What a weekend of football, especially tomorrow. In the EPL you have what on the face of things appears to be every playoff wanting college football fan's dream: #1 v #4 and #2 v #3 (current positions in the table). Today was 2v3 as Liverpool beat Chel$ea 2-0 less than 2 weeks after getting demolished by Arsenal at home twice in 3 days, lending more credence to the emerging theory that this young Arsenal 3.0 team can play with and beat anybody, and as soon as they mature a bit more and become consistent enough not to drop points against the shit teams, look out.
Tomorrow sees Arsenal (#4) host old rivals Manchester United (#1) for the first time at Emirates Stadium in the match that was known simply as "The Title Decider" for several years before Chelsea became Chel$ea. It should be an outstanding match, for 2 reasons. First, after playing both on the weekend and in midweek for at least the last month, both teams have not played since last weekend, so they have each had a week of rest and should be raring to go. Secondly, both teams will both want to win and should play as such, so the match has potential to be a real cracker. Although Arsenal have had 5 disappointing draws already in their new home, they are undefeated at the Emirates and they sure as shit won't want their first loss to be against their biggest rivals. Also, having already beaten the league leaders at 1-0 at Old Trafford earlier this year, Arsenal would love nothing more than to do the double over ManUtd and take 6 points off them this year, especially since it looks like ManU may very well be champions this season. United on the other hand have the luxury of knowing that 2nd place Chel$ea were beaten by Liverpool at Anfield today, so they will surely want to win to extend their lead at the top of the table from 6 to 9 points, because that will put them in a damn good position with only 14 matches remaining in the season.
This Arsenal team is really coming together (hoping to write some thoughts about Arsenal 3.0 this week that have been in my head for a while) and I am really excited for the match tomorrow. I'll be off to the pub at 8 a.m. to check that out.
Then at noon I'll be playing for FC Red Stripes in our inaugural match of the Golden Gate Sport & Social Club Spring league. I forgot to mention that 2 weekends ago we stormed out to a 4-1 lead in our semifinal match and held on for a 4-3 win. Interestingly, #1 seed Boutros Boutros Goalie was upset in their semifinal by the #5 seed Ouch, and in the final we soon realized why. They had a dude who not only resembled Riquelme but played like him as well. We gifted them a 1st half goal, went 0-2 down, scraped one back, and midway through the 2nd half your boy made a great run and found himself on the receiving end of a beautiful cross at the far post, which he promtly volleyed wide with the goal at his mercy. A terrible miss that should have been 2-2. Moments later they made it 3-1 and that was that. So we finished runners up and are hoping to improve on that this year.
Home for a shower after that and then it Colts-Pats. Come to think of it, the NFL today is really & truly every playoff-wanting CFB fan's dream - a final 4 in a real playoff format. I don't think I have ever written on here about my love of the Patriots, but being a born & bred Chowdahead I am a lifelong fan. I ain't no Johnny come lately bandwagon Pats fan either: my childhood was filled with listening on the radio while raking leaves in the front yard since every home game was blacked out, Steve Grogan and his mighty mighty neckbrace, Mosi Tatupu up the middle for 2 yards every time (either positive or negative 2 yards that is) a Rich Camarillo 9 yard punt or two, and hearing very very often from the mouths of older chowds named Smitty, Sully, Donnie, or Maahk: "Fuhkin' Patriots..." or "if the Pats sucked any haahdah they's have to moove Sullivan Stadium to the fuhkin' Cohmbat Zoone..."
Steve Grogan, pre-enormous protective neck collar
Anyhow, the Pats will tomorrow try to maintain the best AFC (or NFC for that matter) Championship record in the history of the NFL, a perfect 5-0 mark. Playing the Colts in the dome will not be easy, but they certainly have the hoodoo over the Colts in the playoffs, and Peyton Manning is our bitch when it matters most: the games where the loser dusts off their golf clubs. I think the Pats have a great shot considering 1) no disrespect to the Colts, who played very well, but the Pats sure as shit shot themselves in the foot with many mistakes and I think 5 turnovers in their regular season loss earlier this year in Foxboro 2) Last week they somehow won a game that they really shouldn't have, since they were dominated for much of the first 3 quarters. And they know it. They know that another effort like last week will not cut it, and I expect them to be sharper and more focused, especially T Brady, who had the worst game I have ever seen him play for the Pats for 3.5 quarters before he remembered that he was Tom Brady and played the last two drives like the modern day Joe Montana that he is 3) they will be confident that they didn't play anywhere near their best and still found a way to beat the #1 seed on the road, so there is no reason that they cannot beat the #3 team on the road 4) the aforementioned hoodoo 5) Belichick- dude is a genius and just knowing he is the coach of your team results in amazing confidence no matter the situation. We Patriots fans basically feel about Belichick exactly how Bill Swerski's Superfans felt about Ditka was coaching Da Bears.
Speaking of the Bears, if the Pats win I would love a date with Chicago, as it would be an opportunity to exact a measure of revenge for one of the darkest days of my childhood, Super Bowl XX, where the Pats turned a 3-0 lead into a 10-46 loss that was a real kick in the nuts for 12 year old Kanu.
So there it is: futbol, futbol, and football. Here's hoping for a troika of wins.