Monday, October 08, 2007


English weekend

Arsenal were tested by a hard working Sunderland team but in the end a touch of class was enough to ride out the storm. Two cracking goals from van Persie and a scrambled one from Senderos did the damage but fair play to Sunderland who worked hard and threatened themselves to snatch at least a point. Jones and Chopra may not be household names but the Black Cats defence started with them harrying the likes of Toure deep in the Arsenal half. Stokes came on and was keen to show Arsene what he was missing but his sole chance to shine was an effort tipped over by Almunia. It was a victory the Arsenal had to work for and that is a good sign. It won’t all be champagne football.

I said last week Spurs would be up for the trip to Anfield where Rafa’s men have now drawn three games out of four this season. Hardly title winning form but what do I care? Spurs showed as ever that teasing their supporters is the way forward. Coming from 4-1 behind is no mean achievement for anybody let alone a team struggling but one thing it does is keep the wolves at bay. Likewise nearly winning at Liverpool probably has earned Jol another week or so in the job. The fact remains they have a defence with moiré holes than Emmenthal cheese and a keeper dodgier than a second hand car sold by A. Daley esq. They remain the nearly men with no sign of success.

Sorry, I can’t get too excited about Manchester United beating Wigan 4-0 at home. People say that Arsenal have had an easy start to the season but United have hardly had to get stuck in yet have they? They caught a Chelsea at the lowest point and against City they steam rollered them but were unlucky to get nothing. Games against Arsenal will be as much a test for United as the Gunners.

Chelsea got back to winning ways but again I wouldn’t get too excited. This Bolton isn’t a patch on earlier years. Again we won’t really know about Avram Grant till he gets to play the big boys. As for Bolton, odd leaving Speed and Nolan out. They could join Wigan in sliding down a division come May.

Elano again shone as Manchester City turned in another impressive performance at home to weakened, and weak, Middlesbro. It’s as well their midfield is so prolific, Mpenza could be replaced come the January sales. Are City contenders? Too early to tell. They’re winning their home games which is half the battle but will have the stamina and strength come March?

Poor old West Ham. Another defeat and another blank. Much hype about Dean Ashton and he is good but all these blank sheets must worry Curbishley. What West Ham need is the confidence of three points and pretty soon. West Ham went down a couple of years ago despite being ‘too good to do so’, history could well repeat unless they start putting a run together. We won’t see the real West Ham till the likes of Bellamy and Dyer return but till then they must start nicking points.

Everton continue to get going. Johnson has struggled this season up front and a midfield without Cahill and Carsley has looked lightweight. Portsmouth continue to impress against anyone but the big boys. The signing of Diop has added something to midfield and Benjani is scoring for fun at the moment. It would be great to see someone like Portsmouth get a place in Europe but I can’t see it. Much depends on old buggers like Campbell and James and if they get injured do they have the strength to cover them? Finally Bentley inspired Blackburn to useful 3 points against Birmingham. 19,000 turned up! Still, I think Rovers are the likelier to break into the top 6 if they can grind out results like this against the relegation fodder.

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