Wednesday, January 02, 2008

footy and other musings

I'm Back

It's been a long hiatus from the blog, but I've decided to reappear. I'm back to show the Boston sports community (hopefully) how enjoyable European football can be. I'd also like to pepper my posts with other musings, related to other sports. The world of sport is an exciting place to follow right now, and I'd like to share my excitement.
Without further ado...

Go Ahead, Hate Away

Clearly, many NFL fans and self-proclaimed broadcasting professionals have been waiting for the opportunity to despise the Patriots. Well, that time is upon us. "Spygate" (stupid name, by the way) and running up the score are plenty of fodder for these people. To all those haters, I say have at it. Hate away. It solidifies my love for the Pats. The hate makes me enjoy interviews with Bellichick that much more. The hate allows me a contact high on Tom Brady's newfound swagger. I will say, to all you disparagers, that your hate is misplaced. Don't hate the Patriots for the spying. Don't hate them for running up scores. Hate them because they kicked your team's collective rear ends. Hate them because they've shattered countless team and individual records this year. Hate them because they are so good. Let's bring this back to Premiership footy for a second. Fans hate Chelsea because they buy good players and won the Premiership and/or the FA Cup for roughly four years and counting. Fans hate Arsenal because of their mighty run this season and because of their undefeated season several years ago. Fans hate ManU because of their dominant run in the Backham years and their championship season last year. In short, regardless of what opposing supporters complain about, they hate these clubs because they come into their grounds and defeat their opponents time and time again. The same is true for people who hate the Patriots. End of story. If the Patriots were caught videotaping and were also 4-12 this season, nobody, I repeat, nobody would care (except, of course, me and the rest of the Patriots fans out there). We wouldn't hear about it at all on ESPN, Fox sports, NBC, ABC, or anywhere else. Jamele Hill on ESPN.com recently said that hate is a good thing, in that it gets fans motivated and excited for the sport. As worrisome as this sounds, I believe Jamele is right about that, except I think hate enrgizes the "hatee's" fans and allows them to adopt an "us vs. them" mentality.

Premiership so far

It's basically shaking down as one might predict in the English Premier League: Arsenal are in front and have but one loss on the season, followed by ManU, then Chelsea, and then Liverpool. Liverpool's rivals, "the people's club," Everton, are in fifth and look strong currently with 4 wins in their last 6 matches. Blackburn Rovers started out strong, but have faded as of late, and are now in the 9th position. Bringing up the rear are, Wigan Athletic, Fulham Cottagers, and Premiership newcomers Derby County. Manchester City, under the guidance of former England boss Sven Goran-Ericsson, started out strong, but have cooled off. However, they should still be in contention for European competition next year. My predictions: Arsenal hold off the rest of the "big 4" to take the Premiership title.

Champions' League

The UEFA Champions' League is running full tilt right now, although the group stages have finished and we await the knockout stages starting in late February. Serie A giants AS Roma are matched up against La Liga giants Real Madrid, in what should be a classic battle. Arsenal look to polish off last year's champions AC Milan. Milan are not in the best of form this year, and have been laboring in Serie A. Another must-see match is Liverpool v. Internazionale. Liverpool started off slowly in the group stage of this year's cup, but have turned it on as of late. Inter, as usual, are owning Serie A, and look to be a formidable opponent.
In the UEFA Cup, Bolton Wanderers take on that other Madrid club, Atletico, and the people's club go to Norwaty to face Brann in the cold. My predictions: an all-England UEFA tournament win this year, with ManU hoisting up the Champions' Cup and Everton taking the UEFA cup.

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