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All Things Footie | Monday, August 18 | Jordan

It’s begun

So after thirteen tedious weeks of waiting, football (minus pointless friendlies) is back. And with no shortage of action, controversy, or goals; just how I like it.

I was most interested to see how the new look Chelsea would fare at Anfield. The result, as far as I was concerned, was a foregone conclusion, it was the way it was achieved I was interested in. On pre-season evidence I expected Damien Duff to make an explosive return to the Premiership; from what I’ve heard (and read), it was not so. The Blues turned to a more long standing employee to secure three points, as Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink sealed the game with one of his trademark thunderbolts three minutes from time. ‘Playing for his Chelsea career’ apparently. Nonesense.

Vinny Jones? John Fashanu? Roy Keane? forget them. The Premership has a new hard man. The normally quiet, intelligent and mild mannered Sol Campbell has now picked up two red cards and a report to the video panel for violent conduct in three games. He’s clearly a dirty, disgraceful thug and shouldn’t be allowed to play football again. Shame on him. And Arsène Wenger, for admitting Campbell was at fault, and deserved the red card, should also be banned from English football. We don’t need stinking frenchies like him ruining our lovely clean English game, bringing it into disrepute and being polite to people. Don’t even get me started on that rude, riot inciting, hot-headed nutcase Thierry Henry.

I laughingly heard ‘Big’ Ron suggest that anyone taking their shirt off in celebration should get an automatic red card. I tell you what Ron, why don’t we just ban celebrations altogether? When you score a goal, you have to jog back to your own half, sullen faced, and if you so much as crack a smile or attempt a cheeky high five with a team-mate it’s a disrepute charge. Either that or ban fat racist scousers with no sense of humour (odd that, being from the city of laughter) from football grounds.

Leeds narrowly missed out on three points against Newcastle yesterday, and they’ll be looking to loan signing Jermaine Pennant to add that extra spark. I like this inter-(Premiership)-club loan idea, it’s been the norm in Serie A for years and as far as I can tell it benefits everyone involved. The lenders get to give a player some valuable experience, the loanee gets the experience and a chance to prove himself st the required level and the loaners get a quality player when they need one without the hassle of a permanent deal. Pennant will be back at Arsenal by the first of November, when the two clubs meet for the first time this season, but in similar situations I’ll be interested to see if the loanees will be allowed to play against their ‘old’ club.

People keep telling me how well Manchester United’s young Portugease forward Ronaldo did this weekend, and I have to be brutally (and stereotypically) honest — I think that a few people in Old Trafford are getting a little excited at seeing a player that isn’t Ryan Giggs run with the ball. I know it’s hard to believe guys, but the ability to dribble, offer opponents a few lollipops, control the ball and pass accurately are in fact qualites often* combined in the same player, and not always distributed across your midfield.

* see Joe Cole, Damien Duff, Kieran Dyer, Thierry Henry, Freddie Ljungberg, Robert Pires, Laurent Robert, Gianfranco Zola …

He looked good yes, but I’d like to see how much of it he keeps after his first encounter with a defender who decides to kick him ten yards in the air while he’s steping over the ball for the fifteenth time. They don’t do a lot of tacking in Portugease football, his first ‘English’ challenge will be a turning point for him.

The City of Manchester Stadium saw a perfect start to the Premiership season as Man City — or more accurately, Nicolas Anleka — swept Charlton aside with ease. Anelka has really begun to show his quality under Keegan, who always does seem to squeeze the talent out of his attacking players. I’ve heard whispers that Arsène Wenger is attempting to bring Anelka back to his old club, with Sylvain Wiltord moving the other way; which would be an interesting situation for all the Arsenal fans that called him a ‘rat faced scumbag’. Like me. I have to say that I’m very happy to see Nic doing well, he was always a good lad, it was his erstwhile siblings and agents that screwed everything up for him.

Talking of agents, you’ve no doubt heard about ex-Chelsea target and Real Madrid midfielder Claude Makelele’s strike action due to a pay dispute. Have a guess who his agent is? It’s our (and Patrick Vieira’s) old friend Marc Roger.

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