Sky Sports presenter Simon Jones claimed 650 million people had tuned in to see Chelsea take on Manchester City in the Premier League title clash. At the time I didn't believe it; now, I just hope it isn't true.
If that figure adds up it means 975,000,000 hours–111,227 years–have been wasted. Think of the things we could have achieved if we had all used our time more wisely. We should have known better; this is the Premier League now, where two title challengers with little history between them are happy to draw and move on.
Manchester City knew a win would supercharge a title bid, but a loss would kill it. Similarly, Chelsea knew a win would essentially seal them the title, but a loss would put them right in the thick of a two-horse race.
Predictable set up
It was a typically defensive set up from Jose Mourinho–he doesn't like to lose against his closet rivals and is always confident that his defenders will be organised enough to stop attacks. They fed off the counter-attack and the reward was the first goal of the game.
Loic Remy finished off a good move orchestrated by Willian, Branislav Ivanovic and Eden Hazard. The result was a tap in. Manchester City were soon back on level terms thanks to David Silva and we went into half time with Thierry Henry and Jamie Redknapp predicting a classic. It never arrived.
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The second half was a succession of half-hearted attacks with neither side willing to sacrifice defensive shape for the chance of taking a crucial lead. How is this the Premier League now? Where have those dogged fights for first place gone?
The glory days
Arsenal and Manchester United look more likely to drop out of the top four than they do finishing top this season, but it is the fallen giants who stand as an example of how to fight for a title. We should remember Roy Keane trying to fight Patrick Vieira in front of the cameras in that narrow Highbury tunnel before the game had even kicked off, the pizzas being thrown in Sir Alex Ferguson's general direction and Martin Keown celebrating a point with the unwilling participant Ruud van Nistelrooy.
Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger didn't like each other and they made sure everyone knew it. When they won, they made sure everyone knew how happy they were as well.
No one was celebrating the point when the final whistle went, but all figures were happy. There was no intensity in the tie. Both managers played the odds and both won. If they were offered a draw at kick-off, they would've shaken hands then and there. The rivalry between these new money clubs is as non-existent as their fan bases were before oligarch benefactors took over.
The biggest story of this tie was a 36-year-old substitute coming on with 13 minutes to go. Some fans cheered and some booed. He made no difference, but what else is there to talk about? Frank Lampard would, too, have been happy with the draw. He wouldn't want to make headlines scoring a goal for a team he arguably shouldn't be playing for against a team who arguably should not have allowed to leave.
And that sums it up nicely. 650 million people watched this game but who knows how many people will be watching it when the fixture rears its sleepy head next season? Hopefully they would have found something more productive to do because we already know the result.
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