FOG:TB Fat Guy in a Speedo can be counted on to provide us with mirthful and high-quality footie material. Unfortunately, I can't always be counted on to read his submissions in a timely fashion. So, if you will, please pretend you're reading this yesterday morning. (If you actually are reading this yesterday morning, through some fortuitous hot tub time machine sort of thing, I've included some score details so you can place bets.)
It's been awhile since the last kickball update. The collective hangover from a World Cup year tends to bleed over into league football the following season. Players get more injuries after working the summer they tend to have off, fatigue, ennui and general malaise ensue. At least this is the general consensus; realistically not much changes. The powerhouses are still at the top of the tables around the world and the best players continue to perform at the highest levels. Then winter rolls around and the world takes a break from soccer to worship, drink, eat and freeze for a few weeks while players regroup and recharge.
Luckily, England continues to flout the traditions of Europe and the rest of the world and doubles down over the holidays. The Premier League teams will play 4 games over the next two weeks; 3 league games followed by FA cup games. Although this is great for the fans and the league in that football fans the world over only have England as an option, the players probably wish they had time off to heal and hang with their families. But dilligaff to them. Plus, this is a great excuse for England to continually underperform on the world stage in national football events. Here are a few games to watch for those of you who opt to nurse A.M. holiday hangovers watching sports that might end up 0-0.
Friday, December 26th - Boxing Day
7:45 Chelsea - West Ham: Normally a wash, West Ham is actually overperforming this season and sit in 4th place. This makes for a London derby worth watching although Chelsea is on a tear this season and should take 3 points. (Time travel note: Chelsea will, in fact, take all three points, through goals by that bastard John Terry and that stud Diego Costa.)
10:00 Manchester United - Newcastle: After starting off horribly, United have woken up and have won 5 out of 6. This is due to some good coaching by Louis Van Gaal (pronounced Van gHhhhhaaaaaal, if you're Dutch, or if you want to sound like a pretentious prick), former national coach of the Netherlands who took over the helm in Manc after the World Cup. This is also due to the fact that United spent a few hundred million pounds on the world's best players who have been hurt all season (World Cup hangover?) and the ones who aren't will be puking their collective guts out after their first working Xmas in the Premier League. Still, watch United take this one by a few goals. (Past tense betting advice: those wankers in red did take this one by a few goals, winning 3-1on two tallies by pasty asshole Wayne Rooney and one by the suave and sublime Robin Van Persie.)
Sunday, December 28th
Spurs - Manchester United and Arsenal - West Ham (This is all we got from Fat Guy, so hopefully he's reading this and can chime in with something for the punters - he's been on point thus far this holiday season. Of note, however, Seattle Sounders and USMNT back DeAndre Yedlin signed with Spurs this week. So that's pretty cool.)
Monday, December 29th Liverpool - Swansea is the only option here
Tuesday, December 30th Spurs - Chelsea (Can't really blame Fat Guy. Writing multiple paragraphs is hard work. Give the man a break, jerks.)
There is a boatload of other games to choose from, most of which will undoubtedly be more entertaining than the ones I recommend. Rob might enjoy watching Championship League (one tier below Premier League) side Fulham play mighty Bournemouth (Note from the future/past: I did not at all enjoy this, as Fulham were trucked, 2-0, and currently sit in 15th in the 24-team Championship, though they are 8 points clear of rele-relegation.) this Friday or Brighton & Hove Albion Monday. Or he might want to upgrade to a Manchester Premier League team that won't give his PC ebola when he streams them online. (My daughter is a Liverpool backer, so I'm living vicariously through her. Thus far this season, Brendan Rodgers' boys have sucked. Nice job, kid.) Salud, nostrovia, happy Becksmas. (And Happy Holidays, ladies)