My crystal ball has disintegrated into a heap of rust. How exactly glass rusts, I can’t say, but by now it should be abundantly clear that I can’t predict squat when it comes to English soccer results. My FA Cup predictions for this weekend had West Bromwich Albion beating Portsmouth and Barnsley getting past Cardiff City to go to the championship game. Of course, this weekend’s winners were Portsmouth and Cardiff City.
At an earlier point, I had mentioned in passing that, as much as I’d wish otherwise, I didn’t think that Manchester United, let alone anybody else, was going to be able to overtake Arsenal at the top of the Barclay’s Premier League table. Of course, right now Manchester United is in first place, Chelsea is in second place, and Arsenal has fallen back to third. I will gladly swallow a feast of crow about that one, though.
I just hope the Reds can hang on at the top over these next couple of weeks though, as I believe we’ve just seen exactly how important Nemanja Vidic is to Manchester United’s defense in the 2-2 draw at Middlesbrough. Topping it off, no one knows at this point how bad Rio Ferdinand’s injury sustained today is. This doesn’t bode well for the next couple of weeks. There are five Premier League games left, three of which are in April, while Vidic may still be out, and two of those are against Arsenal and Chelsea. More obsessive minds than mine are thinking that 88 is the magic number of points to win the Premiership title this year, which means that of the 15 points possible to take from the five remaining games, Man. Utd. would have to rack up 11 of them. Three wins and two ties would do that. With the teams on the remaining schedule and the injuries that are piling up, that could be tough.
And there’s also that small matter of Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League second leg quarterfinal against Roma; I have no idea what Ferguson’s going to cobble together for a defense for that game. Luckily, there’s that two goal cushion from the first leg to fall back on. On the bright side, at least we’ll be able to watch that game in the United States on ESPN2; today’s Premier League game against Middlesbrough wasn’t televised over here, so I didn’t get to see it snow in April. People in this part of Pennsylvania refer to that phenomenon as “onion snow;” I have no idea what it’s called over there.