The Run of Play is a blog about
the wonder and terror of soccer.

We left the window open during a match in October 2007 and a strange wind blew into the room.

Now we walk the forgotten byways of football with a lonely tread, searching for the beautiful, the bewildering, the haunting, and the absurd.

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A Line Under Sunday, December 16

Ashley Cole gestures at the Arsenal crowd.Arsenal 1 – 0 Chelsea — What a match! It had drama, it had desperation, it had wild attacking play, it even had one of those weird little off-balance tugging matches that passes for fighting in this rivalry. It’s the next logical step in the diving epidemic—players now feel like they’ve struck a blow if they can make another player produce a display of egregiously pantomimed pain.

Birmingham 1 – 1 Reading — Carson Yeung never really existed, did he? I think we’re about three weeks away from finding out he was a hired actor from Thrashbush and Steve Bruce’s Gmail account.

Man City 4 – 2 Bolton — I can’t tell you how happy I am that we now have two Etuhu brothers playing in the Premier League. If I were starting a moody synth-pop band this week (and when am I not, let’s be honest) we’d be called The Two Etuhus.

Portsmouth 0 – 1 Tottenham — This was a really encouraging result for Tottenham. Not only did they win their second game in a row, but Aaron Lennon actually completed a cross. Shaun Wright-Phillips and Theo Walcott will be texting him for days trying to figure out how he did it.

Sunderland 1 – 1 Aston Villa — If I had made Roy Keane as angry as Steve Bennett made him this weekend, wow. About four years from now I would really start watching my back.

Liverpool 0 – 1 Man Utd — This may be the only football match I’ve ever seen that gave me a better understanding of Madame Bovary.

Derby 0 – 1 Middlesbrough — This may be the only scoreline I’ve ever seen that gave me a better understanding of Madame Bovary.

Fulham 0 – 1 NewcastleMadame Bovary is a novel about the crushing effects of boredom on a romantic imagination that has no outlet for its fantasies. Is it just me, or did Fulham host Newcastle this week?

West Ham 0 – 2 Everton — There is no stopping Yakubu Aiyegbeni! Not even the knowledge that he’d be swelling RSS readers worldwide with rashly chosen “Yakubu pounds Hammers” headlines could keep him from scoring that goal.

Wigan 5 – 3 Blackburn — Has anyone else noticed that Wigan are looking a little, uh, livelier since Steve Bruce took over last month? It’s like they used to get together to listen to Coldplay for five hours before every match, and now they just straight-up don’t.

SPECIAL BONUS LINE FOR THE CLUB WORLD CUP:

Boca Juniors 2 – 4 AC Milan — Kaka belongs to Jesus. And thus, by virtue of the transitive property, Boca Juniors are the holiest team in the world.

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A Line Under Sunday, December 16

by Brian Phillips · December 17, 2007

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