Monday Night Football, or as we will call it from here on in, MNF, is the proverbial cherry which sits on top of the cake. The cake being the weekend football from the Premier League, the cherry being an 8pm kick off under the lights to finish the round of fixtures. Before the final game gets underway we are treated to some expert punditry in the way of former professionals who like to analyse the nine previous games and pick the metaphorical bones out of all the action that had previously unfolded. World class goals, shocking defending and controversial decisions are all highlighted and scrutinised under the watchful eye of millions of viewers at home. Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher sit in a state of the art studio filled with slow motion machines, fancy pens that enable them to draw arrows all over the pitch and other techno wizardry which enable them to go over hours of video tape to pick out the best/worst moments of the games and highlight the weekends heroes and villains.
But is this a help, or a hindrance?
Clubs themselves have set departments for analysing recent performances or upcoming opposition. So are the guys in the studio doing their work for them?
Last season, during a four game winning streak, Everton manager Roberto Martinez, was being lauded for his sides swashbuckling style of play, with full backs getting high up the pitch and Gareth Barry dropping into the back three to provide cover. The three men in the studio gushed with how flexible Martinez approach to football had become. He was later sacked as Everton stumbled in the league despite reaching the FA Cup semi-final.
So are these things that are being highlighted working in favour of the opposition coaches or managers?
Teams can see how to exploit others from clips shown on MNF. Training ground routines from set plays are a favourite of the pundits. Players highlighted with arrows showing where the ball is going or maybe the run of a player. Dark arts like blocking and off the ball incidents in which the camera normally miss are lit up like Blackpool sea front.
So do managers see this as threat to what they have been working on? Or maybe they like to get the heads up on what’s been going on over the weekend.
To the average Joe on the street, it’s a marvellous insight into the world of professional football. But to managers and coaches, the tricks of the trade are being put on show for everyone to see.