Friday, March 14, 2008

Down and out in the Premier League - PremCorrespondent

Money, they say, can't buy you love. They are, of course, lying. It comes by the hour, meal, gramme, packet and pint.

Money, is something there is plenty of in the Premier League, the place drips in it, oozes it, reeks of it and revels in it - but as much as money can buy you, it's still no guarantee of success.

Just look at Chelsea, more money than anyone except QPR, and they'll win nothing this year. Of course neither will QPR, but I don't think that will put the smile back on Avram von Greenback's face.

However, while having money can't buy you everything not having it will cost you. Ask Derby. Another defeat heftier than Mrs Correspondent's mother at the hands of Chelsea. 6-1, four goals for Lampard. It changes precious little, Derby are still bottom, Chelsea five points from the top in third. And Grant comes under more pressure for allowing Derby to score at the Bridge.

Of course, the joys of the Uefa, Champions League and FA cups meant the fixtures this week have been more jumbled than a Women's Institute sale. It also meant two teams haven't had a run out in the league this week. Manchester United and Bolton being missing out. A win for Bolton would pull them clear of the bottom three, while Fergie's fledglings need three points to remove Wenger's wonders from top spot. But that game will have to be put off until later, allowing both sets of fans to live in false hope a little longer (it's got 0-0 written all over it, and that will help no one).

Speaking of Arsenal, I mean 0-0s, they had their own wobble against Wigan this week. Wenger's dropping a lot of points in the league at the moment, and he may well drop more as the European campaign progresses. The title could come down to whoever's knocked out of the European Cup first.

European success, is, of course, off the agenda now for Everton and Spurs. Leaving Spurs with nothing at all to play for this season, that said, I'm sure they'd rather win 4-0 than not - and West Ham (one place and five points ahead of them in the table) have also bunked off this season early - just with one fewer cup. They were on the receiving end of Spurs' 4-0 win.

In the intra-city race for fourth, Both Liverpool and Everton won. Everton taking down a resurgent Sunderland 1-0, while Liverpool had the rather easier task of beating Newcastle - which they duly did 3-0. The Geordies and Mackums are now both within three points of the drop and nestled next to each other in 15th and 16th respectively.

And in games I almost can't be bothered to write about, Villa and Boro drew one apiece. So did Blackburn and Fulham. Defoe scored two to see Pompey win 4-2 against Birmingham while Reading took themselves further from relegation and Man City further from Europe with a 2-0 home win.

Toodle pip, I'm off to buy as much brandy as possible before the taxes go up.

13 comments:

bluedaddy said...

Premcorr seems weighed down this week. The money thing seems to be seeping into everyone's pores, which I suppose is understandable.

But it strikes me that this will be an absolutely fantastic end to the season. The top end is deliciously poised, and Everton's form makes things all the better.

And the relegation battle goes right up to Boro (that point at Villa was vital).

I'm looking forward to the next couple of months of footie.

So there!

podgeek said...

Damn!

Ebren said...

Hey BD, and better luck next week podgeek.

I think PC's just been hit harder than most by the increase to his beloved brandy and cigarettes (the first rise in duty on spirits for - oh eff, I'm going all money journo on you again).

The league is as finely poised as I remember it being. And I for one am going to enjoy the ride.

And if this si the place for it - West Brom for the cup!

andrewm said...

So, assuming Derby and Fulham are down, who does everyone want to see in the third relegation spot?

I have nothing against them, but I must admit I would be delighted if it was Newcastle. There's something deeply satisfying about big clubs coming undone. Yes, I know this suggests that I have deep feelings of inadequacy.

Them or Boro. That would be fun too.

Ebren said...

Hey AM,

I don't think Fulham are out of it yet. They need six points more than the teams ahead of them in nine games. Unlikely, but quite doable.

Newcastle have had a run of really hard matches, I think they're better than people give them credit for. But with no win since Keegan took over, it's hard to tell how good they are.

They should stay safe, but I wouldn't guarantee it.

If I had to make the call, I'd say Birmingham to join Fulham and Derby. Just on the strength of their playing squads.

But Bolton, Wigan and Sunderland aren't exactly brimming with world-class players either.

On the managers, Boro and Bolton are worst off. Although there are question marks over Keane and Keegan. Newcastle also have the worst goal difference outside Derby, and it may well come down to that. Fulham, Reading and Sunderland are the nesxt worse off.

But overall, far too close to call. anyone from 19th to 12 could go, and with nine games to go that is fantastically exciting.

andrewm said...

Ebren, as ever you have total overview of the situation, but I was hoping you might reveal a personal preference for the first time in your impressively neutral blogging life.

I quite like Birmingham, so I'm hoping it won't be them.

Ebren said...

AM - did I not say West Brom for the cup?

If I had to choose, Newcastle and Boro. To scare the "big" boys and reinforce the fact that managers are far more important than money or players (although ideally you should have all three, as Fergie and Jose had in the last couple of years, if you have just one, it's the manager).

Bristol City (great football), West Brom (just because), and Stoke (ofr Sir Stan's sake) up.

andrewm said...

Wise words, sir. Every one of them.

MotM said...

Newcastle to go. The club is on its knees.

munni said...

Agreed, Newcastle to go with Derby and Fulham.

Sunderland will stay up through sheer force of will on Roy's part, and I don't really see Bolton going down mainly because I'm still surprised at just how bad they are these days.

bluedaddy said...

Ebren was bang on wasnt he?

Fulham are now right back in the mix. They play Liverpool the weekend before the CL semis (if they make it), play Portsmouth the week before the FA cup final (if they make it) and play nearly all of their relegation rivals. Man City might be an easy three points by the time they play them too.

This season could be up there with the greatest relegation dogfights.

offside said...

BD,

Ebren was bang on about what, exactly? Newcastle having as good a squad as Arsenal? Actually, by the look of things, Middlesborough must have a slightly better squad than Arsenal.

Implosion, or infusion?

andrewm said...

BD, he's always right. You know that. The best you can hope when you post a comment is that Ebren will agree. I hope one day to know that feeling.

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