Alex Netherton & Andi Thomas
As we hurtle ever closer—and with ever more fatigue—toward the end of the season, there are still some unresolved questions to answer. They are, in an increasing order of importance: will Aston Villa survive the season? Will Liverpool ever get back to their old ways of winning more games than they lose? Will the title end up at Manchester City or Manchester United? Will Chelsea’s fans ever calm down about Rafa Benitez? And, most importantly, when the season ends, how will we be able to pay our rent when we no longer get the money for writing this? Let’s get down to bra stacks. Brass tax. Brass tacks.
Will Aston Villa survive the season?
Yes, of course they will. They’re owned by a man rich enough to ensure that they don’t vanish in a cloud of red ink and broken promises, they’ve got a canny manager with a proven record of manipulating thin resources to good effect, they’ve got some promising youngsters, and they’ve got a Belgian. Everybody knows that you’re nowhere in modern football without a Belgian. Villa fans: don’t be too downhearted. We’re confident that you’re among the favourites to put together a decent challenge for next season’s Division One. Or Championship. Or Purgatory. Or whatever they’re calling it now, we don’t know. Or care.
Will Liverpool ever get back to their old ways of winning more games than they lose?
Short answer, no. Longer answer, yes, because the universe and time are endless and so somewhere, or indeed on Earth at some point, a football club called Liverpool, if not this Liverpool, will at some point be successful again. But if the question is about this Liverpool, then it’s unlikely. Here’s why: their ground is too small to match the gate revenues of Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City. Their manager no longer speaks in a language that can be considered English. Indeed, there are so few speakers of Rodgerese that the language is expected to die with him. Linguistic experts are interviewing him on a weekly basis to ensure there is at least a material record of every word and grammatical construct. (Though even the best minds of our generation have struggled to explain why he insists on wearing his school uniform).
Liverpool’s strike force consists of Fabio Borini and Daniel Sturridge—two players who definitely aren’t good enough—supporting Luis Suarez, who definitely is good enough. In fact, he’s so definitely good enough that he won’t be playing for Liverpool in 2014. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, an iceberg made entirely out of faeces and the absence of hope. So, short answer, no.
Will the title end up at Manchester City or Manchester United?
Short answer, we don’t know. Shorter answer, yes. Longer answer, yes, for the next few years. Seven points is a considerable lead, and United have Robin Van Persie. If that’s enough to defeat Tottenham next week then you can expect that the lead will remain at a similar size until the two teams meet at Old Trafford in April. Roberto Mancini contends that he expects United’s lead to shrink, but given that City’s performances and players are about as inspiring as United’s, there’s no point predicting. On Sunday, Manchester United played with something approaching verve against Liverpool for the first hour, and a better team would have lead by more than two goals. When Sturridge scored, there was a predictable wobble, and a mixture of Nemanja Vidic’s assuredness and Liverpool’s rubbishness meant United got away with it. Again. City made the most of David Silva’s resurgence and Laurent Koscielny’s haplessness (sent off for playing rugby) to dismiss Arsenal without a second thought.
Will Chelsea’s fans ever calm down about Rafa Benitez?
Short answer, no. Longer answer: see the short answer. A more misguided managerial appointment has not been seen in the Premier League since Kenny Dalglish, suffering from 1998 Syndrome, was reappointed as Liverpool’s manager. While they might be making fools of themselves with feeble placards, there is something admirable about the sustained hatred Chelsea are expressing toward their executives and manager. It’s the same kind of anger among fans pointing out that £62 is an absurd price to go and see a game of football. The sooner 900 returned tickets becomes 90,000, the better.
All that Chelsea fans need to do now is direct their anger toward the owner who hired Benitez. Treating the manager as if he is an entirely separate entity from the person who made him manager undermines the outrage. Aim higher, chaps.
Most importantly, when the season ends, how will we be able to pay our rent when we no longer get the money for writing this?
Short answer, someone needs to buy this when it comes out as a book. And by somebody, we mean you. You’ve had it too easy for too long. Start saving, bucko.