A Week In Football: Smackdown

A Week In Football: Smackdown

On Sunday, the talking stopped. After a year of build-up which included wistful soliloquys, raps, rock concerts and history lessons, the spotlight fell on the squared circle which had always been the venue of their destiny. Miami, Florida. 70,000+ screaming people. Two icons of their respective generations, two legends, two future Hall of Famers.

The old-timer who could still bring it, versus the cocky and exuberant younger man. The Rock versus John Cena, on the grandest stage of them all – Wrestlemania. Never mind the fact that on the night it was overshadowed by a “match” lower down the card. On Sunday evening, the good people of Miami ventured out to watch two heavyweights slugging it out in a titanic battle that proved to be more of a marathon than a sprint.

You can see where I’m going with this one, I assume. Yes, that’s right – the seemingly never-ending race to the title has begun to play on my mind at funny times, including this past Sunday at about 3am when I was trying to watch fake fighting on a dodgy stream that kept buffering every 30 seconds. Are The Rock and John Cena in any way comparable to United and City? Probably not, in all honesty, but as the experienced campaigner slapped the lips off the cocky, brash man’s face (not literally, that’d be odd) it made me smile and it made me think of football, because I’m mad like that. What chance a similar thing happening in May?

If it reaches May, of course. I’m the last to get carried away about things, and Lord help me if I ever become an optimist, but the way it’s going there’s a chance this thing will be wrapped up either at the derby match on April 30th or, blimey, even earlier than that. “My word” as Ray Wilkins likes to say, but it’s going well innit? Better than I ever expected it to go, to be honest, and this past weekend was another step in the right direction for the Reds. Another Monday night game for United meant City again stepped up to the plate before their neighbours, and once again faltered. At half-time Sunderland were winning 2-1, so I found the game on a website – might have to stop admitting I watch stuff this way to be perfectly honest – and decided to watch the second half knowing full well that training my eyes to the action was going to place quite the jinx on Sunderland. So it proved. Balotelli was insolent, Silva was ailing, Yaya was ambling, Aguero was injured, but just as the clock ticked round to 85 and I finally began to believe, they kicked Sunderland (and us) right in the crown jewels. 3-3 and I was now watching with my hands over my eyes, but the Mackems held on, and we would have taken that before the game right?

 Sunday provided a welcome respite from the madness that’s engulfing my footballing world as Newcastle put Liverpool to the sword up at the ground formerly known as St James’ Park. I’m going to have to say this quietly but I felt sorry for Pepe Reina y’know, I really did. I appreciate you can’t go doing what he did, but for Perch to throw himself to the ground and roll around in agony is just really f*cking poor, excuse my French. Perhaps a career in the WWE awaits Perch – the ability to “sell” like that not something everyone can do. Nevertheless a(nother) defeat is a defeat, and King Kenny’s men find themselves 34 points off us yet just 14 points off relegation at the time of writing. I’d love him to stay there forever, to be perfectly honest, but as a MLB fan I know that John W Henry is a smart man and a ruthless one. I just hope he knows a lot more about baseball than he does soccerball.

So after everyone else had played this weekend, the clock finally ticked round to 8pm on Monday evening, meaning that for just a little while, the talking stopped. This weekend, Ewood Park was the venue, a ground we have struggled to win at over the past few seasons, and once again it proved to be a difficult game against a Blackburn side who if nothing else do play for their manager. After 80 minutes of frustration however, the breakthrough arrived. Antonio Valencia would make a good WWE bad guy I think, with his speed, agility and his stubborn refusal to even entertain the notion of smiling. Yet for us at this moment in time he’s very much the good guy, creating and scoring goals like the Ecuadorian beast he is. Seven games to go, boys. Keep on laying the smacketh down, won’t you?

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