Archive for February 4th, 2008


Americans love the underdog

My whole life I have rooted for the underdog, usually to no avail. Politics, music, American Football, Football, boxing, etc. etc. The underdog is usually the underdog for a reason: because the other team is better. There are, however, times when one team is simply more hyped than another and the supposed underdog is actually an equal or better team.

Last night, in the Superbowl (the closest equivalent in football would be an FA Cup Final) I think you have a case for the former; the Patriots were the superior team. They had won every game that season, they had already beaten the Giants once that season, and their quarterback was the most dominant and machine-like player in the NFL. But everyone has an off night. And sure enough, through a combination of playing their guts out (literally, the Giants players were being carted off the field toward the end of the game due to exhaustion and cramps) and good luck, the Giants beat the Patriots. It was one of those rare moments where me rooting for the underdog paid off. And of course, I had my Arsenal shirt on for luck.

And speaking of Arsenal, I think they are a case of the latter. The press, the fans, almost everyone (even me) had them struggling for fourth and some people even had them falling out of the top four only to be replaced by Tottenham: so much was written about the loss of “the talismanic Thierry Henry,” Adebayor had shown flashes of brilliance but almost no one rated him as a replacement for Henry, there were obvious problems at the back on set plays and some questions about Gilberto and Gallas in the defense, and there were obvious problems scoring. So, it made sense for the press and everyone else to see all these problems, see that teams like Liverpool, Man U, Tottenham and Chelsea had gotten stronger and surmise that Arsenal would struggle. The die was cast; Arsenal were destined to be underdogs by general consensus.

And yet here they sit, 60 points from 25 matches for an average of 2.4 points per match. They are currently top of the table and Wenger reckons it will take 90 points to win the league. Now, if they stay in their current form (2.4 ppm with 13 matches remaining) they will end the season with 91 points. Exactly where Wenger predicts that they should be to win the title and cast off their underdog label.

So, in 13 matches they either have to get 10 wins and 1 draw or 9 wins and 4 draws. And here’s the schedule for the rest of the season… make up your own mind as to whether it’s possible.

  • Rovers
  • @ Birmingham City
  • Villa
  • @ Wigan
  • Middlesbrough
  • @ Chelsea
  • @ Notlob
  • Liverpool
  • @ Man cUnts
  • Reading
  • @ Derby
  • Everton
  • @ Sunderland

I’m not going to jinx them by predicting positive outcomes in any of these matches. I’ll just leave it up to you to find 30+ points from that schedule.

Ok, that’s it for today, gotta go to work. Until tomorrow, Keep Kicking!

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February 2008