Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Holy Newcastle!

Why Can't We All Just Get Along?:
Columnist Ed Watching Footie with Two of His Closest Friends

Columnist Ed on all the latest happenings in the BPL:

o Well, not exactly holy, but just when you’re ready to anoint Harry Redknapp as the manager of the English team and Brendan Rodgers of Swansea as the EPL coach of the year, you get Newcastle on the cusp of Champions League qualification with Alan Pardew.  There have been times when the Magpies have looked like absolute junk – the 5-0 beating they took at Spurs comes to mind – but they’ve just won five in a row during this key time in the season.  Can they pull it off?

o Well, it really depends more on whether Spurs are truly imploding or whether they can get it together against the bottom of the League in the last five weeks.   By my count, Spurs have to win at least three and tie one of their last five.  Theoretically . . . . I think that’s worth saying again for emphasis . . . . theoretically this shouldn’t be that tough, in light of the fact that they have to play QPR, Blackburn, Bolton, Villa, and then Fulham.  In their current form with no central defenders and Gareth Bale currently abdicating his position in favor of a crowded central attacking midfielder role, this doesn’t seem easy.  But if there’s one thing that’s a certainty in the BPL, it’s that no one can predict what will happen next.  I recall United being dead and buried after being blown out by City; I also recall people wondering if Wenger had a future at Arsenal.  In short, who knows really?  Certainly not the experts.

o But tracking back to Newcastle – what impresses me most is Pardew’s ability to simply insert any striker he finds fit and for that person to become a star.  Think about it, a year and a half ago it was Carroll, then it was Ba this year, and now it’s Cisse.  I think even the withered old bossman might be able to put a few in if he played the position at . . . . wait, sorry about that, I took it too far.  But I think you know my point.

o But here’s what I wish for most:  In this year of the unknown, it would be nice to see a second-tier team like Spurs or a third-tier team like Newcastle [Ed. Note: Columnist Ed's term, not mine -- let the abuse begin below] make the top four instead of the big money teams that everyone knows are going to be in the top four.  In other words, as much as Chelsea represents England well in Europe, I’d prefer they get bumped this year for a change and someone else given a chance.  I mean, wouldn’t that be fun?

o Speaking of teams that have been kind enough to give the rest of the table a chance, how about that eighth place Liverpool squad?  I was desperate enough to watch a bit of their game against Blackburn (painful), and wow, they put in their entire second team.  So in case you were still wondering, and you shouldn’t be, Liverpool has abandoned League play and doesn’t care at all where they end up in the BPL this year.  One wonders about their future.  Is Liverpool a place where talented players come to die, or is it that the players that Dalglish brought in are simply awful?  Hard to say, but I would suggest that IF there is a team more in need of that arrogant, petulant, childish, master named Jose Mourinho, I can't think of it. 

o A few words about the Blackburn, Villa, Wolves, Wigan, Aston Villa, and until recently, QPR.  You're just awful, and it’s hard to see how you’re going to get better.  This isn’t so good for you, and it’s even worse for the league.  One of the great parts about the BPL is relegation; one of the worst parts is that it makes the revenue sharing system of the NFL – one that made the New Orleans Saints Superbowl Champions a few years ago – is impossible in the BPL.

o Speaking of the NFL, wouldn’t it be more fun if the BPL reworked their schedule to have all the good teams and relegation teams battle each other at the end of the season?  This could be approximated by ranking all of the teams at the beginning of the year, and scheduling accordingly.  It would make the last ten games of this marathon season incredibly exciting, and potentially give anyone in the top 8 or bottom 8 a lot to play for.
Oh, and if we’re suggesting things to the BPL, let me put this one as delicately as I can:

o Ashley Young, you’re not the first to flop, but it doesn’t make it better.  And Sir Alex, the problem wasn’t that he was offsides, the problem was that he dove.  It would be nice to see some honesty from a Manager from time to time.  I’m not sure why that’s too much to ask. 

This is farlieonfootie for April 11.

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