It’s Silly Season in the English Premier League. The transfer window opens July 1st, and teams are making their big brave plans. And from the look of it, everyone, and I mean EVERYONE is gunning for that 4th place finish ((well…everyone except Chelsea, Citeh, and ManU(re) that is)).
It’s gonna be mighty crowded at the 4th place spot next season, as Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool, Everton all have their sights on sneaking into the (real) playoffs by finishing in the 4th pace spot. And maybe even West Ham too given Big Sam’s potential signings according to the latest up to the minute and certainly worthy of betting a fiver on transfer Rumours.
Arsenal wants to stay on their perch and the rest all fully expect to knock them off their fucking perch.
Brendon Rogers is all-in on this. And Everton’s newly appointed gaffer, Roberto Martinez is chuffin’ and puffin’ about qualifying for (real) European football.
Hell, I’d be willing to bet a fiver that Newcastle gaffer Alan Pardew falls asleep every night wearing a beret and sucking his thumb imagining Newcastle dragging themselves out of last year’s misery and leaping all of them, plus West Brom, Swansea, Norwich, Stoke, Fulham, Southampton and Aston Villa to gain that Champions League qualifying spot, as sleep finally o’ertakes him.
Yes. All this for a Champions League qualifying trek through the grim shitholes of Europe where such mighty perils like Helsingin Jalkapalloklubi, FK Ludogorets 1947 Razgrad, Gyori ETO and FK Vardar Skopje could be waiting for them. Though more likely it will be the likes of Partizan Belgrade that will be waiting on them. But still about as grim a prospect. For the record, and for those keeping score at the newly liberated Port of Hamburg in Milwaukee, Partizan Belgrade is NOT my favorite team from Serbia….MY favourite team from Serbia is Crvena Zvezda, who will be awaiting on whichever of these Premier League pilgrims tumbles from the grip of fourth into fifth…the Europa League spot. The NIT of Europe. The Not Important Tournament. Not Important only when Chelsea doesn’t win it, of course.
So All Hail The Mighty 4th Place Finish!!
Chelsea will NOT finish 4th! Surely Schürrle will save the day, but don’t call him Shirley!
Even if I were a ManU(re) or a Man City fan, which thankfully I’m not, I would say that the Premier League next season is Chelsea’s to lose. With Mourinho back at the helm, and the smart additions to the squad that seem to be coming along….PLUS recalling Lukaku from his loan spell at West Brom….it’s looking very good. The Blue Flag could ((and should, and will)) be flying high atop the Premier League for quite sometime.
No 4th place for Chelsea and the Madchester teams. It’s a podium finish for all three of them. With Chelsea on top and ManU(re) and their Noisy Neighbors duking it out for the silver.
4th place in most sports…probably ALL sports, means nothing but loser, loser, LOSER. 4th loser.((3rd loser, actually if you want to do the math right….but not many sportsman are much at math, except for Liverpool’s defensive back Glen Johnson)).
In other European football leagues, 4th place doesn’t even get ya to the Europa League….the NIT of UEFA. In Norway, for example, ((and I use Norway as a tip-o-the-hat to Mt. Horeb’s Norwegian heritage)) Tromso IL finished in 4th. They get to sit home and watch as Strømgodset IF and Rosenborg BK duke it out in the grim Southern and Eastern shitholes of Europe on Thursday night.
Tottenham has been reasonably successful under AVB’s guidance. It took a while for the players to warm up to him and his approach to football, a while that he was never given at Chelsea. But now, by many accounts, the lads at White Hart Lane love him to death, or some less exuberant equivalent thereof.
They finished in 5th, so Tottenham will be playing European football this coming season….but the Europa League is not where they (or Everton, Liverpool, Arsenal, et. al.) want to be.
The biggest challenge for AVB and Tottenham will be holding on to Gareth Bale.
Real Madrid is after Bale. They are a willing to break the bank to get him and will pay whatever is on Daniel Levy’s invoice. Real Madrid’s sporting director, Zinedine Zidane ((yes, THAT Zinedine Zidane )) has gone so far as to tell Bale that he should hand in a transfer request to speed things along. Former Spurs teammate, Luka Modric has been urging Bale to make the move to Real as well.
Not that I give a toss about Spurs to be honest. But between now and the World Cup next year, having Bale at White Hart Lane will benefit Clint Dempsey….and whether it actually will, or not, I’m firmly convinced that it will. And anything that benefits Clint Dempsey will put USA! USA!! USA!!! that much closer to winning the World Cup.
Of all the usual suspects, only Arsenal has stated ambitions beyond a mighty 4th place finish. Stan Kroenke and his Russian buddy from hell Alisher Usmanov have promised to shake loose a little more coin for Wegner to spend wisely…..well…more wisely than the £10.2m that was spent on, say, Gervinho.
From the look of things, Arsenal are set to bust their transfer record spend ((which was £15m for Andrey Arshavin in 2009 for those of you keeping score at Chico’s Villa Tap in Madison WI)) to pluck Gonzalo Higuaín from Real Madrid. Higuaín, in case you weren’t aware, leads all scorers in South American WC Qualifiers so far with 9 goals. One goal more than his Argentinian teammate, a fairly obscure and up-and-coming fellow who might amount to something someday, Lionel Messi.
In totally unrelated news, Landon Donovan, meanwhile, will make the move to Real Madrid to replace Gonzalo Higuaín.
Brendan Rodgers needs that 4th place finish more than anyone. He needs to start showing the Liverpool faithful that he can be a winning manager who can get The Reds back to their Championship ways of old. Now no one is expecting him to be, nor will they mistake him for, Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley, or Kenny Dalglish (in his first stint at the helm, not the second)…but the onus is on Rodgers to deliver real deal silverware.
Iago Aspas was/is a smart signing. Especially in light of all the argy-bargy surrounding Count Dracula, who despite loving Liverpool and the club and the fans, is hell-bent on ripping the wooden-stake of the English Press out of his heart (such as it is) and flying away to Spain or wherever the fock before the first hint of sunlight roasts his flesh.
If Suarez leaves Anfield, to be honest, it gives all the hopes and dreams of Brendon Rodgers a real rogering (pun intended) in the arse. Like him or not, Suarez is a force to be reckoned with. Now that John Henry has his Boston Red Sox in first place, and with Matt Kenseth moving over to Joe Gibbs Racing to be replaced by Danica Patrick’s Boyfriend® in the #17 Best Buy/Zest/Fifth Third Bank Ford in a deal that he now shares the ownership of the car with Jack Roush, aforementioned John Henry has a little more coin to shake loose on Fenway East a/k/a/ Anfield. At least that’s the theory behind the speculation.
So look for Landon Donovan and Kyle Beckerman to stroll into town any day now and take over the place like they’re the focking droog-takin BEATLES or something.
New Everton gaffer Roberto Martinez jumps for joy at the prospect of challenging for European football!
How he will do it, no one is quite sure. David Moyes, who moved on to replace Sir Alex at ManU(re) was never able to get to the magical 4th place finish. During the Moyes years, Everton consistently punched above their weight but never cracked through to the elite level. Sad to say, but they don’t have the economic clout to really compete with the top clubs in the transfer market and on the payroll. They’ve had to do more with less, and have relied on Moyes, and from hereon, Martinez, to get the most out of lower priced talent.
This is not to say that Everton has no great players. Leighton Baines is one of the top right backs not only in the Premier League, but in the World. Marouane Fellaini is sought after as one of the top mid-fielders. Everton most likely will lose both to clubs with more money. Their stalwart long-time skipper, Phil Neville retired after this last season. So Martinez is going have to reload and find a way to keep at least Leighton Baines if they’re going to have a prayer.
Martinez’s optimism, while a bit naive, is ultimately refreshing. He has a way of keeping spirits and hopes up. After all, he kept Wigan up in the Prem FAR longer than they should have stayed up.
So consider it done then, yes? Bring on Shaktar Donetsk!!
Actually, what Kyle Busch did, today, in the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway, was finish in 4th place. If Kyle Busch was in the English Premier League, instead of NASCAR, he’d be off to Europe in pursuit of fabulous prizes. Instead, he’ll have to zip up the firesuit next week, slam the helmet onto his noggin, attach the HANS Device, jump into the #18 M&M’s Toyota Camry at Sears Point for the Toyota/SaveMart 350, step on the gas, and keep the hell out of Danica Patrick’s way.
Kyle Busch finished in 4th place today. And thus he entered a hallowed pantheon of NASCAR drivers so far this season. 15 races run so far, and Kyle has now leapfrogged reigning champ Brad Kesolowski for most top 4 finishes this season. Kyle has finished 4th three times!!
Over in F1 where finishing is FAR more heartbreaking than it is in NASCAR since it means you don’t get to cavort on the podium and spray champagne all over yourself and everyone like you just won the focking World Series, the best 4th place finish of all time so far this season goes to Force India’s Paul di Resta. Sebastian Vettel holds the honour of winning the most top 4 finishes. He won that prize at the Spanish Grand Prix, and the Chinese Grand Prix. And while he cried himself to sleep clutching his french horn ((yes, Sebastian Vettel plays a french horn, so suck on THAT Yngwie Malmsteen)) after finishing 4th, at the following race, he was back on the podium….cavorting with the champagne and hopping around like with lads like a bunch of teenage girls at a slumber party.
And speaking about burning down a woman’s prison with fireworks…Mario Balotelli scored the winning goal for Italy as they beat the hell out of Mexico 2-1 in the Confederation’s Cup at the fabled and newly rebuilt (sort of, almost) Macarana in Rio today. Nothing 4th place about THAT powerful strike! My word, when Mario focuses on what matters, instead focusing on wearing rooster hats, or breaking into a woman’s prison or burning down his own house (almost) with fireworks, he is among the very best in world.
El Tri, meanwhile, had better start winning a few, and scoring some goals from the run of play ((Chicharito’s equalizer today at the 34th minute was from a penalty kick)) or they might not even make it to the World Cup. Well…I know that’s unreasonable…but a 4th place finish in the CONCACAF qualifier’s, which is not out of the question, will make their journey back to Brazil harder than it needs to be. I would not want to be Jose Manuel de la Torre at the moment. And neither would you.
Meanwhile, I’ve hit the 2000 word threshold again so I’m being told to publish or perish. I’m sure you’d prefer the latter rather than the former. But tough shit. Here it is. The 4th best post on this bloog this month. Not even a podium finish. But fock all that sissy-ass Euro-crap with the champagne. I’ll just quietly sip an ALE ASYLUM Bedlam from a snifter and get the last laugh. Meanwhile, after today’s race, That Lout Kevin Harvick® sits in 4th place. And since I hate music so much, here’s the song that’s #4 on the Billboard charts today, June 16 2013. Hit it!!