Baggies Company launches a covert assault on the top four under cover of darkness (and 26,000 screaming fans), while Ivan Gazidis solves a problem and MTW issues a correctionBy George Ankers
Call of West Bromwich Albiuty: Black Ops
In a dimly lit dressing room, men fumble to strap on body armour, the dull, grey, club-crested Kevlar rustling against their branded sweat-reducing shirts underneath.
"Look sharp, men," bellows the lieutenant, Steve Clarke, "you better bring your A-game on this mission. If anybody spots us before we reach the top four, we're made. Get in there, grab the points and get out alive. Is that understood?"
"HOO-YAH!" comes the reply, accents tumbling around each other like terrapins on a roulette wheel.
"Damn straight," barks the L.T. "Let's go over the plan. Private Yacob, state your role."
The Norwich City wingmeister missed a proverbial cow's backside at Old Trafford last season but made up for it with a Holt-tastic header to beat Manchester United just over a year later.
Already a serial heartbreaker if reports are to be believed, the young winger proved an able legbreaker as well against Wigan. At least if his form tails off he'll still be useful to Liverpool over the winter months as an icebreaker.
The way that Alan Pardew tells it, the entire country of Senegal beat Newcastle at football without even taking to the pitch this week. That's quite some achievement from the Papiss Cisse-blockading, non-Premier-League-playing nation.
"Right on, solider." Clarke. "Private Myhill."
"Cover our six," a Welsh voice replies. "Under no circumstances does anything go past me. If it moves my way, it dies."
Clarke turns to a nervous-looking recruit in the corner. "Private ... Dejagah? Who the hell are you, solider?"
"Er, I'm Ashkan Dejagah," says Ashkan Dejagah. "I guess the author thought that I played for West Brom?" He promptly vanishes in a puff of retroactive continuity and nobody thinks any more of it, instead continuing to sound off.
"Private Long." "Demolitions!" "Corporal Olsson." "Hold the line!" "Private Odemwingie." "Heavy weapons!"
"All right," says Clarke finally. "Those Blue so-and-sos are occupying our home turf. You all know what's at sake. Now go out there, get that top-four place and make yourselves big damn heroes. But quietly."
"I've been spotted! Abort! ABORT! Oh ... never mind, I'll be OK."
Quote of the weekend
"I don't run away from challenges"
– Translation for those who don't speak Mark Hughes: "SEVERANCE PAY AHOY."
I have come across a useful tip which I believe may be of interest to you and your readers. For a period of months a group of my company's clients have been insulting me and protesting against me, insisting that "we want our Arsenal back." This is a result of my financial miserliness on performance-art level - fair enough but I like my art and have been trying to find a solution that lets me keep on doing it.
Imagine my surprise when the cure for months of deep-seated outrage at the mishandling of a communally significant institution turns out to be as simple as "wait for Emmanuel Adebayor to do something silly". I'm serious! One bone-headed tackle and it's all "we've got our Arsenal back". And there I was starting to worry about expenditure on PR consultants.
Not only did he have less positional awareness than a drunk SatNav, the Chelsea central defender has sentenced himself to a full week of 'Long afternoon' puns and so on. Nobody deserves that.
As football fans everywhere sat down to "enjoy" Saturday's smorgasbord of matches featuring all the league's best and most exciting teams face each other on the same day, a doomcloud hovered over them all. A total dread pervaded every game, unable to enjoy the sporting delights on offer. For lurking at the back of it all was the knowledge that, in return, we will be treated to the "spectacle" of West Ham 1-0 Stoke City on the telly on Monday evening.
Just the one goal? Against THAT rabble?
I. Gazidis, London
Leave last season's match-and-basically-promotion-winning striker on the bench: Lose games.
Start said striker: Beat Everton. Two plus Adam Le Fondre, predictably, equals four. Brian McDermott may in fact be as good at maths as he looks.
On November 12, MTW wrote a segment hailing Manchester United's inevitable romp to Premier League triumph.
It has since been brought to this column's attention that the Red Devils, as of Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Norwich City, are a bunch of guileless crumbleworms who couldn't score for airline peanuts.
MTW would like to issue a full retraction and instead accept the obvious truth that Manchester City will, in fact, walk the league like an Argentine-powered dog.
For all future inquiries, please substitute "Manchester City" for "whichever team are currently top of the table".