Welcome back from international break, I do hope you had safe travels back to your native lands. For me, the closest thing I had to an international break was breakfast at the International House of Pancakes (IHOP), but I digress, let’s get to the EPL re-cap from the weekend.
The final scene in the made-for-television movie involving Tom Hicks and George Gillett’s attempt to hold on to Liverpool until death played out in where most British civil matters do… a Texas courtroom. Apparently things are always bigger in Texas, so big that a district judge in Dallas even has jurisdiction in England. In a last minute power play, “the Yanks” filed a restraining order against the club saying they were being swindled out of millions of dollars in the potential sale of the team. However a British high court ruling on Friday threw out the restraining order and allowed the sale of the team to proceed. In the end Liverpool exchange hands for $475M from “the Yanks” to Red Sox owner John Henry and his New England Sports Ventures group. Irony is abound in this matter, but only 48 hours later Mr. Henry was traveled down the road for the Merseyside derby to see his latest investment compete for the first time. New owner, same result this time with Liverpool losing to Everton 2-0 in what could only be described as an awful leaving the Reds in 19th place in the table. This is the worst start for Liverpool since the 1953-54 season where they found themselves being relegated at the end of the season. Our thoughts? Liverpool will move up into the middle of the table by the start of the new year, at which time Mr. Henry will plop down some pounds to transfer in some talent and ensure a reasonable finish for the team.
My worlds collided yesterday when Manchester City (lifelong fan, since this year) and Blackpool (favorite promoted team) clashed at the Seaside in what turned out to be a very entertaining match if you joined at halftime. I had the chance to watch the match on FSC with “The Professor” who brought up an excellent question during the match; he asked if I could name a single player for Blackpool. Come to think of it, I couldn’t have even told you where Blackpool was located in England. To put it in further perspective, Man City has a payroll this season of just over $243M while lowly Blackpool field a team at just $3M. To say this is a situation of the little guy taking on the big guy is a gross understatement. Blackpool have been able to stay in the upper half of the table by grinding out results, spreading the field, and capitalizing on opportunities. The match yesterday had Blackpool in complete control in the first half but Roberto Mancini made a key substitution of Silva for Adebayor in the 66th minute which made the difference. He set up the first goal by Carlos Tevez and ended up having the game winner in the 90th minute to seal the victory and 3 points for Man City. Even with the loss, Blackpool find themselves in 10th place in the standings just 4 points out of the top 5.
With Chelsea being held to a scoreless draw at Aston Villa, Man U choking away yet another draw this time against WBA, it seems Man City were the only ones to make any progress on Chelsea at the top of the table.
1. Chelsea – 19 pts, +21 GD (6-1-1)
2. Manchester City – 17 pts, +7 GD (5-2-1)
3. Arsenal – 14 pts, +8 GD (4-2-2)
4. Manchester United – 14 pts, +7 GD (3-5-0)
17. Birmingham – 7 pts, -4 GD (1-3-4)
18. Wolverhampton – 6 pts, -5 GD (1-3-4)
19. Liverpool – 6 pts, -6 GD (1-3-4)
20. West Ham United – 6 pts, -9 GD (1-3-4)