Stable Powers: Man United signed Rooney to a contract extension, secured money for future transfers and beat Stoke 2-1 on Saturday. The decisive goal came from Mexico star Javier Hernandez, his fifth this season, suggesting that the Red Devils still can find gems on a budget. Arsenal, meanwhile, strolled to a 3-0 win against Manchester City. When they are healthy, when they have a man advantage for 90 minutes and when the other team plays no one who can hold possession, the Gunners can be imperious. Unfortunately, Chelsea has a five-point advantage on both.
Liverpool earned their second win, beating Blackburn 2-1. This sparked the normal blather from ace captain Steven Gerrard about this being a turning point. The talk will die quickly when they drop points to Bolton next weekend.
Fifa Corruption? Fifa corruption. Fifa makes most third-world governments look ethical and forthright, so it is less than surprising some scalawag would besmirch the sanctity of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids. First two members of the FIFA executive committee were caught on film offering to sell their votes. Four other FIFA officials have been provisionally suspended relating to the investigation. Now it’s emerging that Spain, Portugal, and Qatar colluded to exchange votes for their respective 2018 and 2022 bids. The only astonishing facet of this story is that Jack Warner isn’t involved.
The Special Team: Jose “The Special One” Mourinho seems to be earning his moniker at a fourth club. Real Madrid are atop the Spanish league after hammering Racing Santander 6-1. Cristiano Ronaldo scored four of the goals. Through 11 competitive matches, Real Madrid have won nine and drawn two. They are quite possibly the best club in Europe, and you have to credit the Portuguese manager. He was only given Ricardo Carvalho, Sergio Canales, Angel Di Maria, Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira to supplement a squad that won 32 matches in La Liga last season.
MLS Playoffs: The MLS Playoffs begin next week. Hard to fault the timing. Starting in late October, MLS will only have to compete with the World Series, the NFL regular season, the business end of the college football season, the NBA, the NHL, and the start of college basketball for eyeballs. Few will be watching, making it a suitable finish for a regular season that few watched. The over-inclusive playoffs also render the regular season proceedings meaningless. The league of the future.
Goal of the Week: Yuri Zhirkov (Chelsea vs. Spartak Moscow)