14 October 2006

Weekend Update

Hi folks. My apologies for my long absence here. It's a busy time for me, first I had a long vacation, and now I have my wedding coming up next week (followed by a honeymoon of course...). All in all, it's been a busy few months. I'm incredibly thankful that Mr. Landry has been able to keep up in my absence, but he's got a busy time coming up too, and so posts might be a bit sparse here until November or so. But we'll do our best to keep up.

Just a few notes. It's been an incredibly boring couple weeks due to the international break in Europe. There have been a few interesting results, but in the end it's just not that exciting. I'm sure I'll eventually find Euro 2008 exciting, but it's just too soon after the World Cup finals right now. UEFA should rework the qualifiers; it's just silly to have a 'group stage' with so many mismatched teams. International matches like Faroe Islands - France or Czech Republic - San Marino are frankly not worth the bother, and it's even worse when it takes so much time away from the club seasons that are just heating up. The big teams had most of their players away for international duty, will have league games this weekend, and then Champions League games in midweek. UEFA have to rebalance their priorities and reduce the international burden, if they want to stay relevant.

And now we're back to the club scene, not a day too soon. The big teams will feel the pain of the internationals; as I write, Manchester United are down 1-0 to Wigan early on. Several players are missing due to injuries picked up while away, and even players who aren't injured will be a bit fatigued after the travel and the matches. Which is all to say that there could be some upsets this week. Beyond Man Utd - Wigan, we could see some competitive matches out of Arsenal - Watford, Liverpool - Blackburn, or Reading - Chelsea. A bit unfair to the big clubs, perhaps, but it does make the league a bit more interesting.

It's a crucial point in the season, when we start to see if the early results are just anomalies or if the surprising early form will continue. The key questions I expect to see answered in the next few weeks:I suspect that this weekend will begin to answer many of these questions. We're still early into a long season, and there will be many plot twists along the way. But I think this weekend marks the end of the beginning. It's been an interesting season so far, and I fully expect that to continue.

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