The two big stories this weekend not related to Manchester United’s getting the first leg of the quadruple would have to be events that transpired at the Riverside and at the Emirates Stadium.
We’ll start with Liverpool because after such a great result midweek against Real Madrid, their loss at the Riverside defied belief. And the papers were quick to fill column inches with their own post match thoughts. Sam Wallace compares the Liverpool situation to that of Nigel Clough’s power struggle at Derby County. Personally I don’t see that much of a comparison as Rafa and Hicks for the moment appear to have formed a loose partnership. Piers Morgan heads down the character assassination route calling Rafa the most arrogant manager in the history of the Premier League. That’s just harsh. Patrick Barclay sneaks the line in his column about Rick Parry that Rafa is the one who has to answer for the results, not Parry himself. Don’t expect that anytime soon. This Independent column pretty much states what Rafa is confirming Sunday, the title race is all over.
It’s almost become a recording at the Emirates, a Premier League nil draw. The results are something that just baffle any mind and after the result against Roma midweek, you would think confidence would have reigned supreme against Fulham. However after Saturday’s result, all Wenger could come up with is “Maybe is is partly psychological. We are getting in good positions but not taking the chances.”
Maybe? Is that the best you could come up with? At this point it is completely psychological. When week in and week out your side can’t finish in front of goal, it becomes a mental thing. Wenger can praise your keeper all you want, and keep the faith in Arsenal’s stars, but you simply have to motivate your players to get goals. That is simply something Wenger hasn’t been able to do. Maybe Theo Walcott’s return to training can be the boost that Arsenal sorely need.
The other big result this weekend was Aston Villa blowing a two goal lead to Stoke City at home. That didn’t stop Tony Pulis hoping pre-match that Villa finished in the top four. Post match it was Martin O’Neill not happy at the arrogant and over confident nature Villa had after going two goals up.
In other Villa news, Martin O’Neill has responded to disgruntled Villa fans who decided to fly out to Moscow just to see the Aston Villa ‘c’ side lose to CSKA Moscow. His offer, dinner with himself and the players. I guess that works, but I was thinking more a reimbursement check for expenses after having to endure that game.
The cracks are starting to show at the KC Stadium. After Geovanni’s ridiculous antics after being subbed, Phil Brown gave him the verbal hair dryer treatment. I expect that one to get much more heated before it cools off.
Speaking of hair dryer treatments, Rio Ferdinand is still sacred of Sir Alex’s.
Tony Mowbray continues to say he will not stand down from his footballing philosophy. That’s even after another defeat.
Bolton fans probably aren’t happy after Gary Megson has agreed to a new rolling contract at the Reebok Stadium.
Florent Malouda says the lack of first team action could cause him to consider his Chelsea future. I say take a hike. You were a good player for France, but the English game is not your brand of football.
And finally, if the News of the World is to be believed (and I normally don’t unless they have the video to prove it), Manchester United is going to throw 200,000 a week at Cristiano Ronaldo to stay.
Just one more thing before I go. Has anyone noticed how many clubs are now within three points of the drop?