People are forever saying the same thing to the TV Guide. Well, a few of the same things, actually, but as we’ve pointed out before, the day with the inflatable sheep at the family barbecue was all a big misunderstanding.
In any case, the thing people actually say to the TV Guide all the time is: “It’s so obvious, TV Guide, that you’re an Arsenal fan”.
Totally weird and, for the record, the TV Guide is not an Arsenal fan. We will thank you to remember that we are a completely impartial semi-informed screen-gawping, unreconstructed slob, and when Arsene Wenger and Mauricio Pochettino’s sides clash at White Hart Lane on Sunday afternoon for the second Premier League north London derby of the season, we will be, as usual, a neutral observer. One hand in the crisp packet and a mind as blank as a newly-dusted mirror. The word you’re looking for is zen.
The derby is Spurs’ second outing on Sky Sports 1 in a week, after their 1-0 win at Crystal Palace on Wednesday night, an impressively ground-out result decided by a Christian Eriksen zinger from 25 yards.
That result — Spurs’ eighth Premier League win on the bounce — means the gap between them and Chelsea is back to four points, with Spurs now holding a significantly better goal difference. Could they do it? Could they? WELL COME ON, COULD THEY? This is the sort of agitated feeling the TV Guide usually gets when something is definitely not about to happen — but Spurs under Pochettino are getting closer every season to actually doing something — and maybe, just maybe, this year is the one.
As for Arsenal, well, while Spurs were winning at Palace, the Gunners were also winning, 1-0 against Leicester City. This result has thrown the TV Guide somewhat off kilter, since we had been preparing ahead of Sunday a (completely neutral) WENGER OUT banner made out of a flattened-out pizza box daubed in Mrs TV Guide’s lippy.
The plan was to wave this at the telly for the full 90 minutes, plus stoppage time, regardless of Arsenal’s performance, in completely reasonable protest at the fact that the Gunners are only in the FA Cup Final this season and are slight outsiders to qualify for next season’s Disappointing Charge To The Champions League Last 16.
But now Arsenal are playing okay again, so what’s a man to do? Wenger Out? Wenger In? Wenger Just Popping Back Occasionally To Make Sure Everything Is As He Left It? It’s very hard to know where to stand.
Perhaps the only reasonable thing to do in this situation is to offer some cautious praise for Wenger’s decision to play three at the back in recent matches, while wondering if the new system will survive what should really be its most intense examination to date as Harry Kane and Dele Alli run at it. That would be the professional way to look at things and, for once, the TV Guide might stop wittering and leave it at that.
Wladimir Klitschko has nicknamed his fists ‘Hospital’ and ‘Funeral’. Coincidentally the TV Guide has done the same thing, with ‘funeral’ generally holding our fags and ‘hospital’ our extra large tin of Special Drink. We’ll be tucking into both as the heavyweight fight of the year gets going on Saturday night because, well, Saturday night. But we will be indulging in semi-moderation, because it’s a tasty line-up on Sky Box Office, topped by Anthony Joshua v Klitschko for the WBA and IBF world titles. The TV Guide is certain this can’t be as wretched a fight as Klitschko’s last outing, against half-man/half-Halloween-pumpkin Tyson Fury, while for Joshua it is a chance to fight someone who isn’t looking for an opportunity to have a nice lie down as soon as the bell goes. The undercard has Scott Quigg, Luke Campbell and Katie Taylor in action. If you don’t like that, the TV Guide says you don’t like boxing.
The TV Guide has been thinking fondly of last year’s Russian Grand Prix when Sebastian Vettel fell victim to then-Red Bull driver Daniil Kvyat’s dodgem-driving first lap, and got so jazzed he managed to drop five F-bombs in 10 seconds. At that point the TV Guide felt sorry for him — but not any more.
This year, with a competitive car under him and Mercedes no longer streets ahead of them, Vettel is off to Moscow aiming to open up a decent gap in the driver’s championship between himself and Lewis Hamilton. Just like last week you can watch the race without a Sky subscription, because it’s live on Channel 4.
The main point of difference here seems to be that before the race on Channel 4 you get to see David Coulthard wheeling his jaw around the grid on a car jack, getting in everyone’s way and asking drivers questions when they’re really trying to concentrate on not crashing into Sebastian “f*****g” Vettel once the race gets going.
On Sky, by contrast, you have Martin Brundle doing exactly the same thing, albeit without the jaw jack. At some point, every Formula One broadcaster on earth will be lining up all their presenters on the grid, everyone doing the same “Kimi, just a quick word” schtick. Then there will be no room for cars and drivers, and F1 will just be a load of journalists milling around asking for a moment of each others’ precious time. This more or less exactly describes the TV Guide’s conception of hell, and if you threatened us with going there, we might actually consider being a better person.