Hello and welcome to the first edition of ‘Monday Muse’ which will be a regular feature here on Verbal Football every Monday with a musing view on the weekend’s football results and any hot topics that take the authors fancy.
First off, it feels quite refreshing from taking a short break away from hacking at the keyboard with my opinions on football over the last 10 days but I am fighting fit once again and ready to enlighten you or enrage you with my football opinions.
So where are we on this Easter Bank Holiday Monday…well, first off my beloved Queens Park Rangers were denied celebrating promotion today after a 96th minute winner by Simeon Jackson for Norwich City at home to Derby County. The Canaries won 3-2 after the in form striker netted his hat-trick and denied a promotion party in West London where Rangers were held to a 1-1 draw with Hull City.
It’s typical of Rangers to be doing this the hard way, but on a personal note I did not fancy celebrating promotion whilst travelling from the North on the Megabus today and will quite happily celebrate promotion at Watford and then the Championship in front of Leeds United in the following week!
Despite the rich names attached to the Q.P.R. boardroom, we have not bought our way out of this league and in theory, have spent the same as the likes of Nottingham Forest, Cardiff City, Reading and Leicester City have done over the last few seasons. Neil Warnock deserves a lot of credit from turning a team fighting the drop to League One last season, into topping the Championship table for the majority of this season. We may have not played the best football, but we’ve been the most consistent and we deserve the League title.
Aside from my partisan views, I was surprised to see Preston North End confirmed with relegation from the Championship today, they had been the longest serving Championship side having been in the division for the past 11 seasons but after the 1-0 defeat at home to Cardiff City, they will be playing League One football next season. Phil Brown looked to have turned the clubs fortunes around and hopefully they can keep him on as manager if they are to bounce back next season.
Sticking with Lancashire based clubs, I was pleased to see Blackpool come out of the relegation zone, albeit on goal difference with their 1-1 draw at home to Newcastle United on Saturday and Wigan Athletics 4-2 defeat at Sunderland. I’ve already expressed my admirations for Blackpool and Ian Holloway on this blog and it will be a fantastic achievement if they are to stay in the top flight this season.
My Tottenham supporting friends seem to all ask the question about QPR wanting promotion after our two draws this Easter weekend preventing any promotion parties, but I reciprocated with asking them if they want 4th place after a 2-2 draw at home to West Brom. Spurs have been fantastic this season, but it seems like the squad could do with the summer break already and with some new faces to the squad.
At the time of typing, Blackburn are holding Manchester City to a goalless draw, which may be a good result for Spurs if they have any chance of finishing 4th but I just can’t see City giving it up. If Spurs do fail to qualify for the Champions League, it would be great to see them take the Europa League as serious next season and try and win the trophy that lacks too much respect in this country for my liking.
Sticking with North London, I couldn’t believe Arsenal losing at the Reebok Stadium. I thought a draw or an Arsenal win was on the cards, but a Bolton victory came out of the blue and it seems like everything is starting to fall apart for Arsene Wenger’s third generation squad.
Like I said in an article on FootballFanCast a few months ago, the Arsenal coaching staff has barely changed since 1997 and Arsene Wenger needs some new faces and voices on that training pitch and dugout if there is going to be any change in results. As for Bolton, it was a very touching moment for Tamir Cohen to get the winner and reveal the t-shirt with an image of his late father, Avi. His interview after the game was one of the most emotional interviews in football I have ever seen.
Surprised to see Swindon Town have been relegated to League Two today. I remember Swindon being in the Premier League once-upon-a-time although, I think they still hold the record for the most goals conceded in a Premier League season. If any Swindon fans happen to be reading this, then I want to know more on why the Robins have been relegated this season….
Shout out to Bury in League Two who beat league leaders Chesterfield 3-2 to confirm promotion. I am sure both clubs will be fine competition for League One next year. They could also pip Chesterfield to the league title with only 2 points separating the promoted clubs. The third promotion spot seems to be a dog fight between Wycombe and Shrewsbury with only two games now remaining.
Back to North London and Barnet were denied another amazing victory after they were held 2-2 at home to Oxford United today. There impressive 4-2 win at Gillingham on Saturday was emphatic but they’re in the relegation zone now by a point. With their remaining games against play-off contenders Accrington Stanley and Port Vale, it’s going to take a lot of courage from Grazioli’s men to try prevent an exit from the football league. Personally, I hope they can do it. Come on you Bees!
Stockport County are all but out of the football league with a huge goal difference, even two wins won’t be enough to see them survive unless they win by about 20 odd goals to nil. It’s a big shame for a club that were tough competitors in the Championship (old Division One) not that long ago.
That’s it for this round-up, apologies if your teams achievements were not mentioned in this edition but that’s why it’s the Monday Muse! A quick fire of thoughts on the weekends games.