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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Another Lost Weekend

A man ignores traffic arrows.It’s Friday, which is a day of hope in football, just as Saturday is a day of madness and Sunday is a day of hiding under the stairs, in the dark, beneath a dirty blanket, breathing. It’s not a conspicuously exciting weekend of matches coming up, but there are a few we can look forward to. I’ve got eyes for…

  • Everton v. Man City: Two upstart clubs in contention for European places, two potential big-four spoilers, and two teams that, if you throw your under-the-stairs despair blanket over the history of Thaksin Shinawatra, offer a lot for the neutral fan to like. Both teams have been losing their grip recently—Everton has lost two matches in a row, including one to Oldham—and will be trying to get their form back, which could make for an entertaining game. However, if Nicolas Anelka is ready to start for Chelsea, I might instead watch
  • Chelsea v. Tottenham: Tottenham played well against Chelsea last year (one win, one draw, and two one-goal losses) and have been looking like a new team since Juande Ramos put the kibosh on the pre-game sausage buffet that had apparently become a Spurs institution. They’re probably not going to win, but the fact that the God of Goals loves Tottenham matches, plus the chance to watch Anelka in his first Chelsea match, makes this one worth checking out. (both games are Saturday at 3pm GMT; 10am US Eastern time)
  • Barcelona v. Murcia: There’s been a lot of excited talk out of Barcelona since the draw with Sevilla on Wednesday. It’s not as if a home game against last year’s third-best Segunda División team was ever going to be a real test of character for them, but there’s a reasonably good chance that they’ll try to put on a show to prove to the world that they’re back. This is also Samuel Eto’o’s last game before he rushes to join Cameroon for the African Cup of Nations. (Seriously; I think he’s going be lifted off the pitch clinging to a rope ladder dangling from a helicopter, like Neo in The Matrix, only without such perfect manners.) (Saturday at 7pm GMT; 2pm US Eastern time)

Sunday…Sunday I’m not sure yet. Sunderland-Portsmouth might be interesting if Harry Redknapp doesn’t show up, and it might be grimly entertaining to see how bad Bolton look without Anelka against Blackburn, but if you can imagine a thermometer, neither of these matches is exactly shattering the top of it. Otherwise, the upper half of Serie A seems to be playing the lower half of Serie A, and I can’t tell whether or in what way that prospect looks better than going outside.

What about you—any games tickle your fancy? I’ll be staying in the vicinity of this space with the idea of maybe talking about some of the matches, so as always, feel free to leave thoughts, observations, stock tips, discount software solutions, and links to cheap Canadian pharmaceuticals in the comments.

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Another Lost Weekend

by Brian Phillips · January 11, 2008

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