The Badger: 15th September, 2009


He never said he knew everything about football – he just knows more than everyone else…

Badger2IT’S BEEN A typical start to the season. Referees continue to make mistakes (costing me a healthy balance on Betfair), international football is still boring the hell out of people, and Spurs once again threaten to actually achieve something.


I’m not too worried about the last bit. Spurs will just fall away as they do every year, whether it’s another bout of food poisoning from dodgy lasagne; hiring a manager who refuses to speak English; or maybe this time having a crisis of Harchester United proportion.

News reports of Heurelho Gomes holding the team hostage in the dressing room at half-time against Blackburn when ‘Arry Redknapp signs David James, 63, wouldn’t shock The Badger.

Even though Brazil thumped Argentina last week, and Brian Kerr’s Faroe Islands won their first game since 2001, the media still managed to write about something other than international football – though I rather enjoyed the schadenfreude regarding Chelsea and their transfer ban. One word seemed to sum it up in all fans’ minds: ‘comeuppance’. Not in Chelsea’s minds, though; their phrase of the year seems to be ‘UEFA conspiracy’.

On a more up-to-date note, The Badger knows that Spanish minnows Barcelona and Italian pub team Inter Milan are facing off tonight. However, he’ll be sleeping through the occasion, resting up for the inevitable showpiece between Dynamo Kiev and Champions League debutants Rubin Kazan. Without getting ahead of oursleves, this really could be the dress rehersal for the final in Madrid next May.

But never mind: on a more professional note, here is a list of three players who are going to take the competition by storm. (This piece of the column is merely for told-you-so purposes when Standard Liège win the Champions League. You heard it here first.)

Diego: After building up a cult status at Werder Bremen, he took the big leap up to Serie A over the summer. Del Piero will want to look over his shoulder – Diego has shown that he means business as he picked apart Roma in his second game. He is the signing that will turn Juventus from hopefuls into challengers.

Edin Džeko: The big money moves to Chelsea and AC Milan never came about, so this talented Bosnian is still at Wolfsburg. He was part of Europe’s deadliest strike partnership last year with Brazilian Grafite, scoring 26 goals in 32 matches. Considered both a provider and a goalscorer, he sounds like a good version of Berbatov.

Miralem Pjanić: The boots Juninho left behind at Lyon will take some filling, but after having a year to bed in, this guy has flashed hints that he is capable. Pjanić has the burst of pace that Juninho lacked, and can spread play well.

Don’t forget to join The Badger’s Fantasy Premier League mini-league – the code is 548380-122022.