an this more tolerant era where the previously inconcievable idea that a black man and a woman can go head to head for presidency of the United States, its interesting to see that homosexuality still has that enormous stigma attached to it. I'm curious to what would happen if a major footballing icon (say, a Gerrard, a Ronaldo, an Henry or even Becks himself) were to come out.

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