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Football… in re(ar)view

By Munawar Mobin

Wrinkled suits and dented cars
Top of the table Man City took on Sunderland this week. After the thrashing Man City gave to various prestigious English clubs, people seemed quite certain that the Citizens would demolish Sunderland and go three points clear of Man United. But as fate would have it, substitute forward Dong-Won Ji put the ball at the back of the net in the 93rd minute. Offside goal, but hey, doesn't matter, bla bla.

Birthday blues
What's worse than being beaten by the lowest team on the table at home ground when you're riding on the hope of a victory which could put you on top of the table? Doing all that on the manager's birthday. Ferguson received a shocker of a present as Blackburn Rovers stunned the Red Devils with Yakubu scoring a brace and Hanley supplied a screamer. The injuries or the flimsy excuse of a goalie they call De Gea don't make up for the loss. Seriously, Blackburn?

More Blues
Chelsea suffered an upsetting defeat as well when Aston Villa brought them down with a 3-1 victory at Stamford Bridge. Drogba gave the blues the lead with his 150th goal but the joy was short lived as Aston Villa kept coming at them and in the end put the blues eleven points below leaders Man City.

Rangers gunned out
Arsenal skipper Van Persie continued claiming goals in his consistently brilliant form as he scored the winner against QPR to put them on the fourth place on the table. QPR made a few changes but Arsenal managed to counter and keep up a relentless pace, resulting in the victory. Maybe they can be continue like this and actually make it to the top this time. Never say never.

Speaking of Arsenal, 34 year old Thierry Henry is said to have close on a two month loan with Arsenal from New York Bulls. Let's hope Walcott is willing to part with his number for a while. Here's to Arsenal's legendary '14' pumping up the squad's enthusiasm and bringing some of that flair back. Who knows, maybe he'll even net a few goals.

Last of the Five
Liverpool is walking with Arsenal this week, being the only other team out of the big ones to score a victory. Bellamy came out of the game with a brace and Stevie G scored one after coming off the bench. Good break for Liverpool. The 3-1 victory puts them fifth on the table.

Hot Spurs at a draw
Tottenham, who have wonderfully capitalised on the disorganised state of the big names, was held to a draw by Swansea. Van der Vart boasted killer instincts as he took advantage of a defensive error and slotted the ball home before Sinclair got in and equalised. Hot Spurs are now six points below rivals United and City.

Thoughts on the Ballon d'Or
Come January 9th, the winner of the coveted FIFA Ballon d'Or will be announced among the three finalists: Messi, Ronaldo and Xavi. Obviously Messi is favoured to win it this time too, which would make him the only player in history other than (Brazilian) Ronaldo and Zidane to win the trophy three times in a row. In this writer's opinion Xavi should get the trophy for his consistent contribution to the club; he could easily be the best but he spends time on the pitch putting his teammates on the pedestal. He's the proper one to claim this award. And Ronaldo? Well, because of his awesome talent to fall asleep during big games he'll be the third man.

La Liga
Because Spanish teams are so awesome and hard working, they get longer Christmas breaks than the English. Although that reason might not be entirely true, the fact that La Liga hasn't started yet is. A recap to the last week puts Barcelona on level with Real, with the latter having a game in hand.

That's it for the week.

Last week our topic was The Wonderful Stink. We haven't received such a good crop of entries in a while. However, the story below made us smile. Widely. Hope you guys like it as much as we did. For next week, we have: Bippity boppity boo! Entries have to be submitted to ds.risingstars@gmail.com by Sunday noon. Word limit is the usual 500 words. Good luck, folks.


By Zarrin Tasnim

Anam yelled to the top of his voice, “So Miss Vice-President, any plans for tomorrow yet?” Argh! Why does this baboon's behind have to bug me all the time? The unavoidable fact that tomorrow is supposedly my birthday seems to pique the interest of my colleagues. Who knows, perhaps a free treat and a bunch of party gossips might be a pretty good escapade from their busy schedules.

I have been ticked off for the last few days. My not-so-friendly-yet-terribly-caring husband appears to be harbouring the impression that birthdays have vanished in thin air since he gave me the ring. The other day, while having a hearty breakfast together, I drove him to topic “Important Events of the Month” at which point I found him to be overwhelmed by the magnificence of his brain, seeing as he happened to remember my Chacha's wedding anniversary. Fool!

So the day had finally come. As I pulled the blanket off me, deep rooted expectations began to well up. Casual everyday chores like getting ready, having breakfast, putting on make-up seemed unimportant and heavy. I kept going around in circles, hanging about in his perimeter; but was graced with no signs of significance.

The morning sun and the gleeful weather seemed to laugh at me with mockery. Stepping into the office, a rush of yells, hisses, jumps, rattles and whispers along with the myriad hues of flowers seemed to hug me warm. I politely thanked them all, faking a smile and made my way to my cubicle, the world closing in around me; its atmosphere, empty.

Reassuring myself with, “This is how the adult world goes on, darling, so stop sniffing and work!” I dozed off within my files.

The door seemed to be locked from inside; quite possibly the husband was at home. I stood in front of the door for a few moments, heaved a sigh and was about to press the bell when I got a text. I checked my phone as the gongs went off inside the house announcing someone was at the door, “Can you please open the door with your key? I'm stuck at work!” How rude of him! I fumbled with my keys and opened the door.

Where was that almost death-dealing, terribly pungent stink coming from? Hadn't the bua disposed the leftovers today? Grabbing my nose hard, I pushed through the heavy air.

What awaited me was a sweet shock: there were lighted candles, balloons hung with ribbons, and as the eyes rolled to a corner, a dough-covered man standing in at the door of a smelly, semi-destroyed kitchen that seemed to smirk, “Yeah, he's the one.”

“Ohkay, I just wanted to make your favourite pizza. Happy birthday.” He made a sad puppy face and shrugged helplessly, “The cheese was bad, it stinks!” I stood there, unable to think of a good reply, and then I started to laugh.



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