Monday, April 5, 2010

Saturday's battle between the top two of Man United and Chelsea certainly wasn't a classic. Not unexpected, as they seldom are these days. With Arsenal keeping it interesting and still a three horse race, thanks to another late late show, the run in to this season's Premiership title is a cracker.

It could (and should) be a lot more interesting and exciting though and the EPL fixture list computer and those that operate it have to take a lot of the blame for this.

To schedule a vital match between Man U and Chelsea right in the middle of the Champions League quarter finals was crazy and it's not the first time they've had to meet at a really bad time of the season.

Now, I'll state right away that I don't care about this from the point of view of wanting to see either club do well in Europe. Nothing could be further from my mind. I'm glad Chelsea have already crashed out and hopefully the Mancs will follow suit on Wednesday. Surely it's in the Premiership's interests though, with relation to promoting the league as being the best in Europe if not the world, to have their sides go as far into the competition as possible. Pitting their country's two best sides in a vital match right in the middle of it all doesn't aid this.

It makes no sense. At the start of the season, most people would unsurprisingly have had the current top two to be the current top two in the Premiership by this stage of the season. It doesn't take rocket science to work out that last weekend was one of the worst in the calendar to have the teams meet in what could turn out to have been the Championship decider.

This takes me to my other point. My main point. Why schedule this game, and other games between the top three, with so many games of the season left?

There's five games left for them all and none of them will meet each other in any of these games. Sure, there's some derbies thrown into their final fixtures to liven it up a bit and possibly throw a spanner into the run in and final destination of the title, but from a neutral football fan's point of view, I'd love nothing more than to see the last two or three weeks of the season feature Chelsea-Arsenal, Arsenal-Man U and Man U-Chelsea battles every year.

That would be a fantastic end of the season. It may not determine the outcome every year, as it could be all over bar the shouting by that point I know, but it would certainly give you something mouthwatering to look forward to for the final weeks.

Yes, it's likely to be exciting anyway, but by changing the fixtures to what the fans would really love to see, can you imagine how almost unbearable the excitement would be?

Possible medical problems for the fans of these teams aside, that would be one hell of a title run in for the fans, players, managers and pundits alike to sink their teeth in to. Man U-Stoke and Chelsea-Wigan on the last day of the season just doesn't have the same appeal to it, does it?

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