Welcome to Offside News, a nice bi-weekly blast of CaughtOffside fun. Itâ€™ll be coming every Friday, taking a look at the previous weekâ€™s biggest Premiership stories, and Monday, waxing nostalgic about the weekendâ€™s action and post-match whinging.
If you have a story, quote or joke for Offside News just send it along to editor [at] caughtoffside.com and see your name in lights (or italic text).
The Offside News team nearly fell off their chairs the weekend, when reading a news story about a duck. The duck, of Tallahassee, Florida, was shot in both the wing and the leg by a hunter, who presumed the bird was dead, took it home, and stored it in his fridge. Two days later, the hunterâ€™s wife opened the fridge, and to her amazement, the duck raised its head. Experts at the Goose Creek Animal Sanctuary now give the duck a 75% chance of survival, and while football experts donâ€™t give Watford anywhere as much chance survival, the duckâ€™s plucky escape shows to Hornetâ€™s fans that miracles do happenâ€¦
â€¦but the task faced by Aidy Boothroydâ€™s men looks more and more difficult very week, as they were unable to stop the rot at Aston Villa, slumping to a 2-0 defeat.
â€œTo concede the way we did was disappointingâ€, Boothroyd explained to SkySports. “I didn’t think it was a particularly good game today. Both teams showed lots of endeavour and lots of effort, but there was not a lot of quality out thereâ€.
“We do earn ourselves chances and we don’t take them. If you don’t do that, then you don’t win gamesâ€, he said, pointing out the obvious and drawing on arguably one of the most drab football clichÃ©s ever used.
Meanwhile, Villa boss Martin Oâ€™Neill, believes that new signing Ashley Young has a big career ahead of him.
â€œI am excitedâ€, said giddy Oâ€™Neill. â€œI think he is an excellent player and has great potential and I think he will realise that potential in his career. I think he is an exciting player and he has got a great touch, great control, a wee bit of paceâ€, donâ€™t-you-know-ed the Irishman.
â€œIs it a risk? Not to me. Will his signing send out a positive message? It wasn’t the idea but that follows naturallyâ€, he frantically added, before a disgruntled journalist explained to him that he wasnâ€™t supposed to pose his own questions during press conferences, and that he should just take a second to calm down.
The Â£8million raised from the sale of Young to the Midlands club will be of huge financial benefit to Watford, but unless Boothroyd spends, and spends big to get in the right players, Watford will almost certainly be ducking out of the Premiership this summer.
Liverpool cruised to a 2-0 victory over Chelsea at Anfield, leaving the reigning Championsâ€™ bid for this yearâ€™s title in tatters.
â€œI felt we did a very good job and played a fantastic game we deserved to win because we played really wellâ€, beamed â€˜Raffa the Gaffaâ€™ afterwards.
“I was confident when I saw my team-sheet, not when I saw them. I don’t know whether it was their problems or not, sometimes we have problems and nobody talks about thisâ€, as the gathered crowd scratched their heads, struggling to remember a time when Xavi Alonso and Steve Finnan lined up as a central defensive partnership.
â€œWe have confidence and we are playing well. Three more points and I am really happy with the situationâ€, he added, presumably meaning the situation regarding the outcome of the game, rather than the season so far, baring in mind his side are out of both domestic cups, and are still eleven points.
Jose Mourinho meanwhile was keen to emphasis his sideâ€™s injury list after his sides crushing defeat.
â€œFirst of all it is obvious that we have a big defensive mistake as the players are not adapted in the positionsâ€, he said in reference to Liverpoolâ€™s opener, when Dirk Kuyt steered the ball past the returning Petr Cech after Peter Crouch flicked on unchallenged
â€œThe second half we played better and we had the ball and created some chances and if we had the luck of the game, you create pressure and score – but we didn’t have that luck – Liverpool defended well and they know they can be dangerous because our defensive line is fragileâ€
Chelseaâ€™s â€œcrippling injury listâ€ is undoubtedly the excuse that will be overused should Man Utd, or any other side other than Chelsea, win the league this May, but Offside News have a few questions weâ€™d like answered before we accept this excuse as genuine.
What do they do in training every day? Shouldnâ€™t players like Essien and Ferreira have been putting in some extra time practicing playing together? Chelsea talk constantly about a commitment to the finest young talent, why not just stick one of them in? Itâ€™s good enough for every other manager in the league, every other team has to do it at times. Look at Glen Roeder at Newcastle (or not). After all, if United hadnâ€™t stuck Beckham, Scholes, Neville and co in, would they have had the success they have in the last ten years?
A rare Thierry Henry header marked a stunning comeback as Arsenal beat Man Utd at the Emirates Stadium.
â€œI scored with my head so it must have been pretty special!â€ va-va-voomed the Frenchman.
â€œI wanted to make sure to at least make it difficult for Edwin (van der Sar) and I got the ball in the back of the netâ€, he added, giving away his secret as to how heâ€™s risen to become one of the best strikers in the world, and suggesting that a â€˜Thierry Henry soccer skillsâ€™ DVD might be as daft as was first thought.
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson remained positive despite his sides last gasp defeat.
â€œAt this moment in time we are so disappointed. We lost two goals from a position I didn’t think we wouldâ€, mumbled a clearly stunned Ferguson.
“When I look at it we have some important away games to come and this will be good for us – we won’t be making the same mistake,â€ he growled in the direction of the defenders who somehow let Henry scored with his head.
So, with one of the biggest weekends of the season thus far having resulted in both Chelsea and Manchester United losing, some are suggesting the Premiership title race now contains four horses.
Offside News though, still canâ€™t see beyond the Red Devils of Manchester.