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Well, hasn’t the world of football been busy since we last met here. As Tor has covered in her excellent away day report we did rather well up at Stoke. Though I’m not sure she stressed how awful the tea actually was. Now, I’m used to my correct views being ridiculed and people dismissing me as being nothing far short of a maniac. The fact that ‘Only Fools and Horse’ isn’t actually very good, the fact that any food can be improved by eating it in sandwich form and that Chris Baird is a marvellous player and is far too much under rated by everybody. One of these three brings me more abuse than the others. Though it may appear the tide is turning. Slotting in at left back since the Stoke game he’s looked more solid than recent previous incumbents and need I mention the brace he scored? It makes me wonder which position he’s set his mind on mastering next? We’re a bit shy up front and in goal at the moment, so…

One person who didn’t come out of the game too well was Pulis by refusing to shake Sparky’s hand after the match. Cast your mind back and you’ll see our Gaffer has previous with this as when he was at City Wenger did similar. It was all over the press at the time, along with this quote.

“Arsene Wenger has made a decision not to shake Mark Hughes’ hand, whether that is right or wrong you’d have to ask him. But personally, whether I like or dislike someone, you have a responsibility to show the right spirit of the game.…in the spirit of the game you should still shake hands…You should shake hands, you don’t have to go for a drink afterwards with them for a tittle-tattle.”
Do you want to guess who said that, or do you want me to tell you? Give you a clue, he’s fond of wearing baseball caps…

More recently WBA hit town and for a brief time the victory took us to 13th place, showing just how tight the table is at the moment. We haven’t given a team a convincing beating at home since we beat the Baggies 6-1 a few years back. Infact it was 184 games ago and oddly enough we’ve scored just over a goal a game since then (185 to be exact). Carsons flappy hands helped the boys into the lead just before the break with Brede and Dempsey completing the scoring.

If you’re a fan of goals from corners, The Cottage is the place to visit. With ten goals all scored from there it’s the hot-spot for them. The result means that West Brom are still pointless since Christmas.

Elsewhere towards the bottom of the table West Ham were put to the sword by Newcastle and their old boss Pardew. Leon Best scored a rare hat trick and a goal a piece from Nolan and Lovenkrands completing the rout. Best’s hat trick is the third one scored by a Magpie this season so far. The result takes the ‘Ammers back to the foot of the table and puts all that pressure back on Grant.

Another gaffer with the axe swinging ever closer is our old mate Roy. Giving a post match press conference lasting just two minutes and refusing to talk about the future probably isn’t a good sign. Then again, given Liverpool’s god given right to win everything all the time, neither was losing 3-1 at Ewood Park. The static reds defense was penetrated by Olsson and twice by Mwaruwai with the reply coming from Gerrard who was only included in the team at the last minute and probably wished he wasn’t after missing a penalty. His record currently standing at 6 of his last 20 being missed. A nice quote I saw after the game was that Liverpool are now “A joke without a laugh,” although I have managed a few titters at them myself…

The big game last night was City’s visit to Arsenal. As usual with these games it failed to live up to Skys big billing. Despite the home side hitting the woodwork twice the game ended nil nil. City rarely threatened and it showed, with this becoming their first game since December 2007 where they failed to have a shot on goal all game. Both teams managed to accumulate a red card each though with Zabaleta and Sagna being given marching orders after a little scuffle. The Arsenal players red was his second red card in just six Premier League Games. The draw helped Man Yoo consolidate at the top of the table after they beat Stoke on Tuesday night 2-1. Hernandez’s opener was leveled through Dean Whitehead, with Nani scoring to ensure the reds stayed top. The game also seemed to hint that SAF now see’s Smalling as his third choice centre back, being picked ahead of Johnny Evans (which always sounds like a pseudonym to me).

The biggest shock of Wednesday night was up in the Midlands with Wolves beating that lot down the road 1-0. An own goal from Bosingwa continued their awful recent run of results. It pains me to say it, but we could probably have done with the result going the other way round (may God strike me down). The only bright spot was earlier in the week when Ray Wilkins (Come back to us Ray, pleaseandthankyou) described Fat Frank as “A massive cog” leading to much sniggering at Castle Gatesy. Similar mirth was found in Mr Ancelotti’s pre match prediction,

“We are not thinking about losing at Wolves. We will not lose. We will win.”

How’d that work for you?

Another gaffer apparently on the verge of the sack, if you trust the press, is Villa’s Houllier. This is despite the board coming out in his defense and saying his job is safe. His case wasn’t helped much by their defeat against Sunderland at Villa Park. Even with the Black Cats receiving their 13th red card in 60 league games under Bruce, the Villains slipped into the relegation places. Bardsleys goal for the visitors see’s them sitting pretty up in sixth.

Meanwhile, Villa Director Charles Krulak came out with something worth considering:

“If we had another three points, we would be closer to sixth”

You can’t knock him, he’s totally right.

Elsewhere this week, Blackpool lost at home to Brum, Bolton and Wigan sharing the points and Everton taking all three against Spuds. The Toffees opener coming from Fulham old boy Saha. Five of his last six goals have been against teams from the capital the this was the first of the season for him.

Next up for the Whites is FA Cup action when Peterborough visit the Cottage on Saturday. Meanwhile we sit 14th in the table.