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.
Here’s how this works: I’m going to walk you through all four Champions League quarter-final matches this week. I’m not going to make predictions, because fuck my predictions. That’s what Alan Hansen’s for. If you want a prediction, Alan Hansen can tell you that climate change will pose a serious challenge to Liverpool. Kenny Dalglish could have coped with that shit, but now? Fortunately the team can count on the greatest crowd in the world, and the fans won’t stand for anything but a sensible emissions-reduction policy. It’s a toss-up. Alan quite fancies their chances.
Liverpool-Arsenal (tied 1-1): I haven’t got a clue what to make of this match. If only these two teams had played each other recently, so we’d know what to expect! Even then we’d have to figure out whether Rafa wanted the win, or planned to rent the Celtic reserves for the day while he rested all his key players. Hold out for the league, Rafa! A man’s gotta pick his battles. Alan Hansen thinks you can do it.
Note: Seriously, you can get the Celtic reserves for a song. Gordon Strachan has a weakness. I’m not saying what it’s for. But I am saying that if I ever smile that wide at the sight of an orange safety cone, you should drop me like Old Yeller and throw me an untruthful funeral.
Note II: If—no: when—you finally start that organ-funk jazz band, you should fight the urge to call it Gordon Strachan Has A Weakness. Nobody wants that sass anywhere near their high-school Christmas dance. You sound like somebody who just got gross on Cuervo and confessed something horrible and then winked.
Arsene Wenger’s been telling the press that Arsenal’s recent nose-dive into shiteness is all down to Van Persie, Eduardo, and Rosicky being injured. I’d come down hard on this theory, except that obviously, an Arsenal deprived of three semi-important players shouldn’t be expected to do better than draw against Middlesbrough. At home. Oh, and Van Persie played in that game. Deleuze and Guattari’s Thousand Plateaus explored the concept of a rhizomatic series of fields of intensity with no true beginning or end. Arsene Wenger is occasionally full of shit.
Barcelona-Schalke (Barca lead 1-0): Maybe you’ve heard of lolcats, the internet sensation that you can talk about with your aunt. Lolcats are adorable pictures of sweet animals with amusing captions written by people who vote in every goddamn election.
See how that works? Anyways, I thought this was so radical that I decided to push it to the next level. Meet lolcorpse, an internet sensation for people who rarely bother to vote.
*** LOLCORPSE GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY RONALDINHO’S 2007/08 SEASON ***
Too harsh? Dog, ain’t no Lorax gonna save the world by showin’ you little tufts of troll hair and rainbows. Truth is harsh.
*** END OF LOLCORPSE GALLERY ***
Oh, yeah, Barca are pretty sure to win this one and stuff.
Manchester United – Roma (United lead 2-0): Lots of intruiging questions with this one. Will this be the game where Cristiano Ronaldo finally morphs into Judy Garland? Will he score goal number 40 with or without ruby slippers? Is Alex Ferguson the Cowardly Lion with courage, or the Cowardly Lion with 80-proof alcohol? Can United hold a 2-0 lead without Vidic or Ferdinand but with Totti out for Roma? Hey, possibly!
Gambling tip of the week: Slip a fiver on Cassetti to score first. You could make…a certain number of your English Pounds.
Note: That number could easily be zero.
Chelsea – Fenerbahce (Fenerbahce lead 2-1): The team no one expected to do well against the team no one trusts not to fail. And I’m not just saying that because I don’t remember which is which. Stamford Bridge should be full of positive vibes and good feeling as the proud locals turn out to cheer on their men.
Gambling tip of the week: Knife fight!
Petr Cech is out hurt after Tal Ben-Haim’s studs caught him in the face in training yesterday. What is it with Petr Cech’s head and other people’s feet? It’s a tragic love story of our time. He has the head that people can’t not damage. Got surgery today. Harsh truths.
*** GARBLED QUOTE OF THE WEEK ILLUSTRATING THE PRINCIPLE THAT BANALITY IS THE SAME IN ANY LANGUAGE BROUGHT TO YOU BY RAFAEL BENITEZ MAUDES ***
We have advanced into the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals not by afraiding of playing offensive. Our philosophy remains the same: if you want to win, you have to score goals. — Fenerbahce head coach Zico
After hearing that quote, Alan Hansen remained sitting until well after everyone else had left the room.
by Vandal-prone · April 7, 2008