Friday, April 03, 2020
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What makes a ‘Super Sunday’? Not much, according to the producers at Sky Sports. Last week the line-up comprised of Sunderland vs. West Ham and Tottenham vs. Blackburn. The week before Everton vs. Middlesborough and Hull vs. Man City fit the ‘Super’ billing. 

 

Today’s games come closer to living up to the superlative. First up we have the Manchester derby - a fixture that represents a fearsome rivalry between two halves the former textile manufacturing town. Coupled with this, at board-level we now have the added dimension of Jewish-Muslim antipathy. With pork off the menu expect the prawn sandwich platters to be flying.    

 

Whether Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand were aware of political connotations when the stoked the fire earlier this week is unknown. But with Sir joining in on the act of belittling Manchester’s nuveau riches you get the impression United are ill-at-ease going into the game. After being tactically outwitted by Sven to the tune of 6-points last season, Sir has every reason to bring out the mind games this time round. 

 

Further south the second act on the bill is the London derby between Chelsea and Arsenal. On the one hand we have the ‘team in crisis’ who have been comprehensively beaten by Aston Villa and Manchester City in their last two league outings; on the other there’s a Chelsea side who have looked less than convincing at home and have struggled against teams that bring more to the table than Middleborough, Hull and Sunderland. 

 

Both managers have been showing the signs of the strain recently. Phil Scolari has been less of the jovial uncle-type since his side went out of the Carling Cup and started to make a meal of their Champions League group. Arsene Wenger has clearly been miffed by Arsenal’s lackluster displays and the fact that his captain has been the leading the criticism. 

 

No matter the preamble, today should be ‘Super’. Not only will we get the thrills and spills of the games themselves, but if we choose there’s elongated build-up and background narrative delivered via the questionable punditry powers of Richard Keys, Jamie Redknapp et al. A freakish side show in itself. Sunday 30th November promises to be a ‘Super Soccer Sunday’. Thank you very much, Mr. Murdoch.    

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