So, in yesterday's webisode, we managed to narrow the field from 10 to 20 in my hunt for a Premiership side to follow. Today, we go for the double and attempt to halve the field again. For those who've lost track of the scoring at home, I'm basically attempting to figure out what EPL/BPL team to follow this coming season as Wednesday are once again toiling away in the relative media obscurity of the Championship (at least here in the States). I'm not truly pitching my lot in with any Premiership side, I just wanted make following the league a bit more interesting this year by attempting to cultivate a personal stake in the proceedings. So, without further ado, let the heads roll!
IN - Aston Villa
I don't know what it is. I've never really held them in much esteem, but they do have the "Wednesday quality" of being a team with a bit of tradition, but not much recent success. Actually, they probably have it more so than Wednesday do. I also get a good feeling from this club that they're going to do fairly well and be exciting to watch this year. Here's hoping! O'Neill and the Villains march on to Round Three.
OUT - Fulham
See now, the McBride thing is dirty pool. Derby tried the same thing by going after Feilhaber just after I dismissed them, but it's too little too late for the Cottagers as well. I'd pretty much only let them into the next round by virtue of their having so many US players on the roster. Unfortunately, that's not nearly enough as Fulham play some pretty dire stuff and I'll not be party to that nonsense! Away with thee, knaves!
IN - Arsenal
What can I say? Must be that je ne sais quoi going to the brain or something. Despite the fact that they have both Gallas and the hated Jens Lehmann, they are such a fun side to watch that it's hard not to admire them as a neutral. Couple that with the existential angst that's sure to accompany the departure of a certain Monsieur Henry, and it should be a fun ride. To Round Three with you, Gunners!
OUT - Liverpool
So what did they do wrong? Did they spend too much? Was it that punk Pennant's fault? Was it Rafa's beard? As much as I love Gerrard's play, Liverpool remind me too much of Chelsea in their "efficient" style. There's no joy, no flair, no zest. Great players will inevitably produce great play, but it will only flare up sporadically when those players are kept from expressing themselves fully. Boooooo - boo for you! Death to "mathematical" futbol! Away with you, you scurvy Red dogs!
IN - Blackburn
Now, having said all that about Liverpool, I'm sure to catch a bit of heat for giving Blackburn a pass as they're not exactly stylish, are they? But they play the hand they've been dealt. They don't have the funds to buy the quality that half the sides in this league can, so they get by on attitude and shoving the ball down your throat. Chelsea and Liverpool and the like are out buying Ferraris, but then they keep them to 55 mph and take the corners slowly. Blackburn are buying up Civics and Camry's and maybe a Lexus or two, but then they run them balls to the wall and who cares if there's a fireball or two of flaming wreckage along the way? Fast and the Furious indeed! And to you, Master Hughes and your traditional British style of play, I say good day, and welcome to Round Three. Try not to pick up any red cards whilst wiping your feet!
OUT - Manchester City
It's hard to say what the worst part is. A dictator in charge? A manager who will undoubtedly take a "tactical" approach to the game? Too much of an Italian job? LOOK OUT - Catennacio! Well, it's probably not as bad as all that and City will probably do pretty well this year once they settle. Sadly, I feel nothing for them, and so I say adieu Blue Moon!
IN - Everton
Tough to say why I made this call. Good support? Timmy Howard? Kicking that loser Beattie to the curb? I don't know, I just get a feeling about them. A warming of the frigid cockles of my heart as it were. Maybe it's just the least of the remaining evils? Whatever the case, Mr. Moyes, you and your rag-tag bunch may take your seats with the others. Congrats on getting this far!
OUT - Portsmouth
As with the Everton decision, the Pompey one has to go down to "just a feeling". There's just nothing there and who am I to argue with the vagaries of fate? Actually, it's probably down to Redknapp's creepy twitching when he talks. It's like some alien parasite is pulling the strings upstairs . Maybe that explains the whole Southampton debacle?
IN - Tottenham
And the final Golden Ticket goes to . . . Spurs! They've got an array of exciting young talent, the pent-up frustration of years of underachieving, like to play with a bit of panache - in short, they're a lot of what I'm looking for and they'll probably enjoy a moderate degree of success and score some fantastic goals. Get stuck in, Mr. Jol!
OUT - Sunderland
And sadly, that leaves us with Keano and the Black Cats for the drop. Which is about what they'll probably be fighting come March or so. We'll see if he can get blood from this particular stone, but I'm pretty sure it won't be pretty to watch. If anything, it'll probably be painful, and I'm still not convinced that Wednesday won't have a painful season, so I'd rather avoid doing the "double" as it were.
So, roll on Villa, Arsenal, Blackburn, Everton, and Spurs! We've narrowed it down to five contestants vying for my fickle attentions. Tomorrow we run the rule over the survivors and narrow the field to a final three.