You would think Rafa Benitez would have already learned his lesson. Instead Rafa is left to choke on more words, and a title dream lost.
Before Liverpool’s 1-1 draw with Manchester City, Rafa reacted to Arsene Wenger’s comments that Manchester United were untouchable. “I can only talk of my team but I don’t think they are untouchable. In football now every game is tough so anything can happen. We have reduced the gap very well and want to reduce it more. It will be difficult but if we’re in the same position going to Old Trafford maybe that could be important”, came the words of Rafa Benitez. Now the gap is seven and even winning at Old Trafford guarantees nothing for Rafa.
Why Rafa took the bait on what was such an innocent comment from Wenger defies belief. Instead of focusing on what Rafa was going to do without Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres in the lineup to get three points at home against a Manchester City side that had not done much away from Eastlands this year, or even worrying about signing a new contract, Rafa decides that his vendetta against Sir Alex Ferguson is just that more important.
With Real Madrid hitting a bit of form, Liverpool have a bigger fight on their hands in the round of sixteen of the Champions League than even I expected a month ago. Should Liverpool not advance out of the Champions League, will their season truly be over with before March tenth?
Rafa may have finally admitted that the title race has slipped away from Liverpool, but it’s too late for that. He may have seen these tricks work when he managed at Valencia, but Rafa can’t fool the man who let’s the football do the talking first…then the man.
One person I never expected to come out with an almighty rant would be Tony Mowbray. The manager who’s side has been rooted at the bottom for a good portion of this season decides that before West Brom’s visit to Fulham to take a swipe at, of all things, Match of the Day. Not the show itself, just those ‘sofa pundits’ on it.
“I’ve got the world telling me I’m doing this wrong and that wrong, and playing the wrong formation. But I will stay single-minded and focused on what I believe in.
‘If the experts sitting on the sofas were good enough, they would all be doing this job themselves. Even when you get teams winning 10 games on the bounce, there are still people telling you that you are not doing something right.”
Mowbray’s West Brom then proceeded to see Fulham tear them apart in a match where 2-0 was too kind a scoreline. When that happens, those sofa pundits look like absolute geniuses. In the Championship, you can get away with single-minded tactics and thinking. In the Premier League, single-minded tactics and thinking see you relegated and begging for your job.
While I’m on the subject Mowbray, shouldn’t you be taking a little responsibility for how pathetic your teams have played? Shouldn’t you be putting the pressure on the players in private to up their standard instead of lashing out on pundits who are paid to do so (and seemingly doing a better job at pointing fingers than you are)?
There are winnable games in West Brom’s future, and now it’s the time for Tony Mowbray to show that he can adapt and be flexible. Single-minded football has been a losing proposition for West Brom so far, and sitting at the bottom of the table is not the time to be stubborn with what brought you up in the first place.
While not a Premier League story, credit has to go Joe Prodomo for keeping Weymouth from losing by 10 or more goals.
So Bolton Wanderers are denying rumors that Gary Megson will be sacked at the end of the season and replaced by Owen Coyle, Burnley manager. Okay I was alright up until the name Owen Coyle appeared. So Bolton want to replace a guy who currently is guiding Bolton into a mid-table finish with a guy who, while has Burnley in the playoff fight, has been proven nothing more than a cup specialist. Good going there Bolton management.
The last thing Everton needed was to see Mikel Arteta injured on Sunday.
Claudio Ranieri admitted that he fell asleep while watching Chelsea play Aston Villa ahead of Juve’s Champions League clash.
And Richard Scudamore has rejected the idea of a salary cap in the Premier League. All together now…WHAT A SHOCK!