AS the Kaiser Chiefs never sang: Oh Benni, Benni, Benni, Benni. The dangers of getting carried away with yourself.
You may have noticed there’s a section in this blog titled ‘Will Blackburn finish ninth?’ It is based on the asumption that Blackburn will finish ninth.
But after winning at Newcastle last weekend, they rose to the giddy heights of seventh. And seventh is not that far from fourth. And fourth means a place in the Champions League. (Unless Liverpool win the Champions League and finish outside the top four, in which case it won’t.)
Anyway, Benni McCarthy appeared to get a little excited at the prospect ahead of today’s game against Fulham. Maybe he was asked a leading question by a journalist. Maybe he just came out with the following quote unprompted. I don’t know.
“At the moment, people might say it’s an impossible dream, but we have every capability of reaching fourth place,” McCarthy said. “Anything less than that would be disastrous as far as I’m concerned, even if we do get into Europe via the UEFA Cup.”
Now Blackburn are one of the few teams to have qualified for the Champions League by actually winning the Premiership, so they should know what it takes. And even with four places up for grabs, it takes a lot more than two draws against Fulham.
Tonight’s final match: Blackburn 1 Fulham 1
Commentator: Tony Gubba
Fulham may be struggling against relegation, but they seemed – from the highlights at least – a little unlucky in this game.
Certainly Morten Gamst Pedersen appeared to wrestle Paul Stalteri to the floor before heading Blackburn in front. (An incident justified afterwards by Blackburn boss Mark Hughes with a baffling comment along the lines of: “Well, they started it.”)
In addition, Eddie Johnson hit the post and Clint Dempsey had a decent penalty shout rejected. Fulham showed far more attacking verve than they did when I saw them lose 1-0 at Middlesbrough four weeks ago. (A match in which the entire crowd could have gone home at half-time and missed nothing.)
“A confident wink there from Jimmy Bullard,” said Tony Gubba, seconds before the Fulham midfielder struck one of his speciality free kicks past a helpless Brad Friedel. A worthy equaliser.
As for Blackburn: Champions League? You’re having a laugh. But you are at least off and running on the Gubbometer for the season. Not that you’ll finish in the top four there, either.
But Fulham? I’d say Fulham have got a Gubbometer top-four finish sewn up. Shame there’s no prize for that, really…
1. Derby: 10 (Gubba difference: +1)
2. Fulham: 7 (GD: +2)
3. Wigan: 7 (GD: +1)
4. Birmingham: 6 (GD: 0)
5. Reading: 5 (GD: +1)
6. Gubba: 4
7. Bolton: 4 (GD: +1)
8. West Ham: 4 (GD: 0)
9=. Aston Villa: 3 (GD: 0)
9=. Chelsea: 3 (GD: 0)
9=. Sunderland: 3 (GD: 0)
12. Portsmouth: 2 (GD: +1)
13=. Millwall: 2 (GD: 0)
13=. Walsall: 2 (GD: 0)
15. Blackburn: 1 (GD: +1)
16=. Everton: 1 (GD: 0)
16=. Middlesbrough: 1 (GD: 0)
16=. Newcastle: 1 (GD: 0)
16=. Cardiff: 1 (GD: 0)
16=. Wolves: 1 (GD: 0)
16=. Bury: 1 (GD: 0)
16=. Workington: 1 (GD: 0)
16=. Huddersfield: 1 (GD: 0)
16=. Grimsby: 1 (GD: 0)
(NB. Where teams are level, positions are decided by Gubba Difference; the number of times a team is on Match of the Day last with Tony Gubba commentating.)