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The Week That Was

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.

If last week’s wins for Arsenal and Manchester United were largely predictable, this week saw a marked contrast with some excellent and unpredictable results in Europe. The return of Mourinho was bound to be the main story, wasn’t it…?

Chelsea’s expulsion, at the hands of Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan, left only two English sides in the last eight of the Champions League. In the quarter-final draw, Arsenal were pitted against Champions Barcelona, while Manchester United will have a tricky trip to Munich to face Bayern.

Chelsea v Inter was the start of the week’s tumultuous football in west London, the shock of Chelsea being dumped out would only serve as the appetiser for what would happen down the road at Craven Cottage 48 hours later.

Fulham, trailing 3-1 from the first leg suffered a kick in the teeth as David Trezeguet scored an early goal, giving Juventus a 4-1 aggregate lead in their tie. Surely the Old Lady would be advancing to the next round? Well Fulham, and the referee, had other ideas.

A dubious Cannavaro red card and some excellent Fulham pressure later, and the score was 2-1 in Fulham’s favour by half-time. In arguably their finest hour, Fulham kept pressing throughout the second half and were rewarded with two goals that sent them through 5-4 on aggregate, while Juventus’ discipline went to pot, ending the match as they did with 9 men.

Their reward was a quarter final tie with Wolfsburg, which the Cottagers will doubtless see as eminently winnable. The other English side left in the competition, Liverpool, reversed their 1-0 first leg defecit and ran out comfortable 3-1 winners against Lille on aggregate. They will face Benfica in the last eight.

Arguably the bigger story for the Reds, though, was Albert Riera’s tirade against manager Rafa Benitez in the run-up to the game that saw him suspended from the club. How to win friends and influence people, eh Albert? 

It’s not only Riera that’s been in the bad books this week – Hull City finally lost patience with manager Phil Brown, announcing his departure on Monday. The man tasked with keeping the Tigers in the Premier League? Miracle man Iain Dowie, of course. We’re sure there’s method to their madness.

Bad news too for those who’d got used to calling it the Coca Cola Championship – from next year, you’ll have to retrain your brain and power up those grey cells to remember ‘the NPower Championship’ instead. Taxing stuff, but a boon for the Football League, as they stand to make more money off this deal than from the previous one.

One player who won’t be playing in the Championship, or the World Cup, or possibly ever again, is David Beckham. He suffered a serious achilles tendon injury playing for AC Milan, and has been ruled out of an appearance in his fourth consecutive World Cup finals. A shame for him, but was there really any need for the Poet Laureate to write a poem about it?

Anyway, that’s enough from us for another week, and we managed to get through it all without a single mention of Portsmouth, despite them having their 9 point deduction confirmed this week.

Rats, we were so close!

Until next week, have a great weekend!

 

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