After a period of reflection, Half-Wit of the Week is here and we’ve had to branch out away from Premier League football this week to incorporate one of the most ridiculous things you’ll see from a football club. Back in England, we’ve got punches being thrown and ducking defenders (no, that’s not a typo) so this shortlist is one of the best yet.
#3 Declan Rice
After a nervy start to first-team football at West Ham, the academy graduate has really settled into life as a Premier League footballer. Under the tuition of David Moyes and Stuart Pearce, he has thrived on the right of a back 3 but the Irishman came unstuck this weekend against Arsenal. Marko Arnautovic had just equalised for the visitors, who are desperate for points in their relegation battle, but the Hammers’ hard work was all undone by one lapse in concentration and a moment of absentmindedness from the youngster. Aaron Ramsey sent an inswinging cross into the West Ham box but Rice, instead of heading the ball away from danger, simply ducked and let the ball bounce into the far corner of Joe Hart’s goal. Judging by Hart’s disbelief in his reaction, it didn’t seem as if Rice had had a call to leave it from his goalkeeper. That goal proved pivotal as the Irons were opened up further and came away from the Emirates with nothing.
#2 Ahmed Hegazi
Unlike Declan Rice, plaudits for Ahmed Hegazi’s performances in the West Brom defence have been far and few between as the Baggies have slumped to almost certain relegation (mostly down to Pardew I’ll admit). The Egyptian’s rough and tumble style would’ve been right at home in 1980s English football but sadly these days you can’t get away with the odd neck grapple or a rugby tackle. Last weekend, after being given the runaround by the likes of Mo Salah and Danny Ings, Hegazi decided to take his anger out on the latter in an action that you wouldn’t deem very subtle. The big defender had wrestled Ings to the floor (of course) and before they got back to their feet, he landed a striking blow on Ings’ stomach with his clenched fist – a body shot that Anthony Joshua would’ve been proud of. The hosts managed to salvage a draw from the game in their hopeless bid to avoid the drop but you expected Hegazi to receive a hard-hitting ban from the FA only for England’s footballing governing body to clear him of charge on the Monday.
#1 Leeds United
The Championship club aren’t exactly doing themselves favours in the PR department. So far this season they’ve given the football world one of the worst badge redesigns its ever seen while their campaign on the pitch has fizzled out in typical fashion. This week, they announced their plans to tour a part of Asia at the end of the domestic season, which is nothing out of the ordinary for an English football club these days. Only, instead of going to an open, welcoming country like Japan or Thailand, they’ve decided to tour the war-torn wilderness of Myanmar. The country has gone through extremely tough times recently with reports of ethnic cleansing being frequent in certain parts. Travel agents advise against travelling there unless it is ‘essential’ and there are huge human rights issues in the country. The AYA Bank Tour will see Leeds play a Myanmar National League All-Stars team (which I’m sure is as prestigious as it sounds) and the Myanmar national team in the space of three days in May. I can’t imagine the Elland Road faithful will be following their team to Eastern Asia for these fixtures, and if they did, I’m not sure they’d come back.