Tuesday, 5 March 2013

A match already being described as on tonight...

Probably the biggest sporting event this side of the Atlantic this year takes place this evening. But what can you say about Cheltenham versus Chesterfield that hasn't already been said?

What's that you say? Manchester United are playing Real Madrid? Now there's a match that doesn't need any more spoken about it. So instead let's drop down a couple of levels and look at the nPower Championship.

Cardiff have been showing signs of finally breaking their promotion curse and joining Welsh neighbours Swansea in the Premier League. A seven point lead over third place seems positively nailbiting compared with the country's top division, and manager Malky Mackay will want to stretch that lead as his contenders host Derby tonight.

Derby are a funny club. Since Nigel Clough took charge on the back of dewy-eyed veterans, fondly recalling the Brian days, they have never looked in serious danger of promotion or relegation. Even as I write, they are closer to the bottom of the table than the play-off places. His final positions read - 18th, 14th, 19th and 12th. Derby currently lie 13th. This frustrates me, as whenever I've seen them play, they have shown some good football, and they are always capable of a big win. I hope Clough keeps his job long-term, and slowly inches Derby up the table, but I wonder whether if he wasn't his father's son would there have been more pressure on him?

Another big-name manager hoping to haul his side into the top flight is Gus Poyet at Brighton. Four wins in five games has given the Seagulls promotion push fresh bite. The FA Cup victory over Newcastle in January showcased a brand of football that would light up the Premier League. New signing Leonardo Ulloa has added cutting edge, with a hat-trick in Brighton's 4-1 win over Huddersfield at the weekend. I would love to see them in the top division, as I remember the days of them struggling in the old Third Division, with a young and sprightly Bobby Zamora as their goal machine.

For what it's worth, I predict a 2-1 win tonight for Fergie's men. Just so I can't be accused of ignoring the day's MASSIVE STORY completely. I'll leave that to the Beeb.

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