Saturday, April 3, 2010

Top of The Table Clash: Manchester United vs Chelsea April 3rd 2010

Isn't this blog for business purposes only? Yes indeed. Then how can you possibly be discussing the English Premier League? Let alone the likes of Manchester United? These are all good questions.

Firstly, you may have guessed from my anti-ManU sentiment that I'm a level-headed and pragmatic Chelsea FC fan. Is there really any other kind? Don't answer that! But in all honesty, Chelsea is so much more than a team. We represent diversity. We represent solidarity. We represent a dream so much greater than just football. From the Russian-born orphan-turned-tycoon: Abramovich, to the superstar 'de Côte d'Ivoire', namely Drogba, we are a delicate balance of commercial solidarity and cultural diversity. Throw in a Lampard, and mix in a Terry with a side dish of Deco, and you not only have a sumptuous spectacle to dazzle the eyes but a tabloid-selling powerhouse that puts the largesse of Lindsay Lohan to shame. Shall I go on?

To illuminate my first proposed conundrum regarding the nature of this blog, may I refer you to the mirror. Take a long hard look at yourself. Now ask yourself this: Have you not noticed that the English Premier League is a commercial entity attracting millions upon millions of broadcast and sponsorship pounds, dollars- whatever your flavour- for years upon years?

The English Premier League is a dynasty. Without a doubt, it is easily the most lucrative association football league in the globe. In 2007/08 the league saw its revenues increase to nearly £2 billion, amidst a global downturn. Adding to this, the candidature of the owners is a spectacle in itself: with the likes of Chelsea's Roman Abramovich, Fulham's Mohamed Al-Fayed, and Manchester United's Malcolm Glazer, the backdrop the the on-field spectacular is followed closely by off-field press monster that surrounds the dealings and politics of private ownership. It's a fascinating phenomenon to behold.

So when it comes to a end-of-season title clash- the stakes have never been higher. I'm tempted to analyse the technical aspects of the game in consideration of Rooney's absence, and the recent red-hot goal scoring form of both teams. I'm so very tempted but I won't. But I will say this: there is not another occasion where the spotlight and pressure will be on both players and coaches to perform.

With all due hatred and animosity, it's difficult to argue with the longevity and uber-consistent performance of Sir Alex Ferguson. For Chelsea FC the new-season-new-coach phenomenon will again be put to the test. How interesting it would be to listen in on the pre-match talk in either of the dressing rooms. I can only imagine Sir Alex giving a knowing glance to Vidic. This knowing look is understood and simple. Take out Drogba, 'we don't pay you for your looks or even your consistent form'. 'I don't care what you do just get the job done' is the understanding.

In the Chelsea sheds the players look to Drogba and say with their eyes: we know you are going to dive; but at least if you do, get in the box and make it look good. Drogba's smile grows larger, knowing full well that if ever shafted from the squad he has a long career ahead in the 3 meter springboard. Terry will no doubt be integral. Having said this, if he leaves the field early we can safely say he is running late for Jerry Springer. "Terry! Terry! Terry!"

April 3 will be a telling day. It will be an important match. No doubt, the loser faces an improbably uphill battle to gain the 2009/10 title, and the winner will most likely carry the momentum to trophy-raising elation.

May the best team win. Long live Abramovich! Game On!

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