Extra Time: Five lessons from the weekend
After another hectic weekend of league and cup action, JOE takes a look back at what we have learned, and what we may have already known.
By Tom Moss
1. Arsenal aren't good enough
With the hopes of the entire ABU population pinned on them, Arsenal yet again showed why they don't deserve to be champions. So what if the current United are going to be the worst team to win the league for years, it's not their fault.
Chelsea, well, Roman Abramovich proved that the saying 'If it ain't broke then don't fix it' has as much relevance in football than in anything else. Grand, it's his club, he can do what he wants, but he really should have learned from past lessons and left the football men look after the football.
That left Arsenal in pole position but time and again the Gunners have been gifted countless opportunities to make the step from nearly-men to champions, and made an utter balls of every single one. And so, it was no surprise when yesterday they were at it again. Unsuccessfully they tried to walk the ball through a makeshift Liverpool team, hit a late penalty that gave them a glimmer of hope but threw it all away in the 12th minute of injury time.
How many more seasons will slip by without a trophy before they realise something has to change? Arsene invariably blamed everyone else for this latest cock-up in a season of spectacular cock-ups, but over the course of a season the blame must only be accepted by the man in charge.
2. Rio Ferdinand will always be a knob
For years the mumbling creep spewed out football bile, snarled saliva-filled rants in the face of every ref in the country if he didn't get his way and basically just acted like an absolute wanker as United swept all before them.
His undoubted ability let him off the hook, but recently he seemed to have calmed down. Age has that effect on most people, they seem to mellow out. Concerned more about his Twitter page than anything else, he finally became remotely tolerable until the oaf of old reared his ugly head again when he single-handedly accosted Mario Balotelli for kissing his City badge in the direction of the United fans after City's 1-0 win on Saturday.
Hours later, back behind the refuge of his beloved tweetbox, he apologised for his behaviour but still derided the City teenager for his actions. 'If you score a goal and give a bit to opposing fans I kind of accept that. But at the final whistle go to your fans and enjoy it, not opposing fans'. Hmmm, so I wonder if he gave a similarly lofty lecture to Gary Neville when he of the teenage-moustache ran the length of the field to revel in United's win with the Liverpool fans a few years back? No? Didn't think so.
3. Nobody outside the top five matters
The PFA Team of The Year which was named last night confirms what has been known for a long time - if you're outside the top five, no-one gives a shit about you.
It's as if the selection process involves writing the names of all the players of the top five clubs, throwing them all in a hat and randomly shoving the eleven that come out into some semblance of a 4-4-2 formation.
Edwin Van der Sar is the best keeper in the league? Really? Jack Wilshire and Samir Nasri make the perfect central midfield patnership? Is that so? It's a joke. And awarding Gareth Bale the Player of the Year proves it.
He has set up one goal for his team in the league all season. ONE. So he had a blinder against Inter Milan, whoop-de-doo. If he's the best player in the league then maybe the decline of the Premier League isn't as exaggerated as some would have you believe.
What about Scott Parker or Charlie Adam? Not a chance, their clubs are struggling for survival, how could they be any good? Bacary Sagna, has he performed better than Seamus Coleman this season? Has he hell... but our Seamus plays for Everton... sorry Shay, you're not eligible.
Fernando off to Crawley?
4. Torres will never score again!
In a few years time, when a vest-top clad, overweight, Dutch Gold-swilling loner called Fernando wakes up on a park-bench down the road from Stamford Bridge in a pool of his most recent vomit, he'll undoubtedly recall for the millionth time the moment when a pesky linesman raised his flag as the ever-so-slightly-offside striker raced clear and slotted home what would have been his first Chelsea goal, and ended a goal-drought of epic proportions.
Instead, the decision saw Torres see out a goalless season, after which he was farmed out to Crawley Town. The feeling was that he needed a few goals to restore his long-departed confidence, so a drop down the leagues made sense, surely?
Trouble was, Crawley's new striker couldn't hit a barn door in League 2 either and after two seasons where he mustered two shots on target, both saved by Burton Albion's reserve team teenage goalkeeper, Torres slipped into oblivion. He can be found roaming the parks of London, regaling fellow drunks with tales of his former glory. A sorry tale.
5. Stoke City can play football
Having earned a reputation for being about as attractive as Mary Byrne in a two-piece bikini, Stoke were the underdogs heading into to this unlikely FA Cup semi-final yesterday.
However, the fact that they were up against the only slightly more attractive Bolton encouraged Tony Pulis' men to make a name for themselves at Wembley. They thumped five past a sorry Wanderers side who had no answer to a lively performance from City that for once relied on more than lumping a piece of leather high in the air and seeing what happened. Maybe it's the start of something beautiful?