What could be better than a weekend where you complete the double over your neighbours? Perhaps a weekend where Spuds also get a tonking by theirs and Gatesy finds a tenner in a pocket of his jeans he’d forgotten he put there.
Well that’s EXACTLY what occurred the weekend just gone…
It turns out the short trip down thePalace Roadwas well worth it. After periods of time earlier in the season where it looked as if Jol was selecting the team and their positions via a random number generator, the starting XI are beginning to look more of a solid unit, especially with Aaron making a welcome return at the back. Perhaps it was just down to them needing a bit of time to become accustomed to the new formation and tactics, or perhaps it was a troublesome influence on the training pitch that we’ve managed to ship off down the road? Who knows. And the biggest improver of recent times seems to be Dembele. With a nice little back heel to set up the goal, the Belgian also had an impressive 95% pass completion rate too.
The Ruskie continues to look a good bit of business from the Dutchman and I’ll be a much happier bunny as soon as he’s tied down to a deal keeping him with us past the summer. If he keeps scoring goals as he already has done and pops off to play football in the glamorous climes of Ukraine and Poland over the summer break I worry we may not be the only ones after him, after his current record of two games played, two shots on target and two goals scored.
The boys started to look a little worried and nervous towards the end of the game. It’s understandable really considering our awful away record and the fact that 39 of the gaols we’ve conceded this season have all been done so in the final 15 minutes of matches and this would turn out to be our first clean sheet in nine games. If we could sort this out, a top half finish would be looking pretty solid.
While it was an exciting debut for Rangers’ Samba Diakte, possibly in the shortlist for the worst Premier League Debut ever? After several quiet words from the ref and a yellow card, he couldn’t help himself but get himself sent off in the 32nd minute. Not bad work really.
Way back ago when I worked in Sainsbury’s I knew an unusual gentleman who couldn’t get enough of shaking your hand. He’d literally do it all day if you let him. It spears his polar opposite is Sparky, the only man in the world worse at handshakes than Luis Suarez. Now not only is he a ‘strange gentleman’ it appears he seems to have completely forgotten about the lift in form a new manager is supposed to bring to a side. In his sex games in charge he’s lost four of them and only picked up 4 points. Winning one game in their last 13 fixtures – now that’s relegation form right there.
After an awful seven days the week prior, Arsenal’s world is starting to look a little bit rosier now. After announcing record profits for the club, news talks with RVP over a new contract are in their early stages and a nice win over their rivals. After falling two nil behind, and somebody I used to work with being shown jumping about celebrating a goal like a demented old circus monkey, the comeback was on. Rosicky had a rare brilliant showing in the middle and with Theo deciding to show everybody what he should be doing week in week out, they turned the game around. The five goals notched up here mean that the Gunners have now scored as many in their last three Premier League games as they had in the 11 before that. While Spuds won’t be as cheery as their norfLondonneighbours. Has all the talk of taking over at Engerland got to ‘Arry and he’s bottled it? After drawing away atStevenagein the cup and throwing away a good lead in a derby game won’t be drawing the admiring glances from the FA that he may have hoped for. And now having collected only three points out of the 15 available from matches against teams in the top four, they find themselves looking over their shoulders at theChelseashaped object closing in on them. Next up for them in Man Yoo, who they’ll be facing without the suspended Scotty Parker.
Man Yoo grabbed an undeserved win away against Norwich, where Ryan Giggs scored the winner on his 900th outing for the club. It was ever thus. After scoring against the Champions Canaries forward Holt achieved the impressive feat of having reached double figures for goals in the last four seasons, all in different divisions. After facing Spuds this weekend the Red have a decent run of games for them, facing seven teams in the bottom half before the possible title decider against Man City. For whom, it was a stroll in the park against Blackburn. The visitors didn’t manage to have a shot on goal until the 92nd minute and chalked up just 22% of possession in the match, meaning it’s again looking bleak for them. Tevez is due to turn out for the Blues reserves tonight in a behind closed doors game, and will be looking to try and force himself back into the first team before too long. Vincent Kompany again proved just what an important part of the City line up he is, as the side have now only conceded twice in the last eight games he’s featured in.
Chelsea kept the pressure on the top four with a win over Bolton. Fat Frank scored his 125th goal in a blue shirt as they ran out three nil winners. Meanwhile, the visitors’ goalless afternoon means that no striker has scored for the Trotters in over 9 hours of football now.
Stoke picked up all three points against Swansea, though football was not the big winner. Only a few days after bottling it in Europe and keeping half his team at home because they were already losing against a bigger team, Tony Pulis declared that he couldn’t get his Potters side playing nice football, as opponents Swansea have done this season, because the home fans wouldn’t warm to it.
Of course, why would you want to change a style of football that’s produced a whopping total of 18 shots on target in the last ten games you’ve played, racked up a massive 26 goals from open play all season and where they achieved the lofty heights of 26% possession againstSwansea? I cannot think of a single reason. You keep up the good work, Potters.
Elsewhere West Brom continued their new lust for scoring by beating Sunderland 4-0 at the Hawthorns andWiganand Villa played out a goalless draw. While Newcastle also shared the points with the travelling Wolves.
Next up for us is the Super Sunday fixture against Wolves. And. It’s. Live! On Sky Sports. If we win that fixture we could possibly leap up the table to Eighth place. But until then we occupy 11th spot, handily placed for an assault on the top half of the table. Before we welcome Wolves to the Cottage though some of our lads are off representing their home nations in all manner of low wattage friendly fixtures. Let us hope they all return without any injuries raring to continue our good run of results.