Vitesse Arnhem 0 Southampton 2
This morning 1, the race for the 2017 Europa League Championship began in England at Old Trafford. ManU(re) momentarily holds a 1-0 lead at halftime courtesy of a Kyle Walker own goal that Wayne Rooney celebrated as if he scored it himself, but he didn’t.
In other words, the English Premier League 2015-16 season has begun. And thus, the race to Europa League 2017 has also begun.
The top 4 finishers in the Premier League qualify for Champions League positions. Those 4 finishers are pretty much etched in stone…although the finishing order is yet to be determined. Chelsea, Arsenal, ManU(re) & Man City, in that order in my view. No other teams have a shot at that.
So the battle for the teams not stuck in Relegation Hell, will be Europa League qualification. A blessing in disguise, but then again, it didn’t work out too bad for Chelsea since they won the Europa League the season after they won the Champions League.
The complaint from some Premier League teams is that the Europa League slog through the grim Eastern European shitholes of Europe takes too much of toll on the squad for too small of a payback. Also, the Premier top brass — Richard Scudamore et. al. — don’t accommodate the squads in the Europa League by rescheduling Saturday fixtures after they’d played in some god-awful miserable draw in Moldova or Kazakhstan2
Southampton qualified for Europa League when Arsenal beat Aston Villa 4-0 to take the FA Cup.3 West Ham qualified because, like the aforementioned College Boys, University College Dublin, they placed in the top of the Fair Play League, meaning they had the fewest fouls, penalties, and red & yellow cards of any team in the Prem.
Soton moves on to the Group Stage Qualifying where they tee off against Midtjylland on August 19th. The return leg in Denmark will be on August 26th. Why not on a Thursday night you ask?
I don’t know. You tell me.
Meanwhilst, the Hammers will not have to deal with any more Europa League nonsense.4 The beautiful irony of is that unlike UCD, who were boosted out fair and square on the run of play, West Ham boosted themselves out by their utterly UNFAIR play. I might be exaggerating, but they had more fouls, and red & yellow cards in their short Europa League jaunt than they in the entire 2014-15 Premier League season.
Saints move on. And Sinners5 head home to blow bubbles, pretty bubbles in the air.
Norwich City 1 Crystal Palace 3
Chelsea 2 Swansea 2
From the evidence of the opening day of the 2015/16 Premier League season, Crystal Palace and Swansea seem hell-bent on Europa League 2017.
Mostly the latter than the former.
Swansea gave my Blues a hell of a game. I was very impressed by the Swans’ newbie Jefferson Montero. And Bafétimbi Gomis, a year on from a nice season last year, was scary as focking hell….especially with that smile of his. Damn!! I’ve got to work him into my Fantasy Football team. Maybe.
So your question is will I make any sort of comment on Courtois’s RED CARD for denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity when he tackled Gomis as he bore down on goal to score?
My answer is yes I will.
And my comment is that when Mike Oliver blew the whistle for time, I strolled6 down to the Mineral Springs Saloon for a few pints of SIERRA NEVADA Pale Ale.
I have no beef with the red card other than MAYBE Gomis was a bit offside thereby making any DOGSO moot. But, it was what it was. Gomis slotted the pelanty home for a 2-2 draw. I have no issue whatsoever with Mike Oliver’s red card, or how he called the match.[Imagine THAT!!]
As for Tootenham and ManU(re) well….it was what it was. Based on the overall run of play, I truly surprised that Tootentam didn’t also score a goal on thier own behalf. But it is, as they like to say in England, early days.9
Wayne Rooney10 celebrated that Kyle Walker own goal as though he scored in himself. I know I’ve already said that. But it’s the only thing about that tilt at Old Trafford that even remotely bears repeating.
Now if Harry Kane had scored, well….we’d already be well into a 2000+ word analysis of how Kane’s future long term legacy in English football could someday eclipse that of Wayne Rooney; along with a tight, succinct, yet unnecessarily verbose take on how the National Football League will come to dominate England once Tootenham’s new stadium/rebuild of White Hart Lane is completed—specifically analyzing how Tootenham’s contract with the NFL and the design of the new stadium to accommodate the NFL could/will result in an NFL franchise on London and someday Piccadilly Circus (for example) and Tottenham High Street in particular will be overrun with throngs of Green Bay Packers fans wearing styrofoam wedges of cheese.
So, fuck Wayne Rooney.
The English Premier League might be11 the best Premier League in the World. But, the best Premiership in the World is definitely the Scottish Premiership.
After all, any league regardless of sport that has THAT creature patrolling the sidelines definitely has something to offer that is worth taking into consideration.
Kingsley is the new mascot for the Glasgow side Partick Thistle who finished last season in 8th and will most likely not, unfortunately, finish this season much better. That’s too bad, really, because it would be funny as hell to see that creature scaring all living fock out of the Bosniaks, the Moldovans, the Albanians, the Belarussians, the Armenians, the Kazakhs, the Bulgarians, and yes, even the Serbs.
Instead, Kingsley will have stay content with scaring the fackin’ haggis out of everyone in Scotland.
Meanwhilst, Celtic, who beat Partick Thistle 0-2 in their Premiership opening, despite Kingsley patrolling the pitch at Thistle’s Firhill Stadium, will be Scotland’s main representative in Europe once again as it pretty much always has been.
Though Aberdeen will quite likely give them a go, which I hope they do.
And now, it’s time for a drink….just as it always is.
- Saturday, 8/8/15 as I feverishly tap out this telegram from my bunker in an old schoolhouse in the Driftless Zone in SW Wisconsin at roughly 7:32AM CDT
- Yes. Despite all geographical evidence to the contrary, Kazakhstan, according to UEFA, is in Europe.
- Had Arsenal not already qualified for the Champions League, they would would have gotten the Europa spot. Soton got Arsenal’s spot because they were the next highest Premier League team not already qualified for Europe. Dig?
- THEIR line of reasoning, I’m sure. Not mine….
- Pun fully and unabashedly intended
- Drove, actually
- Yeh. I don’t know either. You tell me.
- Wed aug 12 @ 2:41PM CDT
- Take a drink.
- Picture above, and the right, wearing glasses.
- IS, actually.