Thanks to the generousity of Fulham’s Premiership colleagues, we’ve got a wonderful opportunity to claim the points and climb the table against Blackburn tomorrow afternoon. Putting aside our game with Rovers for a moment, all the teams around us failed to pick up points.
Reading were beaten at Manchester City, who continue to display to the English red tops what a quality manager Eriksson is. I’ve only just read Nick’s post below – and although I can’t share his joy at our failure to make Euro 2008 – there is a bit of poetic justice at work. Eriksson was dismissed for non-footballing reasons, but his overall record as England manager was outstanding. People forget that we were at a low ebb after the departure of Kevin Keegan – rock bottom of the group I recall – and I, for one, am pretty pleased that some of the supposedly ‘outstanding’ English candidates are disassociating themselves from the job. I can’t be the only one who’s not exactly been salivating at the prospect of Allardyce or Curbishley taking the reins.
As if to prove that point, Newcastle were absolutely woeful against Liverpool. Booing Steven Gerrard – however disappointing he and Lampard were in midweek – only served to fire him up and what a free-kick that was. In between times, Newcastle actually made me feel better about our defence with such an inept display. What’s the betting on how long that’ll last?
Right then, back to our televised clash with Blackburn on Sunday. Some people have been getting riled by Matt Le Tissier’s comments on Sky Sports. There’s no doubt that he doesn’t like us – anyone who watches Soccer Saturday will know that it seems to be a qualifying characteristic to be a member of their panel – but I couldn’t find too much that was objectionable in his thoughts. If we’re level or better with ten to go, I might follow McClaren’s example and ‘watch’ from the toilet.
Fortunately, given our treatment room congestion of late, we have no injury worries. Whether that means that the Carlos Bocanegra or ‘Junior’ Omozusi will come back into contention is anyone’s guess. Reading from his excellent diary, Moritz Volz is still missing, but using the physio’s vernacular, but is ‘progressing nicely’. Hopefully, David Healy – who has been in such excellent form for Northern Ireland (see Chopper’s piece at the Chronicle here) – can replicate that sort of display and poach some goals tomorrow afternoon.
For me, the important question is not who Sanchez picks, but how we play. Blackburn are one of those sides who match an appetite for the scrap with some brilliant football. We’ll have to be in their faces, with some aggressive intent, which hopefully will neccesitate the reintroduction of Alexei Smertin. The Russian has been badly missed in recent weeks for me, especially in the latter stages against Liverpool when defensive lapses cost us an unlikely point.