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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.

Like the rest of the working world, The Week That Was had Friday off last week. Sorry for disappointing our legion of fans, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. We’re back this week, though, and there’s plenty to chew over from the last seven days, so without further ado let’s get on with it.

The Premier League is getting ever-closer to confirming its line-up for next year already, with Monday’s confirmation that Newcastle United will be back in the big-time next year, following Nottingham Forest’s failure to beat Cardiff in the tea-time kick-off.

Going in the other direction along with Pompey will surely be Burnley, who put in an abject (even for them) showing, going down 6-1 at home to Manchester City at the weekend in one of the most one-sided first halves in recent memory. The only thing that looked like beating City was the weather, as a deluge threatened an abandoment in the second half. Fans of Barnsley would’ve sympathised – they were ‘victims’ of a late abandonment in their game against Plymouth earlier in the season while leading 4-1. They went on to draw the replayed game 0-0 last week.

We’ll be keeping a close eye on the promotion and relegation picture over the coming weeks, particularly Rochdale, who’re looking to secure their first promotion in donkey’s years, as well as Leeds who look like they’re making a real fist of destroying any chance of automatic promotion from League One with their post-Christmas form.

Brian Mawhinney left his position as chairman of the Football League this week, and called for greater penalties for clubs entering administration in a farewell letter. His replacement, Greg Clarke, has some big shoes to fill as Lord Mawhinney moves sideways into an honourary presidency.

Away from domestic travails, all eyes were drawn to Europe with the conclusion of the Champions League and Europa League quarter final ties. In the Barcenal tie (or should it be Arselona?) Lionel Messi treated the world to a virtuoso display, knocking four goals past the gooners as the Catalans’ class wore through.

While that might not have been a great shock, there was certainly a night of shocks at Old Trafford. First was the appearance of Wayne Rooney on the teamsheet, after he had hobbled off during United’s 2-1 first leg defeat in Munich the week earlier, prompting ridiculously over the top headlines in the tabloid press.

Inspired by their talisman, United raced into a 3-0 lead, prompting Clive Tyldesley to go into a rich soapy lather of excitement, declaring the tie over before half-time.

Croatian Ivica Olic scored a key goal just before half-time to give Bayern hope, and after Brazilian Rafael Da Silva received his marching orders, it was down to Frenchman Franck Ribery to tee up Dutchman Arjen Robben for a sublime volley to sink Mancunian hearts. Typical Germans, eh?

Things were much more straightforward in the Europa League, with Fulham recording an impressive win in Wolfsburg and Liverpool easily overcoming a 2-1 defecit at home to Benfica to keep the English interest in continental competition going into at least the semi-final stage. What odds on an all-English night in Hamburg in May?

That’s all for us, anyway – have a great weekend!

 

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