The dreary dozen

Chelsea's victory over Blackburn in today's FA Cup semi-final guarantees that strangle hold that the Premier League's big four have on the trophy will remain firm. Whether it's Chelsea or Man Utd lifting the trophy in May, it will be the twelfth consecutive final to be won by Chelsea, Man Utd, Liverpool or Arsenal. The last team outside the big four to win the FA Cup was Everton in 1995. Meanwhile, the same two clubs are battling for the Premier League title. Coincidentally, it's 12 years of predictability there too, though this time just three clubs - Man Utd, Chelsea and Arsenal - have monopolised the title.

Long-time readers of this blog will remember that, last year, I drew an unfavourable comparison between the lack of competition in English football and the genuinely competitive NFL. How does the NFL compare over the last 12 years? Nine teams (out of a league of 32) have won the SuperBowl in that period.

Will English fans be happy to go on forking out to watch increasingly predictable competitions? Probably, yes. Unfounded optimism is, after all, the natural state of the football fan. Will the FA or the Premier League step in and try to make English football more competitive? Of course not. Would you argue with Roman Abramovich?