Saturday, 5 November 2011
Unpicking the pecking order
In the last three months I've made two pretty confident calls.
Firstly, I was grumpily and publicly underwhelmed by the arrival of Scott Parker.
Then, I consistently questioned whether or not Van der Vaart contributed enough on an individual basis in relation to how he disrupts the pattern of our team.
So, let me start by predicting a thumping win for Fulham on Sunday.
That should guarantee us three points. And probably a hat-trick for VdV plus another man of the match performance from our granite-jawed '50s throwback.
We'll certainly need the points. This weekend's fixtures look pretty tame for Arsenal and Liverpool. But, here's the thing, who else to keep an eye on? Chelsea? Are we going to end up two or three points either side of them now? Man Utd, even? If we win our game in hand, we're a point behind them.
Do I dare follow that brilliant piece of maths with a quite devastating slice of English: and they've still got to come to White Hart Lane.
I mean that's ridiculous, right? Using 'got to' as if it's some kind of threat, challenge or even inconvenience.
But these are bewildering and exciting times. Only City seem to soaring clear of the confusion - borne aloft by a stranger's billions. If it wasn't for them, in fact, this would be the most exciting and open season for years. Thanks Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan! (Crazy name, crazy guy). Thanks for sticking your golden pin in a bloody map and screwing our season (our sport?).
And what about Newcastle? Do I have to start worrying about their results now? I mean that's just embarrassing. And, again, confusing.
So, best just resort to cliche. It's what the proper pundits do. Which means some old blather about concentrating on our own results and letting other teams worry about theirs.
Utter nonsense, of course. Like you I will be watching this newly expanded group of five or six rivals whilst praying for red cards, injuries and upsets. Worry isn't a finite resource for me. I've got enough for our results and their results and probably have enough left over to have a panic attack on behalf of Ebbsfleet United, if called for.
Let the nail biting and number crunching begin...