It’s preposterous. It’s overly commercialised. It has lost sight of its founding principles. It now mostly consists of camp theatrics, money-grabbing, high-pitched shrieking, and immature participants sporting garish body art. Yes, ladies and gentleman, it’s…the Premier League!
Or am I talking about Halloween? You decide. If you dare…
Halloween Havoc was the name of a themed, 1990s World Championship Wrestling pay-per-view event that took place around this time of year. And I hereby predict that in the near- future, in an attempt to wring further revenue out of beleaguered fans – if the corpse of the Super League hasn’t already crawled out of its grave and bankrupted everyone into financial oblivion – that similar themed weekends will become a regular occurrence in the world of football.
Team ‘Mad-Man’ Messi v Team ‘Hollywood’ CR7 in the main event, anyone? Played inside a steel cage?! ‘The Eye Gouger’ Jose Mourinho as special guest referee?!! A thought to send a chill down even the hardiest of spines…
In the meantime we will have to make-do with the pleasingly prosaic, candle-in-a-carved-turnip level of entertainment that will be provided by Gameweek 14. The first Premier League fixture sees Manchester City travel to Leicester for Saturday’s midday kick-off.
There is something of the zombie about Pep Guardiola’s side this season. Despite dropping points against a rotting Aston Villa, and losing a key game against a headless Liverpool, no-one really doubts that they will make it to the top of the table eventually.
They may lurch, sway from side-to-side – their arms hanging vertically before them – but they will inexorably get there; smothering the competition with their cold, cadaver-blue, fleshy, undead embrace as they do so.
At times the opposition will inexplicably implode too; falling fecklessly to the ground, allowing the zombified Manchester City to make progress despite not really doing anything.
Propelled by energy drinks, Jamie Vardy will be hoping to keep far enough ahead of this glacial zombie advance – in the process helping an improving Leicester stay above the dreaded relegation zone; avoiding another potential Dawn of the Dead for The Foxes.
Besides, poor Vardy will have experienced enough stomach-churning horror this year when he opened the envelope containing his wife’s legal bills.
Brighton v Chelsea – the inaugural Graham Potter derby – is a 3pm kick-off. Will ‘The Seagulls’ take their cue from Alfred Hitchcock and unite en masse to terrorise the unsuspecting visitors to the coastal town?
Potter, however, increasingly debonair and Vincent Price-like on the touchline, continues to give the impression he can handle any unexpected manifestation of evil that might come his way.
Somebody needs to keep a close eye on Antonio Conte, though. Tottenham’s late offside video-assisted nasty against Sporting Lisbon in midweek seemed to cause the Italian to start howling at the moon…or the referee, at least.
If Spurs fail to win against Bournemouth is there a possibility he might begin to transmogrify into ungovernable, volatile, Werewolf-Conte? And how soon after that does he then begin to assume the form of no-longer-Spurs-manager-Conte?
After the horror-show against Nottingham Forest, Jürgen Klopp returns this weekend – Michael Myers-style – to exact his brutal, unforgiving revenge…on whichever poor soul is appointed as the Fourth Official at Anfield in this Saturday’s late kick-off against Leeds.
Arsenal may still be top of the Premier League, but defeat against PSV Eindhoven on Thursday showed that unpleasant surprises can lurk in unexpected places. Can Nottingham Forest be such a place for a second consecutive week?
Big-money signing, Antony, has got off to a reasonable start at Manchester United. He has managed to treat the fans to some key goals. But he has also struggled to resist the urge to indulge in some inopportune, tricksy show-boating.
So the question remains for the Brazilian winger, as the Red Devils prepare to face West Ham in the final bout on the Halloween Havoc match-card: what will it be this weekend? Trick…or treat?
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