I was in the pub the other day. After a few ciders I got in to a conversation with a City fan (Yeah, I was also surprised at a City fan managing to hold a conversation) and of course the subject of football came up.
He gave me the big ‘We battered you in the semi final’ shout. I countered by saying they only won because our one mistake fell nicely for them while Joe Hart’s scuffed kick did not for us. That shut him up on that front, so next came the Premiership.
He started on a point that I have heard many times this season. “You’re only the best of a bad bunch this year!” He had no response when I asked him how he felt that his club had spent roughly 125 million in the Summer and another 27 million in the January window and he still considers them to be part of a ‘bad bunch’
So are we just the best of a bad bunch?
The Premiership is the closest and most exciting it has been for years. Nothing has yet been decided at either end of the table and it is still all to play for. I can not think of another year when I has been like this (Perhaps some of the older readers may correct me on this) But does this really mean that the quality is worse this year?
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In my opinion the closeness of the league this year signals a major improvement in most of the clubs outside the top 4. Teams like Sunderland, West Brom and Bolton have been taking points from the big teams, after poor starts Liverpool and Everton are now where most expected them to be and the teams at the bottom have all had good runs throughout the season.
With City spending more than 150 million and Chelsea (The Champions) spending in excess of 70 million in January, its hard to see them being weaker than last season. Also the formation of Gareth Bale from dodgy left back into ‘The Best Player in the World’ and the signings of Van Der Vaart and Gallas have improved Tottenham greatly.
Arsenal, according to most pundits, are having their best season for a few years. Wilshere has been fantastic and Nasri had a good start to the season, but disappeared as soon as Greggs stopped selling Mince Pies after Christmas. Had it not been for their ability to snatch defeat (Or a draw) from the jaws of victory, they would surely be sitting top of the league and a few points clear.
At the start of the season the World was waiting for United to sign a superstar. Sneijder, Ribery and Villa we all linked. In the end we signed two Superstars, Hernandez and Smalling, for a combined fee of about a third of a Fernando Torres. Both have improved our squad immensely and have helped us to be sitting top of the league with 5 games left and a great chance of staying there.
We have not played well in every game this season, plenty of teams have taken points from us away from home and some players have had a right mare on more then one occasion. But the truth is, we are top of the table in a league which is probably the most competitive in Europe.
So take your ‘Best of a bad bunch’ rubbish, spend a few more million and we will see you next season.