December 2008


Following a weekend where all of the top four failed again to win (for the 2nd time this season), they have all been given very tasty champions league draws!

Last weekend, Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool & Chelsea all drew, perhaps signalling that times are changing in the premier league and that perhaps it is becoming more of an open league. Is this the year the big four finally becomes the big five? For years now there has been debates about who would join the illustrious ‘top four club’, over recent years Spurs have been mentioned, Blackburn pushed for it, and this year Aston Villa look like a very determined side in a quest to break into the top four.

Today, the champions league was drawn and the big English clubs really are in for a test this year . With Liverpool facing Real Madrid (although their league form is quite poor at the moment, they are boasting a side full of quality as usual), Chelsea will face Juventus, an ageing side that still possesses enough quality to test Chelsea, Arsenal face Roma which is a very nice draw for them and Fergie’s United will face Mourinho’s Inter.

Fergie versus Mourinho, an absolute battle of the titan’s, something which I for one miss since Mourinho’s depature from Chelsea. The mind games, the touchline battles and the fierce contest on the pitch make for a great spectacle, let’s hope Mourinho’s Inter can produce the same contest that we used to get with his old Chelsea side.

This really is a test of the Premier League’s status as the best league in the world, with the top four struggling to pick up 3 points every week, and facing argueably some of the biggest teams in Europe, it should turn out to be an outstanding contest.

Having spent my saturday night, watching bits of X-Factor and Match of the day, it made me question a few things. First of all, It made me question the contestants on X-Factor. Me and my housemates were texting people at the time and all of them were raving about how good the contestants were, they were “AMAZING” and “Star quality”…comments which came from 3 different people, but we just couldn’t see it.

Now maybe its because we’re into a different type of music to what X-factor offers, but when the contestants sang with the real singers, like beyonce, westlife etc they were outclassed. Thats understandable you might think, but if these people are challenging for a record deal to compete with the likes of Beyonce etc what chance do they have?

Leona Lewis last year was a worthy winner, her debut album broke records and was highly rated by most. But apart from that i fail to see what x-factor has produced? If these people were really good enough, would they not get a record deal on the fact that they are good enough, instead of on a television competition? Maybe i’m just naive to the wonders of X-factor so if anyone can point out to me what i’m missing please do….

The other thing I noticed last night on Match of the Day, was “world class footballers” crumbling under the pressure. Dimitar Berbatov, £30 odd million Manchester United paid for him, and what did he show his former employers at White Hart Lane yesterday? Ok, he had flashes to show how good he is, but apart from that he was lacklustre. I’m sure as a premier league manager, when you spend a cool £30 million on a player you expect me to handle pressure?

We’ve seen what Cristiano Ronaldo did when he was booed constantly for getting Rooney sent off when playing England, he turned it on, took it up a notch and proved his class, proven again as he won the Ballon d’Or this year. This leads onto liverpool, £20 odd million on Robbie Keane, left on the bench yesterday against Hull, hasn’t really produced the type of performances many were expecting from the former Spurs hitman.

Now, I’m sure these players will make me eat my words and turn fantastic and win all sorts of praise from the footballing world. But, when you compare these sorts of prices and performances with the price paid for Ashley Young (just over £9 million) and his current performances, it does make you wonder what the managers and scouts see in these players that they think justify a fee of 20, 30 million pounds!

Now all we have to wait for is someone to pay £70,80,90,100 million on Kaka or Messi or Ronaldo…