Welcome along to my latest rundown of the headlines over the past week. Call it a rant if you want but sometimes these things just need saying. I’ll obviously take a look at the Nations League but despite it being an International break, Tottenham are up for discussion as we prepare for the return of the Premier League this week.
UEFA Nations League – Yay or Nay?
I have to say I’ve enjoyed it. I think I could watch any competitive football which immediately ranks it above the standard friendly, which they have effectively replaced on the calendar – even if that’s not terribly obvious right now as September was always traditionally a month where qualifiers were played and England play a friendly tonight. But fundamentally, UEFA have their own “if you build it, they will come.” Give professional footballers a competition and they just turn it on, we’ve seen some excellent games. The passion shown down in League D is also nice to see – these nations barely score a goal in qualifying but up against countries of a similar stature, it has given them a belief and something to play for. I also think it gives them a much better chance of improving playing against somebody they might beat rather than playing a back-9 and hoping to keep it sensible.
I’m not a huge fan of the groups of 3 structure but I suppose UEFA will argue there needs to be some friendlies to give teams the chance to experiment but also it’s imperative to the structure of the tournament, so you know, we’ll make an allowance for that. It’ll be interesting to see who qualifies out of the divisional play-offs and I have to say it has given me a lot more interest in the qualification campaign. Maybe I’m just UEFA’s dream customer but it’s a yes from me.
Tottenham want it all
Anybody else totally sick of hearing about Tottenham? I don’t understand why the FA are effectively letting them have their cake and eat it in regards to this stadium fiasco. I’m sure you’ve heard that their all singing and dancing new stadium has been delayed and as a result, they’ve had to ask the FA to play some games at Wembley. But that’s not it…Wembley isn’t available on one day they need it so the FA have kindly moved two matches at short notice to a different day. Why? Why are we bending over for Tottenham bloody Hotspur?
Watford are the latest to feel aggrieved. They agreed to swap their fixture to Vicarage Road in the league last weekend so when the pair were drawn against each other in the cup, it soon became apparent that Tottenham would still be homeless. Logically, you’d reverse the tie and play it at Watford. But no, Spurs want to play at Stadium MK, a compromise that satisfies nobody. It’s ok though as they’re having a £4.5m cockerel installed on their new stadium. If it’s ever ready.
12 (Twelve) – 0
The Women’s Super League got underway this weekend and the latest re-brand sees two divisions with the newly reformed Manchester United team taking their place in the second division. However…they won 12-0 against Aston Villa. Obviously take nothing away from them for a fantastic victory but this isn’t a good image for the league. This was meant to be a new professional era and one of the teams racking up a 12-0 win is basically the opposite of that. It seems getting 22 quality teams may have been an overestimate but that might be a bit unfair seeing as they have played 1 game. The Women’s European Championships and World Cups have shown us how far the ladies game has evolved and a solid league programme would do wonders for the profile of the female game in this country. You could argue that a successful Man Utd side would achieve significant traffic and headlines but I’m not so sure the women’s side commands the same following as the men’s team. If they keep winning 12-0, however…
Premier League & Champions League Returns
I’m obviously looking forward to the return of top-flight club football this weekend but do yourself a favour – don’t look at the Sunday and Monday TV games. Unfortunately, we’re at that time of year when Sky can’t commit the Champions League teams to a Sunday as the Champions League draw would bring some teams a Tuesday fixture. The Champions League this year has extra interest because there are games at 6 PM and 8 PM on Tuesday and Wednesday, so you only have to have your eyes on half as many games as normal. You can’t beat the Champions League for quality.
That’s it from me this week – hopefully, there’s more for me to get stuck into next Tuesday.