August 22, 2022 3 min read
There’s a new book out this month called Red on Red, which looks at the ‘fiercest rivalry in world football’ between Manchester United and Liverpool. Much of the build-up to this Monday night’s fixture (Monday 22) has focussed on the way United have collapsed since Alex Ferguson retired as manager – there is also a book out on the 1998/99 Treble-winning season – and how, in contrast to their rivals, Liverpool have made smart appointments off the pitch and targeted brilliant signings on it.
Manchester City, who welcome Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon after picking up a point in their six-goal thriller at Newcastle last Sunday, have also pushed on, leaving their city rivals lagging way behind. Brighton play Leeds United in a game between two clubs who were previously managed by Brian Clough, who is most associated with Nottingham Forest. As you will read about on Wednesday in advance of the meeting on Sunday, the biggest game between Forest and Tottenham Hotspur was the 1991 FA Cup final. It was rumoured that, had Forest won the match, Clough would retire; instead, he oversaw a sad relegation from the 1992/93 Premier League. Spurs fans can of course remember that victory with a branded bottle of alcohol; perhaps this sleek Passion Fruit flavoured vodka.
It is incredible to note that, in the month that Manchester United won the Premier League in 1999, Brentford were going up to the third tier, what used to be called the Second Division and is now League One. This weekend, they follow their famous 4-0 victory with a home game against Everton, one of the Premier League’s perennials who snatched a draw against Nottingham Forest last week. Brentford-Everton will put new Bee boy Ben Mee up against his former Burnley team-mates Dwight McNeil, James Tarkowski and Michael Keane.
In another match pitting ever-present Premier League side against promising London club, Arsenal host Fulham in the late game on Saturday with both sides trying to continue the momentum gained from wins against Bournemouth and Brentford respectively. The Claret Derby takes place at Villa Park on Sunday when West Ham, who lost at home to Brighton yesterday (Sunday 21), head up to Birmingham.
After last week’s spotlight on Stoke and Sunderland, it is interesting to note that the pair have tough league fixtures this weekend: the Potters go to Blackburn while the Mackems welcome Norwich City. QPR, meanwhile, make the quick trip to Watford for a game which pits two fine young coaches against one another. Michael Beale and Rob Edwards have thrown themselves into the Championship for the first time: in Beale’s case, he had success with Rangers and Aston Villa on Steven Gerrard’s coaching team; for Edwards, he steered Forest Green Rovers into League One. QPR fans have three bottles – two filled with vodka and one with gin – which they can purchase via the website.
Midweek sees the second round of the EFL Cup, which brings in Premier League sides: Aston Villa go to Bolton to revive memories of when it used to be a top-tier fixture; League Two team Grimsby Town get their windfall against Nottingham Forest; two League One teams, Oxford United and Forest Green, respectively welcome Crystal Palace and Brighton, who will likely rest their first team and give some of the hungrier squad players a runout. Ditto Leeds United, who play South Yorkshire rivals Barnsley, and Newcastle United, who go to Tranmere, on Wednesday night. Their first team deserve a rest after picking up that point against Manchester City.
The Scottish League Cup recommences on 30-31 August, which will give the top sides a chance to use their own roster. This week in the Scottish Premiership, it’s the turn of Hearts and Rangers to play in their home cities against St Johnstone and Ross County respectively, while Hibs go to St Mirren and Celtic head up to Dundee United.
Both Glasgow clubs look in fine form, with Rangers demolishing St Johnstone 4-0 a fortnight ago and Celtic going one better against Kilmarnock. Last weekend Nine-man Gers couldn’t hold on for three points at Easter Road and took a 2-2 draw back to Glasgow. Celtic overcame nine-man Hearts 2-0 at Parkhead, so Jambos may wish to drown their sorrows with this bottle of Sweet Cherry vodka.