Monday, May 25

Football Review

Yeah, OK, it's not actually finished with yet for the big clubs, but for us in the basement it's done and dusted. This is my favourite bits and pieces from the past season, which despite Boro's total incompetence was quite entertaining anyway. Premiership only as well, because I might not get the cnace to type 'Premiership' again for a number of years, barring my job application for Chief Political Editor being accepted by the Times.

These are my favourites, and you will no doubt disagree with some.

Match of the season: For me, it has to be one of the 4-4 draws. But seeing as one left Honest Harry Redknapp smiling like a Cheshire Cat, and the other pretty much knocked the fat Spanish Waiter out of the title race, I know where the prize is going.

If you could go back in time 15 years and tell and Arsenal fan that their team would draw 4 four each at Anfield, they would have laughed you out of the room. But these days, Wenger's football purity program demands attacking invention over all, so Arsenal are the 1970's Total Football of the new millennium, and as such, are incredible to watch at times. For Liverpool, an indication that they're not quite there, and that they are still a 2 man team.

Player of the season: Andrei Arshavin. He's incredible for Russia, we know that, but surely the Premiership will be too strong for him? Nonsense. Strength is more often than not a mental rather than a physical act. His lung-busting 80 yard sprint to receive a killer pass on the break at Anfield showed he was quite able to fit in in this 'rough and tumble' league. Plus, he only played half a season. A true shame that he's at his peak now, and we won't have him for too long.

But why not Ronaldo, Giggs, Gerrard, Torres? It sounds odd, but they just 'do' what they're supposed to 'do', if you understand what I mean. They'll always be there, you expect that, but Arshavin was completely unexpected, the delivery of promise for once, after all the hype.

Laurel and Hardy award for services to comedy: Mike Ashley. Keegan's back, and on the first day he's grabbed a draw that by all accounts could have been a win at Old Trafford. Then his weakened team has slipped a bit, so out he goes. Ashley can't be seen to be in control of a decent side, right? So he gets Joe Kinnear in, who makes his side so nailbiting and ludicrous that eventually his heart gives in. So in comes Shearer, given eight days as the Messiah (after which I assume he will be crucified) to turn things around.

Sadly, it wasn't to be. Sky Sports News organised a day of mourning for 'everyone's second team'. Hearty guffaws were heard around the Sunderland area, but I'm not quite sure what they've got to laugh about.

Calamity of the Year: Plenty of contenders, but they most likely had Garmin writ large on their shirts.

Tactical decision of the year: Boro, needing a win at home to escape the relegation mire, play Blackburn. Gareth Southgate names an attacking line up containing 5, count 'em, 5 centre backs. Boro are delighted with their clean sheet, but unsurprisingly not their failure to get three points.

Most looking forward to next season: The 10,000 strong Golden Mile invasion task force, and then wrecking the place after a bungling 2-1 loss against Blackpool.

Goal of the Season: Wasn't a goal. But if Tuncay had scored, it would have won Goal of the season for the next ten years. The Turk received the ball into feet, back to goal, with Jamie Carragher closing in. Tuncay dug his foot underneath, let the spin on the ball do the work, Carragher was lost in his own little world, but then Reina had to get in the way. Selfish Spanish git that he is.

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