After what seems like non-stop cup action for weeks, we’ve got a weekend of normal league play, with old rivalries and alliances feeding this week’s most obvious pundit topics.
‘Arry facing his old club! It’s a fact — Harry Reddknapp, our favorite bacon-sandwich-eating jowly manager, once managed at Spurs before taking the reins from the runaway, foaming-at-the-mouth, heading-for-relegation cliff that is this year’s Barton-less QPR squad. This is today’s early game, in progress — bonus opportunities for shots if you get a Redknapp camera shot followed by an AVB camera shot, which makes for a sort of fashion version of the Portrait of Dorian Gray.
Let’s go shopping! QPR’s a big window-shopper in the January transfer window — not that all their bids are going to be expected, but since we’re right in the middle of silly season, speculation about who goes where should be part of today’s talk.
The Chelsea striker soap opera. Since Chelsea’s against Stoke today, there should be long stretches of game time in which there’s no threat of goal scoring. Especially if Torres, who only had 19 touches in his 81 minutes of suck in the COC semis against Swansea earlier in the week, versus Ba, who actually knows how to score. What will Benitez do with his strikers? (Other than waste the Premier League’s best midfield?)
Being: Ninthpool. Tomorrow’s early game is ManU vs. Liverpool. Seven Points Clear is really good this year. Liverpool was good once upon a time. RVP is scoring goals from everywhere, usually in the last ten minutes of tied matches. Suarez can now seemingly only score goals with his hand. Look for comparisons of their fortunes as the Red Devils march toward their inevitable 20th title, and the Reds march toward their inevitably mid-table obscurity.
Mario Bothers. The mercurial Balotelli probably won’t even play tomorrow when the underachieving defending league champs face Arsenal at the Emirates, but it’s Mario’s first visit to the Emirates since his sweep-the-leg of Alex Song earned him an eight-match ban (but no card, remember). There would be transfer rumors, except not even Serie A teams seem to want the T.O. of soccer. Bonus term: Any combination of “Arsenal” and “trying to stay in fourth place,” which makes this feel a bit like last year.
Bonus Phrase! “African Cup of Nations.” It’s coming. Learn which African players will be disappearing from your television for several weeks.