Today provides 10hrs of football as European leagues enter crucial stage

Saturday, November 19, 2011 - 00:00 -- BY DICKENS OLEWE

A while back a female friend confided in me her relationship tribulations. She had just ended her relationship with her boyfriend because she felt he valued watching football more than spending time with her.  Well, if you can relate to this situation, then today might be a difficult day. Today’s fixtures guarantee 10 hours of non-stop football. The plan should be to wrap up your social engagements by 3:30 this afternoon, in time for the Norwich vs Arsenal game.

Immediately after this, there will be one of the highlight matches of the weekend featuring Manchester City vs Newcastle United. Manchester United will be next against Swansea but many are likely to switch focus to the Bundesliga for the more high profile Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund. Even though it’s still too early in the season to draw conclusions, you get the feeling that this match will give an indication of which of the two teams will win the Bundesliga.

The day will come to a close at round 2am after another delightful La Liga fixture pitting Valencia vs Real Madrid. So by the time you are calling it a ‘night’ you’ll be inebriated with a strong concoction of some of the finest English, German and Spanish football—what a cocktail. The question is how will you justify spending 10 hours watching football? It will be interesting to know how you survived the day. The EPL is all about two games—Manchester City vs Newcastle; and Chelsea vs Liverpool.

In the battle of the unbeaten, I reckon it will be a game of pride. Manchester City will, however, be overwhelming favourites because they have justified their position by beating Manchester United. Despite their impressive wins, Newcastle is yet to claim the scalp of one of the big sides.

I, however, think Newcastle have a chance, however slim, of beating Manchester City. Demba Ba is in good form and with Man City still uncertain at the back, I reckon he will have a number of opportunities which he can take advantage of.  Despite Manchester City’s injury concerns, they have a wealth of talent that can ensure they dispatch Newcastle. This game will be a delight to watch and I hope the referee will allow us to enjoy it.

Chelsea vs Liverpool is another big tie. I suggested a few columns back that Andre Villas-Boas can’t afford to lose to Kenny Dalglish and Roberto Mancini and still keep his job. He has so far lost to Manchester United and Arsenal and I reckon that if Liverpool beat Chelsea at home, then it’s likely that he will not survive the winter.

Chelsea has invested a lot in talented players and if Villas-Boas fails to win big games, then he will be adjudged to have failed and will be fired. I think Liverpool have a fantastic chance of re-energising their season. The team has been below par and this has prompted Daniel Agger to brand his team-mates as “headless chickens”.

I think it’s dawning on Liverpool that they lost money by signing Andy Carroll who has not matched the hype. It’s no wonder there are rumours that the club has been linked to David Villa. Cesc Fabregas’ move to Barcelona was set to sideline one player and it seems David Villa is the victim. Liverpool want to correct their £35m mistake they made by signing Andy Caroll but this can only happen in January. Kenny Dalglish will encourage his players to test Chelsea defence which has been porous in recent games.

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