Like I predicted, I’ve officially moved onto domestic league mode, all the hubbub of the World Cup is pretty much dead now, and of course now it’s back to my beloved Manchester United (and Brentford, and Hampton & Richmond). I would say I’m fickle, but I think most football fans are fickle, English fans in particular, I mean a couple of columns are now saying Blackpool can survive the Premier League, as great a 4-0 win over Wigan is, I sense Burnley all over again. Chelsea fans are singing the praises of a team that turned over the mighty West Bromich Albion 6-0, and of course Aston Villa are managerless and come how they see and go about Europe and more specifically the Europa League is disgusting. A difference a week makes.

My main gripe with Aston Villa is you put everything into finishing 4th, you don’t, you finished 6th, so from hoping for the Champions League, you find yourself in the Europa League. Now you pretty much playing the same team, the only difference is the date, which was something crazy like 1 or 2 days off of a full-year, exactly 365 days later, the same team, same stadium, that’s quite crazy. Now Aston Villa tried this approach of fielding a younger, inexperienced, reserve teamesque approach to the Europa League before, and it cost them, they lost  the away tie, and the home tie they won 2-1 but lost 2-2 on the away goal rule. So as a team you put all your money and effort into qualifying for the Champions League, and then you end up in the Europa League and then you say “hold up, we’re in Europe, not he Europe we wanted, but as close as we’re going to get, that’s put out this mish-mash team of youth, inexperience, and reserve”. It just seems quite disrespectful and to be honest it shouldn’t be allowed, maybe the Europa League needs the same ruling the Premier League has that you need to put out your strongest Starting XI, this idea that you can field such a “weak” team and hope for the win, that’s a gamble, and the fact that if your team loses, I don’t think the chairman or owner is caring too much as they think, it’s a distraction, when is any tournament a distraction? How long until the League and the FA Cup become distractions for the Champions League, I’m sure the Champions League dished out the most money, so that’s “the prize”, football is such a business now it’s quite insane.

John Terry still can’t stop talking, saying Chelsea’s MINIMUM aim this year is to retain the Double i.e. The Premier League and FA Cup titles… Is this guy for real? It just strikes me as childish or naive to predict and vocally set the bar, now more than ever, EVERY word you say in world football is scrutinised, dissected, analysed, I thought Mr. Terry had learnt from the World Cup, clearly not. When he said during that World Cup, England’s players would maybe have to band together and talk to Mr. Cappello, that sounded reasonable if it was pub-talk, but it’s not pub-talk John Terry, it’s a World Cup, it’s the world watching, and it’s a press conference, instead of sounding like a voice of reason or “ok, this isn’t working, lets try this”, you just sound like an idiot, a one-man coup against your manager, and your not even captain any more so your opinions are not required. As a Manchester United fan, I’m not complaining, any extra pressure on Chelsea is less pressure on Manchester United, and Manchester United have been there, done that, got the manager, I doubt they’ll say something like that about their own seasonal aspirations. They might aim for the league, or the Champions League, but the keyword… “minimum”, you don’t say minimum, as when that minimum doesn’t materialise, what are the media going to write, what are they going to say, think, do?

Last and not least, a couple of honourable mentions to Tottenham Hotspur vs. Manchester City, and Liverpool vs. Arsenal, now if recent history i.e. last season and a bit before has us to believe or predict, these are 3rd,4th, 5th, 6th… Enter which team finishes where, I’ll buy the beers if you predict right, it’s that unpredictable. Well as much as these games were built up, given the hype, advertised as these amazing, early punches contests, both ended in a draw. Football is quickly becoming quite the realm of “if it’s too good to be true, it normally is”. I was in a pub in Chertsey watching Spurs vs. Mercenary City, I mean Manchester City, and when Joe Hart, POSSIBLE (*rolls eyes*) England #1 in goal is the headline, all the attacking options both teams have, and it’s Joe fudgin’ Hart that takes the headlines. Liverpool vs. Arsenal was equally flat, Joe Cole sending off, and Reina’s goalkeeping error did those headlines.

Maybe Paul “Gazza” Gascoigne had a point? The British media, they build you up, and can as quickly knock you down :\