I could get used to this glorious Monday feeling. First Newcastle were dispatched, then Spurs and now we’ve gone and got a point at Anfield. It makes for a very happy start to the week.
But there are still things you notice and make you wonder. Like, for example, whether we really did only create two chances worthy of air time on Match of the Day? And where was the discussion – because I’ve yet to see it – of that nasty elbow by Fernando Torres into John Pantsil’s face. Jimmy’s furious and quite rightly so.
Don’t you just hate how how everybody we play has an off day? We only beat Newcastle because of a dodgy penalty if you believe Joe Kinnear and, of course, Tottenham only lost due to that horrible blunder by Gomes. And the media lapped up Rafa Benitez’s laughable excuses about the international break. Of course, if he’d had Gerrard and Alonso together on the pitch at the start, Liverpool would have thrashed us by the seven goal margin their deluded fans were expecting.
The Observer, normally right on the button with its football coverage, printed a lamentable report which wittered on about Torres proving his worth again. They even made him man of the match. I might be well wide of the mark here but I thought a striker’s job was to grab goals or – at the very least – create them for other people. It can’t just have been me who marvelled at the way our centre backs kept him fairly subdued.
Interesting discussions going on around the other Fulham sites this mornign talking about what our targets should be. Around this time last year Nick said that he wanted a dominant centre back for Christmas. And what a present Brede Hangeland was. If we could find another one – no disrepect to Aaron Hughes who has been outstanding this season – we’d have a real chance of climbing the table. Wingers seem to be on the wishlist as well, although would they suit Roy’s seemingly narrow midfield? What do I want? Well, in common with a couple of other posters, a Cup run would be nice.
Danny Murphy’s turning into a top ambassador for the club too. We mentioned his jovial interview with Jonathan Pearce after his cool penalty against the Magpies and he popped up on MOTD2 last night. An actual Premier League footballer is a rare commodity on these shows. I thought he complimented Lee Dixon well, showed poise and humour in deflecting away Adrian Chiles’ questions about mazy runs (how good was his response that he’ll put one together against West Brom?) and displayed a real intelligence. It was interesting to hear how we’d targeted Gomes the other week – I did intiially wonder why Konchesky was whipping in those corners, but as Gomes flapped, the plan became clear.
On to Villa next – and this will be a tricky tie because Martin O’Neill’s got them playing some great football. I really do admire the way he’s brought in some top young English players and a built a really promising side. We’ve known about Gareth Barry for some time (I always thought it was a mystery that he wasn’t in England squads long before he popped up as a central midfield alternative to Gerrard and Lampard – he would have done a fine job as a left back or a natural left sided midfielder) but the emergence of the likes of Ashley Young, Nigel Reo-Coker and – of course – Gabby Agbonlahor (see his fine debut for England last Wednesday) is really exciting for Villa fans. It’s another away ground we don’t have a great record at (I remember slinking away after that miserable FA Cup semi final defeat) so a point taken home would definitely be one gained.