With an horrifically busy schedule of three hours training a day, and just six shopping days to go until Christmas, professional footballers’ personal assistants are, as we speak, desperately loading up Maybachs with designer velour tracksuits, Jeroboams of Cristal and any other tat expensive enough to justify the effort. So without further ado, welcome to the Game Day 17 Premier League preview.
Will Liverpool Waste Yet More Money On A Goalkeeper This Winter?
“We play with 11 men, other teams play with 10 men and a goalkeeper.” – Brendan Rodgers.
As patently nonsensical quotes go, it’s up there. But it’s made even more ridiculous by the fact that Brendan Rodgers spent £10m on the signature of Simon Mignolet, a man who’s about as good with a ball at his feet as Long John Silver and, based on his form over the last 18 months, isn’t much of a goalkeeper either. Indeed, perhaps the most sensible thing to leave Rodgers’ lips in recent weeks was his announcement that Mignolet had been dropped “indefinitely” ahead of Liverpool’s 3-0 weekend loss to Manchester United.
All of which suggests the Reds are in need of a new goalkeeper. So who might Rodgers sign this January, should Fenway Sports decide to grant the Liverpool Transfer Committee another King’s ransom to waste? Reports suggest Sampdoria and Argentina’s Sergio Romero is at the top of Rodgers’ wish list, though others say the Reds will make an audacious raid for Chelsea’s now surplus-to-requirements Petr Cech.
Whoever Liverpool sign, it’ll be another fine Merseyside example in how to waste tens of millions of pounds hiring and firing footballers. Rodgers and Liverpool could have avoided this whole ordeal by sticking with the perfectly good goalkeeper they had to begin with: Pepe Reina. The 32 year old Spaniard was shipped out of Anfield on loan to Napoli in 2013 and then sold to Bayern Munich after Rodgers signalled the end of his Liverpool career with the signing of, that’s right, Simon Mignolet.
Liverpool really are first-rate at this whole transfer business, aren’t they?
Please QPR, Give Christmas A Miss Next Year
Following their appalling performance last week, QPR will be desperate to give a better account of themselves this Saturday. Not that we’re talking about The R’s 3-1 loss to Everton; oh no. What we refer to is considerably more shameful than that. Ladies and Gentlemen, we present you with Queens Park Rangers’ haplessly inept and joyless attempt at a Christmas music video:
On a less dreadful note, the visit of West Brom this weekend is an important and eminently winnable game for Harry Redknapp’s men, and said manager will be delighted that Charlie Austin is once more available for selection. No Premier League player is more important to his side’s goal production than Austin to QPR: with eight goals and two assists, he’s responsible for fully 59% of their Premier League strikes.
Redknapp knows full well he’s overly-reliant on Austin. He’s also all too aware that goal-scorers keep you in the Premier League, which is why, as The18 types away, he’s no doubt thumbing through his rolodex of “triffic” strikers in anticipation of the January transfer window.
So, will QPR become the fourth club to which Redknapp signs Jermaine Defoe?
Yes. Yes they will.
Light Up the Cigars
If you’re after a sure-fire winner this weekend, the type you can happily bet your house and mother-in-law on without fear of repercussion, look no further than Man United’s trip to Aston Villa. United have lost just one of their last 37 fixtures against The Villains, and have won the last seven in a row.
Put another way, the last time Aston Villa beat Manchester United at home, Monica Lewinsky was only just getting acquainted with her new boss, Bill.
Photo: @EurosportCom_EN | Twitter[/caption]
Back in September, The18 commented upon how the league table resembled a spotty adolescent, all gangly and socially inept. We had upstart teams like Southampton, Leicester City and Aston Villa usurping the big boys at the top of the pile, while erstwhile titans of English football such as Man United, Liverpool and Everton languished in its lower reaches.
Back then, we said the league would become a little more predictable come December, and so it’s proven. The table before us today is a considerably more mature, refined and well-rounded individual, who we’re quietly confident would have no trouble whatsoever holding a conversation with the opposite sex. The top three places are occupied by the three teams who’ve monopolised the league title over the last ten seasons, while the bottom five is comprised entirely of sides promoted either this year or last.
There’ll be bumps and scrapes along the way, but we fully expect the winners and losers of the 2014-15 Premier League to come from these two respective groupings.
Jesus Christ, (Premier League) Superstar
According to 1-in-5 children in London, Jesus Christ is alive and well and playing for Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea.
Which makes a degree of sense to The18. After all, if Jesus were to play for any club in the world, it would undoubtedly be Chelsea. Who else aside from Jose Mourinho could manage the holy one? As he said having left Porto for Chelsea shortly after winning the Champions League back in 2004: "Beautiful blue chair, the UEFA Champions League trophy, God, and after God, me."
Jesus better know his place if he does ever rock up at Stamford Bridge.
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