In what's become yet another G:TB tradition, we once again welcome Fat Guy in a Speedo to tell get us up to speed on the glorious bounty of football we can expect beginning today.
Much like teachers in the U.S., soccer players in Europe get summers off. Unlike teachers in the U.S., they don’t get to go on cross-country road trips over the summer. They still work: train with their team, international play, cup qualifiers, friendlies, etc. In light of this pretty much every European league gives their players at least the holiday week off. This gives the players a rare chance or downtime with family, mental breaks as well as time to recuperate which ostensibly also gives the national team a boost in terms of cup qualifications. The Empire is a cut above their EU neighbors, they remember Agincourt, the Spanish Armada and still deal in pounds sterling bitches. Therefore, their players play three games over the week from December 26th to January 2nd. The logic is that the rest of the lazy, soft world watches the Premier League as it’s the only game in town and England works harder than the rest and so should their imported entertainment.
The Premier League is about as good as it gets this season. Much to the delight of Clarence, Leicester City is top of the table. Much to the delight of the rest of the world, Chelsea hover at the bottom. This is pretty remarkable in that Leicester City were recently promoted and should be lingering at the bottom of the table around Chelsea who won the league last season. Leicester City have a player named Jamie Vardy who recently scored in 11 games in a row, a Premier League record. This is cool for a number of reasons, one of them being that after he was cut from his youth team, Sheffield Wednesday, he went to work in a factory and played on the side for £30 a game for a local team and worked his way up through the ranks. Even cooler is the fact that he’s not the best player on the team. Riyad Mahrez scores at will and assists Vardy when he feels like it. The two of them are fun to watch and the team is entertaining as hell, always taking it to their opposition. Catch them now while you can, as the odds of this pair being sold to a team like Chelsea for £60m and flatlining forever thereafter are pretty good. They play Liverpool today, and like all things Leicester, they are feisty when they are on their game but potentially teeter on the edge of implosion.
Unaccustomed to looking up at Leicester with envy, Chelsea are down. Favored to win the league at the beginning of the season, the champions have already imploded. Inner turmoil that seemingly began with the public humiliation and firing of their team doctor has led to many losses, stagnation, player revolt and the firing of one of the world’s most winningest coaches Jose Mourinho. Mourinho is a huge asshole which is why he fit in perfectly at Chelsea. He was fired by the owner Valdemort mid-season in 2007 after winning them back to back titles for the first time in history so there is no lack of precedent here. This becomes interesting in light of Manchester United.
Manchester United are awful to watch. Louis Van Gaal used to be a good coach but seems to have lost the plot. As a fan I find myself not watching games for the first time in recent memory, even less than the short Moyes debacle. Mourinho thought he was going to be Ferguson’s replacement over Moyes. Ferguson is another successful asshole who might also be a tad racist in selecting a fellow unproven Scot over a swarthy champion Portuguese, however, racism in football deserves its own encyclopedia. If Van Gaal doesn’t win and win with style over the holiday games, we could be looking at Mourinho at United in 2016. Thanks but no thanks. I will start watching though so there’s that. (Editor's note: the Man U and Chelsea dumpster fires are glorious to behold, though the Red Devils, for all their awful, unattractive soccer, are still tied for 4th in the league and will likely finish in the top 4.)
Non-meandering Sentence of Da Rest: Liverpool have a great, shiny new coach Jurgen Klopp but lack the talent to succeed. Arsenal look great and then they look like shite, so they look like Arsenal; they are the soccering equivalent of Clemsoning and might find themselves with an unlikely title as well. City, eh. Tottenham are fun to watch but will take 5th or 6th per their wont. That’s all folks, see you in 2016. On a side note the pundits seem to think that MSU match up well with Bama, Vegas disagrees. Bama by double digits.