Rants and musings from the magazine team
Tch, football, eh? What about golf? Watching 50-year-old Fred Couples and 60-year-old Tom Watson lead the Masters (at the time of writing) is enough to make you wonder whether...no...
Darren Anderton has retired, and we have to come to terms with that.
Hull vs Burnley
Biggest game of the season for these two, perhaps, and with tricky travels to Birmingham and Sunderland coming up, it's quite possibly Burnley's last chance to record a single away win this season.
Let's face it: they're down, aren't they? Four points adrift, Spurs and Liverpool still to play...it's over. Just like Tiger Woods' weight, it's over.
Some may think it a shame – this blog does – but Burnley have the survival odds of a blind clifftop-dwelling lemming.
(Apparently that's a myth, lemming suicides. Apologies to any offended lemming lovers.)
What won't happen: Iain Dowie called for more energy from Hull's players and fans, but without some on-field nous to go with it they could have the energy of Speedy Gonzalez on pep pills and struggle.
What will happen: After falling five goals behind, all eleven Burnley players and twelve Burnley fans follow in 21-year-old midfielder Kevin McDonald's footsteps against Man City and leave the stadium at half-time
What will happen 2: What with McDonald going AWOL and Robbie Blake hitting out at the manager, it's clear Brian Laws has lost the dressing room. Expect him gone this summer
West Ham vs Sunderland
A problem shared is a problem halved; three points shared isn't. West Ham won't care, though, taking a vital point from their away match at Everton. It's not three points but it's one, and any mathematician will tell you that's more than none. Which is good.
Say what you like – that paragraph still makes more sense than anything Peter Drury has ever said, ever.
The 2-2 draw saw a spirited performance from the Hammers. The BBC review of the game put it better than this blog ever could, concluding, "[an error occurred while processing this directive]".
As for Sunderland, it was a great win over Spurs but you have to wonder about Darren Bent's mood as the game went on. Last game against Spurs: missed a penalty. 36 seconds into this one: scored. 28 minutes: scored a penalty. 40 minutes: missed a penalty. 61 minutes: missed another penalty. That's just avoiding buying the hat-trick beers, that is.
What won't happen: West Ham power on without the suspended Scott Parker
What will happen: PUNT OF THE WEEK: West Ham blow a golden chance for points and Sunderland record their first league away win in 16 attempts
Blackburn vs Manchester United
Ignoring Manchester United's defeat to Bayern Munich, the alleged demise of English football associated with it and finally the post-match xenophobic fury of Fergie – typical Scot – isn't easy, but the Red Devils will have to do just that as they travel to Ewood Park.
Can Fergie's men get their heads back in the game for the all-important Premier League title race? It's not the easiest of away games – in their last nine league visits to Blackburn, United have lost more than they've won – and they won't be helped by Rooney's absence.
On the other hand, United have won two of their last three matches at Ewood Park, and are unbeaten against Rovers in eight matches. You can prove anything with statistics.
What won't happen: El Hadji Diouf, who has been charged under four driving offences – that's driving, with an 'r' – to buy some car insurance. Yep, he's not only been driving without a licence, but without insurance too. Well, it's expensive, isn't it?
What will happen: So are those statistics in favour of United or not? In the long term, no; in the short term, yes, and a confidence-building win here will help them along
Liverpool vs Fulham
There was Europa League delight for both teams midweek. After Liverpool sailed into the semis and Bobby 'South Africa or Bust' Zamora's 21-second goal sealed Fulham's progress, this could be a dress rehearsal for the final. Expect grandstanding Liverpool to trip over the scenery and understudies Fulham to forget their lines.
The Reds broke two scoring ducks too: Dirk Kuyt netted his first goal in 1,084 minutes of football and Lucas, with a brilliant run, slotted home for the first time since May last year.
That was 46 games without a goal for the Brazilian – and now Jason Scotland has FINALLY scored for Wigan, he holds this season's league record for the most number of shots without scoring (34). Yes, you read that right. Lucas has had 34 shots. At a guess, 32 have been from the halfway line.
What won't happen: A cracking game, thanks to both teams' continental hangovers. Liverpool scrape it
What will happen: Fernando Torres will play former club Atletico Madrid in the Europa League semis. You can see how that pre-game banter's going to go. "Hey Nando, where's that major trophy you left us for?" "Oh, piss off."
Manchester City vs Birmingham
Home is where the Hart ain't, as the loanee travels with Birmingham to visit his parent club, where he’ll be forced to watch idly from the stands as Maik Taylor fills in between the sticks for Brum. Rules is rules, you see.
There's a lot of interest around the young 'keeper (Hart that is, not Taylor, obviously), not least from Brum, but Roberto Mancini wants the 22-year-old to stay with the Arabian Knights (look, 'Citizens' is just crap). Moreover, he's said he doesn't even want to loan him out next season.
"The season is long. If you are playing in the Champions League then you need players – you need two top keepers."
So if he doesn't seek a transfer, Hart may find himself slumming it in the reserves. And will Mancini send him out on loan if they don't qualify for the Champions League? Good thing Given's not injured; Hart would be chucking the ball into his own net in their last few games just to make sure he had some first-team football next year.
What won't happen: Hart won't go next year, but the year after that...
What will happen: A stellar performance from his understudy frustrates the hosts. Draw
Wolves vs Stoke
Blimey, Wolves are 14th. And Stoke are in the top half. What the Hell's going on here?
What won't happen: Mick McCarthy's commentary (see Nottingham Forest-Cardiff - well you can’t because it was on Monday afternoon, but imagine it) to improve with time. We were hopeful, but no...
What will happen: All of Stoke's press lately has been talking of relief at passing 40 points and avoiding relegation, but they should be prouder of their achievements this season. Instead, they lack end-of-season focus here and hand Wolves a win
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