I have maintained all season that more than any other year, there has been massive compression of talent in the Premiership. So, more than any other year, any team can beat any other team on any given Sunday Saturday. I know that my friend T-Town Alex (among others) disagrees and sees Chelsea as the clear favorites but already they have struggled at home, winning only 3 of 7 home games and spectacularly losing to Liverpool for the first time since man walked with dinosaurs.
Don’t get me wrong, Chelsea is a dangerous team and when they smell blood they pounce — winning several times 5-0. I think they might even be the second strongest team in the EPL, right behind a healthy Liverpool. Also, I certainly don’t need to chronicle the difficulty that Arsenal have had so far this season to any of you, you’ve heard it all before and even mentioning those team names evokes winces of pain among the faithful. Chelsea may be struggling and Arsenal may look resurgent but let’s not kid ourselves, even a struggling Chelsea is 10x the threat of Kiev. Imagine for a second that William Gallas gifts the ball to Anelka as he did to Bangoura on Tuesday: that will be a goal against Chelsea.
Arsenal will need to be in top form to pull out a draw and will need some luck to get the win. I think that they can do it, especially if Adebayor, Nasri, and Sagna are all healthy and they all show up to play.
If the matches of the past are any indication it should be a spectacular match too — full of piss and vinegar and probably a few yellow cards and possibly a red. The good news is that Fox Soccer Channel is showing the game so I can watch it from the comfort of my home. I hate going to important games at Doyle’s because there’s a combination of fantasy sports people rooting for individual players, hangers-on who just root against Arsenal (or Chelsea) and of course, there will be Chelsea supporters — some old school, some new school, but nearly all of them unbearable.
Nope, I’ll be at home, with a nice breakfast, a cup of coffee, and my family, which is a great way to watch an Arsenal match.
Yes, I saw that Gallas’ book came out or something and all the newspapers are a-blubber about Gallas v. Chelsea. You know, I’m not going to get into the whole Gallas thing again, the quotes in the press make him sound like a little kid crying with stuff like “they didn’t even let me get my clothes.” I don’t know if it’s true, I don’t care, Chelsea are a classless organization who have racists in the grounds crew, who defend their players throwing coins at fans, and who are currently on a downward money spiral and firing every coach and scout outside of the first team. And obviously, some of that classlessness and greed rubbed off on William Gallas. But so what? He won’t be a Goonah much longer (maybe he never really was) so unless he reveals something truly shocking — like Chelsea put on a show of classlessness and are actually a decent organization that adopts puppies and feeds hungry orphans — there’s nothing to report here.
Platini the Cheat
And speaking of blubbering to the press, Platini is desperately trying to remain relevant and is still calling for “financial fair play.” Put aside for a moment the fact that English clubs operate on a more purely business model than any continental clubs — who receive funds from cities and townships for stadiums and past player transfers, who have newspapers do the tapping up for them, and have favorable tax rates legislated for the players so that they can attract big names. Put all that aside because all you need to look at is how quickly Chelsea are unraveling to see the detrimental effects of a single owner piling debt onto a team can and does have. Michel, my belle, that business model is not sustainable, it eats itself.
Currently Chelsea are cutting costs at the periphery but killing off your international scouting is a death knell. In the old days Chelsea would wait for Arsenal to bid on a player (Essien, SWP, Drogba, etc,) and then swoop in with triple the offer. But as Roman’s fortune dwindles and his interests start to wane, that won’t be a viable option anymore. He’s already said that Chelsea need to sell to buy this January and with his net worth tumbling from $23b to a “mere” $3b, it’s safe to say that the well is drying up. With the club losing millions nearly every week on overpaid salaries, a too small stadium, and the fact that they are out of one competition and hanging by a Cluj to the Champions League, Abramovich cannot possibly continue to throw millions at them.
Further, at the cost of nearly a Billion US dollars, Chelsea has only back-to-back Premiership titles and one FA cup to show for it. Despite their billions in player salaries and transfers, they won exactly the same number of trophies that Arsenal did last year (0) and they haven’t won a single Champions League trophy, which is what Platini wants to protect, right?
If anything, the Chelsea model is definitive proof that the model fails on its own merits and needs no regulation. Just watch as they unravel this year, Platini and save the rubbish regulations scrubbing the scourge of racism from football.
The fact that Zenit-St. Petersburg openly will not employ black footballers, has a huge contingent of the world’s most racist supporters, and yet is still allowed to play in Europe is an affront to the notion of “fairness.” Any head of any organization that would allow that scum to play in any tournament they sponsor has no right to lecture others on the notion of fair play.
F*ck off Michel.