Have you ever tried bouncing a set of keys on your knee?

I'm very worried about the second legs of the European matches. How will they get on, what have they left to offer? Not the players, the commentators. Bob Wilson has already described Man Utd's first leg against Juventus as another Italian job, which was terribly witty, highly amusing and, of course, absolutely original. Can he possibly do better on Wednesday in Turin?

Big Ron, my favourite person in football, if not the world, was on top form for the first leg. When a Juventus defender was enveloping Beckham, his arms round him, Ron said it was the Turin shroud - beat that. Then when the Italian goalie was very quick to a ball, Ron mused that he must be in the "wide awake club". Spot on, Big Ron.

I was confused by his reference to the "Reducer". At first I thought it might be his attempt to pronounce the name of the Italian sub, but now I realise it's a Ronism for someone who gets the boot in. But I'm still confused by "Mrs Zidane wears the hair in her house". A touch elliptical. Perhaps he will explain on Wednesday.

Then I'm worried about the adverts.With both games on commercial channels - Man Utd on ITV, Chelsea on Channel 5 - I doubt if I can stand the adverts once again. I now hate the new Ronaldo one, where he's a big game hunter, running with a ball towards some goalposts. So slow, empty, unamusing, whereas the one last year where he dribbled through the airport, that was excellent.

The Ford advert is a bit puzzling, where the woman knees her car keys in the air and goes off in the car while her bloke is watching the footer. Ford is a Euro sponsor, so we get that before every Euro match. I even caught it on German TV when I was watching the Bayern Munich-Kiev game. All over Europe people must be trying to puzzle it out.

Have you tried bouncing a set of keys on your knee? Have a go, next time you're really bored, or Bob Wilson is talking. You can kick keys in the air with your foot, but you've got to be very skilful to hit them in the air with your knee or thigh. And she's only a woman. Is she going off with his car by the way, or her car, or their car? Leaving him for ever, or just to get him some chips?

Clive Tyldesley did the Man U commentary, and presumably will again on Wednesday. I hope he's going to stop all this anti- Italian prejudice, going on about nasty, sneaky "in-your-shirt Italian defenders". I don't think I've seen a fairer, cleaner European game, played in an excellent spirit. Only one yellow card. In Premier games, it's normal to have four, plus a red.

On Thursday, for the Chelsea game, I'll have the volume down as low as possible, might even leave the house and watch through the window. Won't do much good. Probably still hear Jonathan Pearce screaming and shouting patriotic, over-the-top nonsense. "And yes, Chelsea have won a throw-in!"

I fear he'll insist on sharing all the trivia he didn't work in last time. At really vital moments, when the Spanish are about to score, he'll tell us which Spaniard is a vegetarian and Seventh Day Adventist, with an auntie living in Carlisle.

The studio experts, ho hum, for the home leg were Tony Dorigo and Mark Hughes. Dear God, spare us them again. They were dressed and spoke exactly like accountants. Made Bob Wilson seem charismatic.

But the biggest worry of all is the football. Jonathan said Chelsea were "flying the flag for England". Bobby Charlton said Man Utd were "doing it for England". Tony Banks, Minister for Instant Quotes on Anything Remotely To Do with Football, especially Chelsea, said it would cheer up the whole of Britain if our lads done good.

Well, flags have been at a very low mast these past few days in our house. Juventus were superior to Man Utd in every department. It's no use saying, as everyone did, that Man Utd cannot play as badly again. The chances are that Juventus will be much more confident.

Hard to see how Fergie can stop the fears and inferiorities creeping deeper into the Man Utd souls. They were apparent at Old Trafford after the first ten minutes. Man Utd, of all teams, our leaders, our standard-bearers, who have impressed even their enemies all season - in the Premier League. That's the rub. In the first leg, they were clearly out of their league. Zidane and Davids were in total control, giving a master class in midfield play. Cole and Yorke, so deadly against Premier defences, disappeared. Neville, Irwin, Berg and Johnsen were exposed as the journeymen they are, incapable of creative or even accurate passing. Oh lordy.

What these European games have shown us this season is that the English Premier League is not the best in Europe, despite all the big new money, the big-name foreign players. The Italian league is clearly the best, followed by the Spanish. I'd put Germany next, with the English and French about joint fourth.

Chelsea, well they were pathetic in that first game. Zola and Vialli were tired old men. Yet unlike Man Utd, they were up against a mediocre team, well organised, but with little flair. Chelsea were as fortunate as Man Utd to get away with a 1-1 draw, but I expect them to win next week. They are superior to Mallorca. Class and money are bound to tell.

Wish I thought the same about Man Utd. They have class, but not enough, compared with Juventus. Let's hope Juventus have become over-confident, having found it so easy at Old Trafford. Yes, that's patriotic prejudice and blind optimism creeping in. We armchair experts are as bad as the studio experts. Otherwise, we'll have to pray for the Great Reducer to get to work on Zidane.

Next Article