So, what will the pundits be talking about this weekend, other than the Suarez Snack of Shame? Wynalda might not talk about anything else, and Darke and Macca spent a lot of the ESPN2 pre-game discussing a Liverpool-less future for Sir Bites-A-Lot, but here are some of the other things they could/should talk about.
Arsenal’s championship guard for United. With the league wrapped up well before the last day of the season (unlike last year’s wild and eminently more watchable ride), we’ll get the dubious tradition of the non-title-winning team clapping for the league champs. In this case, it’s watching RVP beaming about a league trophy, at the Emirates, the first year after leaving the Emirates. As an Arsenal fan, how does it feel? It feels like your boss gave the jerk in Sales with the perfect hair a bunch of really good leads, he went into Always Be Closing Mode, and you have to pretend to like him as you congratulate him for getting Employee of the Month as you fantasize about keying his car. The championship guard, as a tradition, blows.
Wigla. From now until their last game of the season, we’re likely to talk about Wigan and Villa together as they jockey for 17th and 18th place. Except, of course, when we talk about Wigan’s improbable journey to the FA Cup finals, where we can thank the Latics for blocking Millwall’s path to the FA Cup final.
The Relegation Six-Pointer that could have been. QPR plays Reading in a game that doesn’t have the drama it could have had in the relegation fight, simply because both teams are just that horribly and resolutely in the drop zone. There aren’t even many players worth poaching, unless you’re a fan of overpaid defenders pried from Anzhi Makhachkala.
Playing for second place. Regardless of how Man City does against West Ham this morning, expect contrasts to be drawn between the efficiently managed and quietly dominant United, and the boatload-of-strikers dysfunctional fantasy team that is City. The first half has been typical City — Aguero and Yaya Toure are showing up, Tevez is a black hole, Gareth Barry is getting trucked, Nasri is pouting, and David Silva’s doing a lot of rolling around and holding body parts.
The race for third (and fourth). Assuming City doesn’t entirely tank — and surely, none of us at FourFiveTwo are rooting for that — we’ll be looking at the next four teams in the table and projecting how they’ll finish. Arsenal’s toughest match remaining this season will be tomorrow’s RVP Lovefest (note to Sir Alex: This would be a great game to see what kind of striker you have in Welbeck), Spurs play the FA Cup Finalist half of Wigla (not their toughest game), Zorres and company host Swansea at Stamford Bridge, and Everton hosts Fulham, a game for which we have nothing witty to say, because it’s Everton hosting Fulham.