Season seven half term report: Division One

We are 33.3333333333% of the way through the season. The title contenders are starting to emerge and the relegation lions are circling, eyeing their prey and beginning to separate and isolate the weaker wildebeest towards the bottom of the pack. How’s that for a convoluted first paragraph metaphor?

There’s still plenty of time to turn things around – the next set of games are crucial – but who’s setting the pace like Usain Bolt in 2012, who’s setting the pace like Lance Armstrong in 2005 and who’s setting the pace like Derby County in 2007-08? Or 2021?

Tulse Hill Superior are now the only team with three wins out of three. The people’s champions, the fully transparent transfer market participants and the unfairly labelled pantomime villains of the game.

After last night’s victory I can just about hear the bunting being put away from last night’s street party outside the THS Stadium, the empty cans and bottles being swept down the street and the lone man still stood in the middle of the street waving his glowsticks and blowing his whistle to the beat of the passing traffic.

The Mourinho style siege mentality does work – Jose has won almost every major league, after all. Their position is fully deserved as they are the highest goalscorers, they have only conceded one goal and have the best goal difference. What more can you do? The next few games will be an interesting test, as two of their three victories so far have been against the two teams that currently find themselves in last place. But you can only beat the teams in front of you and THS have done that.

Floresta United Kickers and Clapton Crusaders are keeping pace with two wins apiece. L_Messi is joining A_Shearer at the top of the goalscoring charts although Big Bad Luke is no doubt soon to join them. Last night’s meeting of the two teams and two minds could prove to be a pivotal moment in the season; FUK taking the win 2-1 with their 4-1-2-2-2 flying wingers formation after an intense tactical battle of 4D chess and subduing L_Messi for the first time in the season. With the next round of fixtures seeing THS against CLC and FUK against… CTH, the table could have a different shape next Thursday morning.

Last night’s win for Dulwich Isolation Crew has propelled them up the league table like a billionaire’s vanity project propelled into near-earth orbit. They will be delighted to have gotten the game against OPK out of the way early and still find themselves in the top half of the table – what a difference one good result can make. Goals have been the main concern this season. They have two fantastic 23 rated strikers but is their midfield getting the ball to them enough?

I’m on 450 words now, I should probably do Division Two as a second post.

Following DIC is a clusterfuck of teams on 2 and 3 points and waiting for their first victory. CSKA Tulse Hill probably have the most to worry about, as all three of their drawn games so far have been against teams below them and two of the current bottom two. If they want to stay mid-table by the end of the season they now have to beat the early season pace setters, starting with pumping Floresta for five under the floodlights next Wednesday night. You can’t win anything with kids.

Hackbridge Harriers are matching CTH blow by blow, having the same amount of points, goals for, goals against and even the same scoreline when they played each other last night. Squad rotation is going to be key now – a large number of their players now find themselves on less than 89 fitness. With a loss of 5 fitness effectively being the same as playing with one less main stat, will HAH be jumping into the auction to increase their squad depth? Are they eyeing a midfielder? …Can Manchester United bring themselves to buy a Manchester City man?

It’s a huge game next Wednesday when Merstham Magic, who currently find themselves on three points and are another team who have drawn three games this season, play ARA. Last night’s draw was against Opulent Knack, an extremely commendable result against one of the giants of the game. There’s clearly been some kind of training ground bust up as one of the five pre-season youth promotions, J_Dzieknowski, has yet to get a game. Did he insult the manager’s mother? Shit in his manager’s glove box? Go on a drunken, destructive rampage through the beautiful suburb of Merstham? Any player aged 21 or under who has 8 appearances in a season gets an additional 500 abs, vital for a youth’s development. Dzieknowski will want to get that car valeted and back in his manager’s good books soon.

Here’s the real head scratcher. One of the game’s absolute dominant forces is having a wobble. THS, DIC and OPK are the only remaining teams who have never played been relegated. This could change this season, as Opulent Knack find themselves third bottom with three games played and two points gained. Surely this is temporary as they have a frightening team – every regular midfielder and forward is over 23 stat and their goalkeeper is a 26 rated brick wall. Round four will see OPK against HAH – one of these teams has the chance to put the past behind them and reach for the stars, climb every mountain higher.

Round 7’s Archway Classic could take on even more importance, as next to OPK in the table and currently holding one of the two relegation hot potatoes are Archway Athletic. The team of model consistency last season, ARA are struggling to adapt to life in Division One. Yet they have the personnel and their manager certainly has the tactical chops, having masterminded last season’s impressive promotion campaign. The team has a solid defence, you get the feeling they’re just a R_Lukaku, L_Messi or L_Chapman away from completion. Sorry Adam, C_Kiwomya isn’t for sale.

Finally, but by no mean’s least, the division’s chef Clapped Out FC find themselves in a spot of bother. Last night’s inspirational mid-game and post-game team talks…

Zzzzzzzz

Clayton, 24th November 2021, evening

Thanks for nothing

Clayton, 24th November 2021, evening

… will no doubt fuel the fire that’s burning deep in the hearts of all Clapped Out players. But they can do this. We’re only three games in and CLA have started with an unbelievably hard fixture list – they’ve played the current top three teams. With the hard games out of the way we could see CLA climb out of the drop zone in the new few games.

There is everything still to gain. I learned that wildebeest is spelled with three E’s today.

Mike

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