Weekend preview (with extra helpings of Raymond Domenech and Karim Benzema)
The Luxury Player urgently needs to practise his repetoire of pensive-looks-to-give-from-the-subs-bench and so can’t in all honesty waste his time giving you facts and figures readily available elsewhere. Here, for example, is a thorough round up of the six-team Spanish top flight. Done? You will have noticed that a chap by the name of Karim Benzema won’t be playing. A bit odd, wouldn’t you say, given that just the day before Benzema was reported to be fit and raring to go? As we were both cruelly overlooked by amateur astrologist and former national team coach Raymond Domenech for last year’s World Cup, the LP feels a certain degree of empathy towards the Lyon native, and so is prepared to dig a little deeper on his behalf. Can it be mere coincidence that just as Benzema was starting to mine a particularly impressive vein of form for Real Madrid, misfortune befell him? If the LP had had the good fortune as a younger dilettante to have been bitten by a radioactive arachnid, then no doubt his arachnid sense would now be tingling as though he were behind the wheel of a certain American motor car.
Let us examine the facts.
First the Madrid forward picked up a seemingly innocuous injury whilst playing for his country, allowing chum Emmanuel Adebayor to further cement their ‘good relationship’ by taking his place for the Champions League fixture against Spurs. It was in that very match that William Gallas, along much of the rest of his team, suffered the effects of an episode of mass incompetence. Adebayor duly scored two goals and pressed his claim for a permanent starting berth. Now we are told that Benzema, one day after being declared fit, won’t even be able to hobble on to the substitute’s bench today. Curious, no?
The solution to all of this is as simple as it is sinister: the rise of a great supernatural evil. Coach Raymond Domenech, having spent too much time seeking solace by gazing at the stars and fiddling with his Ouija board, has opened a door to another dimension and become a conduit for the awesome powers of Vigo the Carpathian. The story was broken by French sports weekly and ghostbusting trade mag Le 10 Sport, who revealed that “the ghost of the Domenech era is back”. Fearful for the future of his French contingent, Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger is reported to be on the phone at this very moment, trying to track down Dr Peter Venkman. Nicolas Anelka is said to be hurriedly drafting a long-overdue apology.
In other news Lille will look to extend their four-point lead at the top of Ligue 1 when they face relegation-threatened Monaco this evening. Marseille remain the best squad in France not to have Eden Hazard in their ranks and really ought to punish Toulouse. Rennes’ failure to put Auxerre to the sword last week may have put paid to their title ambitions; the Breton club are now seven points from the top and to maintain their slender hopes will need either to beat Brest or hope that Raymond Domenech chooses to unleash the forces of doom in the north-east of the country.
Unfortunately, good time management has never been a skill the Luxury Player could honestly include on his CV, and so this preview of the weekend’s action will have to be brought to a swift and unsatisfactory climax. Click here for a look at Ligue 2. And here for the Bundesliga. There’s some Serie A stuff here. Other leagues do exist; an experienced cybernaut like yourself, dear reader, will have no trouble locating information about them. All the best, and happy football viewing this weekend.