Odds and Ends, This and That

I’m going to put on my hackneyed newspaper columnist hat and write a whole bunch of random, non-sequiter drivel. Enjoy!

  • Say, yesterday’s gutless display in a must-win situation by Birmingham City reminded me of this particular match three years ago.
  • West Ham are down. Huzzah. Should have happened four years ago.
  • Anybody else pining for a Swansea/Cardiff City Playoff Final? The thought of two Welsh teams playing in the English Second Division at the English national stadium for the right to ascend to the English Premier League makes me smile.
  • Congratulations to storied Ajax in winning the Eredivisie for the first time since the 2003-04 season. Crazy to think it’s been that long.
  • Poor Sampdoria. Nine months ago they were a whisker away from qualifying for the Champions League Group Stage. Now they will travel to the mighty Associazione Sportiva Cittadella, F.C. Crotone, and A.S. Gubbio 1910. Let this be a warning sign to any owner as to what can happen if you choose to not let the inmates run the asylum. You need the egomaniacal players more than the egomaniacal players need you.
  • Need another indictment of the SPL’s imbalance? No, it has nothing to do with Celtic and Rangers. After losing to Dundee United yesterday, Hearts completed their season by winning once since March 19 and just three times since February 12 (equaling three wins in 14). Yet they still managed to finish in third place.
  • For all their talk about the winning the treble back in February, Arsenal will drop to fourth if City beat Stoke tomorrow. If City win at Bolton on Sunday, then no CL AQ for the Gunners. For a club that is notorious for “collapsing”, this year has to rank up there. Sunday’s match at Fulham is pivotal.
  • Speaking of us, a win over Arsenal and a Everton loss to Chelsea means Mark Hughes will have tied Roy Hodgson’s 7th place finish (our best ever) two years ago. Not only were we in the relegation zone (18th) after that 3-1 Boxing Day disaster to West Ham, we were a point off bottom. On Boxing Day 2008, we sat 8th. Shouldn’t Hughes be considered an honorable mention for Manager of the Year then?

6 thoughts on “Odds and Ends, This and That

  1. On the topic of crazy happenings in other leagues, take a look at the Ligue 1 table. With most teams having two matches left, there are two clubs who are definitely relegated, but there are *ten* other clubs (stretching all the way up to Montpellier, currently in 9th despite having the fifth-worst goal differential in the league) that could wind up being the third club to go down. And here we are thinking it’s crazy that there are *five* clubs still fearing relegation.

    1. Ligue Uhhhhhh is where it’s at this season. Lille could win the title for the first time since Dien Bien Phu, and AS Monaco could be playing Stade Laval and Clermont Foot. Crazy.

      1. Yeah, it’d be neat to see Lille win the titled a couple years after it seemed like they’d lost all their best players to OL and OM.

        1. A double! They’ve already won the Coupe De France (not a great game, but a fantastic free kick in the last minute to win it).

          timmyg, not only Monaco, but also Lens going down – a shame. Hope to see both clubs go straight back up (but Ligue Duuuhhhhhh is a highly competitive league and difficult to get out of, and a few clubs in recent seasons have been relegated twice).

  2. Sure, the SPL is dominated by two clubs. But isn’t that the story in most European leagues? Spain, Portugal, Italy, Holland, to name but four. And truth be told, it’s pretty much the same in our own English Premiership. Only three clubs seriously contend for the title, and in the case of Chelsea that’s only because they had the great good fortune to be bought by one of the world’s richest men. If he’d bought Hearts instead, or Espanyol, or Braga, or Bologna, or Vitesse Arnhem – great names all – then their leagues would be a bit more competitive, and England’s just like they are now.

    1. I totally agree there’s imbalance across the board. In Portugal, Porto have a 21pt lead over 2nd-place Benfica, who have a 15 point lead over 3rd-place Sporting. Where’s the fun in that?

      But my point about the SPL was that the imbalance isn’t just at the top. Hearts managed 15 points out of their final 42, yet didn’t drop a single spot.

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