Another wild week has passed in this fantastically weird EPL season. The top story, both on and off the field, has to be rapid demise of Chelsea FC. When Roman Abramovich dismissed Jose Mourinho some 17 months ago the club were a domestic beast and rising European power. Today, with a third post-Special One manager in the offing, they are well adrift of Man U. and Liverpool atop the League, and more importantly, nowhere to be found in UF Power Poll Top Ten. In fact, their inclusion in our first edition was considered so outrageous by one of the resident scribes, the gentleman felt cause to construct this bilious screed. Now we've only to sit back and wait for The Sun's inevitable "Chelsea's Guus is Cooked!" headline.
We'd also like to announce that UF has come to a sort of power sharing agreement on power polls with The Offside. Apparently, UF is a little quicker on the draw than those fine folks, so like with any huge corporation that gets beat to the punch by the little guy, The Offside has decided to work with UF in a strategic partnership. This essentially involves acknowledgement of the other (or what I like to call a "blogger reach around"). Either that or the two polls are the AP and Coaches' polls. So, who is the BCS? Anyway, here is The Offside's inaugural edition. Go there, compare, and comment.
Again, the formula was simple. Each of our intrepid writers posited his own Top Ten. Then, using an algorithm specially designed by the foremost quantum physician at Nassau Community College, we came up with the following results. Enjoy. Debate.
1) Barcelona - 1.33 (last week: 1st place, 1.14 avg)
Through no fault of their own, the Catalans' score dropped a bit this week. Chalk it up to the team in the two-hole. These guys seems to have the top slots on lockdown, so we'll just sit around and beg the footballing gods for a head-to-head decider on May 27 in Rome.
2) Manchester United - 1.67 (2, 1.86)
The prevailing wisdom is that West Ham had their chances on Sunday... that with a bit of luck and bit less Carlton Cole, they might have nicked one from van der Saar. Well I watched the game and came away with this: West Ham were never going to score. If they played another 90 minutes and another 90 after that, they were never going to score.
3) Inter Milan - 3.67 (5, 5.14)
Mourinho's boys rebounded from a disappointing draw with Torino to wipe the floor with Lecce. Another goal for Zlatan, who's got to be the most exciting (and best paid) player in Italian football. Seven points clear of Juve, the Nerazzurri are going to win another Scudetto and suddenly the Champs League doesn't look so far off.
4) Real Madrid - 4.00 (6, 6.28)
So I guess Juande Ramos isn't as clueless as we all thought. To be fair, he's meant to manage in Spain, and even more so with a big club like Madrid. Like and anti-Guus Hiddink.
5) Liverpool - 5.78 (4, 4.71)
They've dropped some, but this club has air of destiny about them. Time after time they steal results when all seems lost. Say what you want, David James should've stopped at least one of their three last gasp goals from Saturday. But that's an issue for Don Fabio, not Rafa. Rafa's concern should be his strike force. It's going to bite him in the arse eventually. Or not.
6) Aston Villa - 7* (7, 7.00)
All they do is win ballgames. Villa hold steady in the seven slot, and deservedly so. They're not better than the nos. 1-6 sides, but they can certainly compete. If I'm a fan, how can I not be eyeing Man U. and the League.
7) TSG Hoffenheim - 7 (8, 8.43)
Like in real life, Bayern is nipping at the Hoff's heels. They stole a point at Borussia Monchengladbach this weekend, and vital one at that. It is now all that separates them from...
8) Bayern Munich - 8.11 (unranked)
Jump into the Top Ten for the first time EVER this week. A win at home to Dortmund pulled the men from Munich to within a whisper of the Hoff. It was no gimme though. Late goals from Klose (87, 90) secured the 3-1 win. A team on the rise.
9) AC Milan - 9.44 (3, 4.71)
The UF team is very conflicted about the other team from Milan. Could the Beckham transfer business have been a distraction? What the hell happened this week? They were lucky to take a point from the Reggina match. Beckham was iffy, and only a Kaka penno saved them. The most precipitous drop in the HISTORY of the UF Power Poll.
10) AS Roma - 14.67 (unranked)
Yawn. Still, they haven't lost this calendar year. And a beatdown on Genoa (3-0) this weekend was enough to prop them up into the TEN.
Dropped - Chelsea, Arsenal.
In the mix - AZ Alkmaar, Lyon, Hertha Berlin, Juventus, Chelsea (one tenth place spite vote)
*Villa with high vote