The Satirical Premier League Season…August

How the first month of the Premier League should have gone…

August

  •  Having sold Robin Van Persie to Manchester United, Arsenal have announced an official end to their partnership with Manchester City as their official feeder club. City’s demand for first refusal on all the Gunners’ players was rejected after Arsenal were only offered a picture of the Premier League trophy to remind them what it looks like.
  •  Meanwhile, the Gunners had to undergo a hasty rebranding of the club’s identity after Van Persie’s exit. They had planned to rename the team ‘The Robin Van Persie XI’ following his one-man efforts last season. Although Arsene Wenger stopped short of admitting that Arsenal would have only taken to the pitch with Van Persie on the pitch for the new season, he did admit his departure left him with 11 holes to fill in the team.
  •  Despite Manchester City winning the Community Shield against Chelsea by three goals to two, John Terry is spotted wrestling the trophy off skipper Vincent Kompany in full City kit, including shin pads. As Kompany goes to raise the trophy aloft, Terry nips in, grabs it out of his hands and raises it triumphantly to the whole stadium before embarking on a lap of honour with all the City players chasing him.
  •  Wigan manager Roberto Martinez reunites former England front pair Michael Owen and Emile Heskey in his desperation for new signings. The move works well in the first game against Chelsea as Owen grabs a double from two Heskey knock downs, but Big Emile sets a few unwanted Premiership records having been caught offside a record 46 times and hit the corner flag with 7 stray shots.
  • Everton manager David Moyes gets annoyed with the press after his team remain unbeaten during August thanks to Moyes deploying the 4-6-0 formation that Spain used in the Euros. After newspapers congratulated the Scot on copying Vicente Del Bosque’s tactics, Moyes loses his temper, replying that he hasn’t played or even bought a capable striker for the best part of six years now and no one ever gave him any recognition for that.
  •  Chelsea have had to refund their fans who watched their first home game of the season with Reading. Boss Roberto Di Matteo forgot that in the Premier League, the game is decided after 90 minutes and not on penalties. This meant his tactic of placing all 11 men on the line and allowing Reading to have the ball all game didn’t work and the Blues were booed off by a disgruntled Stamford Bridge crowd.
  • Luis Suarez is in trouble with the FA again after running up to the referee and yelling ‘Bellend’ in his face 15 times. Suarez pleaded his innocence when questioned by the authorities, explaining that in Uruguay, ‘bellenda’ was a slang term they used for corner and that he thought Liverpool had won a corner. However, he couldn’t explain the jerking movements he made with his hand in the nether regions of his waist, simply starting to say ‘In my country, it means…’ before stopping and accepting his punishment.

The Coin Toss Premier League Predictions – Results

The second weekend of Premier League football brought more goals and drama, unless you were watching Arsenal’s £38m signings fail to get off the mark. Everton surprised everyone with their victory over Man United in their opening game, especially given their reputation as perennial slow-starters, but it is clear that David Moyes’ decision to begin pre-season training early is paying dividends, as the Toffees cruised to a 3-1 win at Villa Park. Southampton failed to show the same fight that they did against Man City last week as they slumped to defeat at home to Wigan, and the postponement of the Sunderland-Reading game had the media blaming Sunderland’s management while the rest of us were bemoaning another woeful English summer. Tony Parr will be sticking to the day job after picking up a meagre four points this week, but Tom Mordey will be soldiering on despite racking up just five points. Finally, Matt Birchall reached eight points, bringing our two in-house pundits level on average after two weeks.

Predictions

Result

Tony Parr

Tom Mordey

Matt Birchall

Swansea v West Ham

3-0

3-1

1-1

2-0

Aston Villa v Everton

1-3

0-1

0-0

1-1

Man United v Fulham

3-2

3-1

3-1

3-0

Norwich v QPR

1-1

2-2

2-0

0-0

Southampton v Wigan

0-2

2-0

2-2

2-1

Sunderland v Reading

P-P

1-1

2-0

0-1

Tottenham v West Brom

1-1

2-1

2-1

1-0

Chelsea v Newcastle

2-0

2-2

2-0

3-1

Stoke v Arsenal

0-0

1-2

1-1

0-1

Liverpool v Man City

2-2

1-3

1-3

2-2

A correct result is worth ONE point, a correct score is worth THREE points.

Predictor Score
Tom Mordey 6.5*
Matt Birchall 6.5*
Tony Parr 4

*Tom Mordey and Matt Birchall’s scores are averages for the season.

Ten Things the Premier League taught us this week…

We bring you the ten things the Premier League taught us this week as round two gets underway:

1. Arsenal desperately need a goal scorer. Two 0-0 draws in a row isn’t exactly a crisis, but the murmurs of discontent are slowly starting to come to the surface again at the Emirates.

2. Their North London rivals aren’t faring too much better either. AVB needs to draw a line under the Luka Modric saga, invest in his Tottenham side and get their campaign underway.

3. Eden Hazard is proving those doubters wrong pretty quickly. Looked superb again against Newcastle and seems like he might be the man to get the best out of Fernando Torres as well.

4. Leaving Wayne Rooney on the bench was a big statement of intent from Sir Alex Ferguson. Now he’s injured, the talisman needs to work hard and prove he’s still number one at Old Trafford.

5. For such traditionally bad starters, David Moyes’s men seemed to have discovered a new brand of Weetabix. Sensational from the Toffees and in Marouane Fellaini, they have the star performer of the season so far.

6. Michael Laudrup’s boys are certainly raising a few eyebrows at the top of the Premier League. His brand of football is even more eye-catching than Brendan Rodgers.

7. Arise Raheem Sterling. Liverpool have unleashed their new superstar on the Premier League and to what effect! The hype surrounding the 17-year-old will be enormous now, but Rodgers needs to manage him effectively to help him develop.

8. Manchester City are seemingly incapable of playing out a boring game. The defence is at sixes and sevens and Mancini needs to strengthen his squad before the deadline shuts. Carlos Tevez looks back on his game though.

9. Wigan have made a bright start to the season and for once in their history, two of their strikers scored in the same game! Perhaps Martinez and his men could avoid the perennial ‘must win all our games in the last three months to survive’ routine this time around.

10. Norwich are looking likely candidates for the second syndrome award under Chris Hughton. Short on quality, this year could be a long haul for them.

The Coin Toss Premier League Predictions

This week Tom Mordey and I are joined by Blackpool’s maverick matchday announcer Tony Parr in a three-way battle to be crowned The Coin Toss football expert of the week. Tony Parr is Blackpool born and bred and is the perfect foil to a side managed by Ian Holloway. At the Championship play-off Final back in May 2010, Tony thoughtfully took the time in his pre-match announcements to give a “big thanks to Billy Davies for getting his Nottingham Forest team to roll over and let us tickle their tummies four times this season” in reference to Blackpool’s 100% record against the Reds that season, including a 6-4 aggregate victory in the playoff semi-final.

Anyone who welcomes Norwich City fans to Bloomfield Road with Delia’s own cry of “let’s be having you” is alright in our book, but whether he can master the noble art of predicting football results remains to be seen.

Predictions

Tony Parr

Tom Mordey

Matt Birchall

Swansea v West Ham

3-1

1-1

2-0

Aston Villa v Everton

0-1

0-0

1-1

Man United v Fulham

3-1

3-1

3-0

Norwich v QPR

2-2

2-0

0-0

Southampton v Wigan

2-0

2-2

2-1

Sunderland v Reading

1-1

2-0

0-1

Tottenham v West Brom

2-1

2-1

1-0

Chelsea v Newcastle

2-2

2-0

3-1

Stoke v Arsenal

1-2

1-1

0-1

Liverpool v Man City

1-3

1-3

2-2

A correct result is worth ONE point, a correct score is worth THREE points.

The Magnificent Seven – Arsenal to Barcelona

We talk about Arsenal being Manchester City’s feeder club having sold them Kolo Toure, Gael Clichy and Emmanuel Adebayor in recent years, but Barcelona are the real vultures that hover over the Emirates. After signing Alex Song for £15 million, the Catalan giants have now purchased seven players off the Gunners since Arsene Wenger’s arrival at the club back in 1996.

That statement suggests two things. One, it’s a testament to Wenger’s transfer policy in bringing in young, unproven players and converting them into superstars during their time with the club before he sells them on at the right price. Two, it suggests that Arsenal have never been big enough to compete with Europe’s best and once a genuine quality player does appear on the scene, the Gunners are unable to fend off interest from bigger clubs. We take a look at the seven players who made the switch to the Nou Camp and see how they fared:

Are Goal Celebrations Getting Out Of Hand?

Footballers’ goal celebrations have evolved rapidly over the years, and it is now far more likely to see a carefully choreographed performance than an impromptu outpouring of emotion from a goalscorer. From Robbie Fowler’s infamous ‘snorting’ of the touchline to Emmanuel Adebayor’s length of the pitch sprint to gloat in front of Arsenal fans, the potential for goal celebrations to cause controversy is something which the footballing authorities are abundantly aware of.

With that in mind, how long is it until messages printed on undershirts are outlawed? The ‘Pray 4 Muamba’ shirts which many players celebrated with in support of the Bolton player were touching but there is nevertheless always scope for inflammatory comments to be displayed.

Manchester City have been at the heart of the recent spate of message-emblazoned shirts, beginning with the tongue-in-cheek ‘Why always me?’ shirt which Mario Balotelli unveiled after scoring in the Manchester derby last season. The start of this season has already seen Carlos Tevez reveal two messages in reference to where he grew up, and Samir Nasri celebrate his winning goal against Southampton by revealing ‘Eid Mubarak’. While these messages are fairly innocuous, some fear that controversy is just around the corner.

There appears to be particular worry over the potential minefield to be navigated if such messages become vehicles for political or religious statements. After all, it is only too easy to envisage a player, especially the likes of Tevez, revealing a message in support of Argentina’s claim to the Falklands and the public outrage it would cause.

I would like to believe, perhaps somewhat naïvely, that between the players and the kit men making these shirts there is the judgment to decide what is acceptable and what is not. However, cynics will always point to the poor judgment exhibited by footballers in general (think of Ashley Cole shooting a youth team player with an air rifle or Balotelli’s various misdemeanours) and state the obvious: that the risk of allowing these displays, albeit a very small risk, outweighs the gains (if any) from allowing them. The only possible gain can be in messages of support like those for Muamba, and in reality the vast majority of the celebrations are simply inane and gratuitous. Moreover, footballing purists would undoubtedly like these celebrations banned simply because, in their view, they have no place in football. Sadly, I have to agree with them on this one.

Ten of the costliest dropped catches of all time

England have lost their ranking as the best test team in the world after a 2-0 defeat to South Africa and although the Proteas were excellent in all forms of the game, England badly let themselves down with their catching in particular. They dropped nine chances as the series went on, with James Anderson crucially shelling a chance off AB De Villiers during South Africa’s second innings at Lords. He went on to make a match saving partnership with Hashim Amla and they took the game away from England.

Everyone knows that catches win matches, so hanging onto the key chances in a match is simply vital. Put one down and you never know when the next opportunity might come around. While Anderson’s miss was a costly one, there are several others in history that spring to mind that have proved crucial on the outcome of the match. We take a look at ten of the costliest dropped catches of all time: