By Alex Netherton & Andi Thomas
The Premier League has hit its unutterably impressive stride of late. Unutterably, of course, because if you were to claim that the Premier League is in anyway impressive—with the exception of greatly harming the moral fabric of society with its pernicious promotion of racism, materialism, and borderline incomprehensible hashtags #illcommunication—you would probably and justly be sectioned under the mental health act. The mental health act which was passed in whichever year Google indicates it was. Let’s say 1967.
The big news is John Terry. In some ways it’s handy for Chelsea that he gets in so much bother, because there has never been such gifted exponent of the big-header-to-answer-the-critics-even-though-that’s-not-what-the-critics-were-talking-about-is-it-John-John-I-don’t-think-he’s-even-listening goal. However, having duly and predictably returned from his disgrace to nut Chelsea into the lead against Liverpool, he then had his knee provocatively sat on by his ideological counterpart Luis Suarez, and let out a very, very moving scream from his brave mouth. Scans are being anxiously waited on, but he may have suffered severe ligament damage, which would put him out for a number of months. Reports that this has anything to do with karma, and that the world was returning the favour for his ludicrously brief ban for being a massive racist, are unconfirmed but, let’s be honest here, compellingly accurate.
With John Terry likely to sit out a fair few games, Chelsea have become infinitely more likable. But the good news does not stop there. There are rumours that Ashley Cole, England’s best player and biggest wanker of the the last decade, will see out his veteran years picking up his body weight in Euros and croissants at PSG. The move makes sense. In England he faces relentless abuse (see the sentence before last), and the nation as a whole is completely unmoved in response to the consistent excellence he has given to Arsenal, Chelsea and England. Were he would move to be managed by Carlo Ancelotti, who regards him as the best in the world, he would at least be around the one person in the world who likes him. It would also give him a chance to escape the jurisdiction of the English FA, who seem determined to punish him for being dishonest while there’s a hugely serious case of racism being investigated. And he probably doesn’t speak much French, so at least any opprobrium he generates for shooting Mathieu Bodmer would go in one oreille and out the other.
But wait! The happiness expands. Frank Lampard is apparently doing one to China. Lampard, of course, complained about foreigners taking English people’s jobs in his autobiography. Surely he is absolutely conflicted about trousering $500,000 a week in wages in China at the expense of a worthy Chinese footballer’s expense. Surely he is doing philosophical somersaults trying to come to terms with the hypocrisy of that particular activity. Well, probably not. Still, a brief moment where none of this tosspot hat-trick feature is a welcome relief as the Premier League steadfastly and rudely refuses to end twentyish games ahead of schedule.
Elsewhere, Manchester’s two moneyed behemoths used their financial advantage over Spurs and Aston Villa to eke out late winners. City were able to use their twenty five million pounds striker to claim a deserved victory against a poor Spurs side, and Manchester United were able to use their nine million pound Mexican to get them out of jail yet again. One note though. Roberto Mancini has been praised by some for his tactical switch against Spurs to go to a back three. While Andres Villas Boas says that he was out-thought tactically, let’s keep back the praise. The equalizer for City came from a mistake, and from there it was the force of momentum and excess pounds, not the wing backs, that delivered victory. Plus, Spurs had William Gallas. Just because Villas-Boas, seen last season having a nervous breakdown in a coat at Stamford Bridge, says something, doesn’t necessarily make it so.
Arsenal did what Arsenal do best, which is make a hash of things. Is it a story when Arsenal behave in exactly the manner expected? No. It is very funny, though.
Dimitar Berbatov did what Dimitar Berbatov does best, which is play football that pleases the soul and titillates the body. Is it a story when Berbatov acts in exactly the manner expected? Yes, because such beauty is a shining beacon of hope in the pea-soup morass that is modern football. Take poor Vito Mannone in the Arsenal goal. So aroused was he by the Great One’s run-up to the penalty that he had to sit down immediately, never mind where the ball was going, lest anybody notice his sudden, gigantic erection. We missed Match of the Day, but they pointed this out, right?