Monday, 15 December 2008

That is the sound of… inevitability

Watch out for it because it’s coming soon. Normally you have to wait until at least March but chances are the first mention of 'squeaky bum time' on either Sky or in the printed media will be with us sooner rather than later. In fact, Setanta may beat them all to it considering just how many words a minute Fat Pat tries to crowbar in between all the feckin ads on that channel.

“Hmm, yeah, that’s just plain box office, that’s all I’m saying, is it… yeah we don’t know for sure but what do know, as Lou Macari was saying… and I thought it was (inert camp pointing gesture here) intersssssssting… are they the real thing? Always, always here on Setanta, yeah mmm real thing… Coca Cola… yeah, squeaky bum time. Where’s my burger?”

It might not sound exactly like that but it won’t be a million miles off. Anyway, away from that utter gimp, this happens to be the best Premier League race in years. Chelsea messing up brought to an end another bizarre weekend. Liverpool went two down, came to life then died just as suddenly again for the last 55 minutes against Hull. While Arsenal lived up to all the clichés about going to pieces once they go past Watford on the team bus, and seemed happy enough with a draw at Boro.

Then there’s United. There always is and this season they really are one, long running soap opera… or maybe they’re more like a fugitive movie. You know, like that movie with the fugitive who was said to have killed his wife, and the police chased this fugitive for months, but the fugitive shaved off his beard, dived into water at great heights and the fugitive then went and solved the murder the fugitive had been blamed for in the first place. I think it was called ‘The Guy Who Didn’t Get Caught’.

Anyway, movies aside, Ferguson can now instil in his team that everyone really is out to get them – he’s even taken them on the run to Japan. There’s Evra and his four match ban (which is ridiculous in fairness), then Rooney being investigated by UEFA, not to mention Ronaldo suffering the same fate for his kick out at Dawson on Saturday, as the FA look at Mike Riley’s report on the game to see if they can take action. It’s the FA so expect an answer back on that last one in May. Add to all this Ronaldo subbing himself last week and Ferguson defending this as normal practice and you have a club with issues.

Liverpool have a few of them as well as Rafa continues to worship the altar of ‘The System’. Dirk Kuyt, we assume, is the head of this particular religion as he alone must be omnipresent throughout all acts of ‘The System’. What was wrong with Benitez’s team on Saturday? Well where do you start…

- No Agger against a team bound to be sitting back.
- Dossena looking like he’d had a skin full of pints the night before.
- Benayoun doing his usual trick of running into other players.
- Dirk running everywhere and nowhere at the same time, all at four miles an hour with his first touch getting worse by the week.
- Using Monster Masch was even a huge error – why does he need a defensive midfielder against a side they should easily beat?
- As for the subs, well not using Keane at all is pretty much telling him he has no career at the club, read the same for Babel. Even waiting as long as he did – 15 minutes left – to put someone in to freshen things up smacked of way too much caution. That the sub was a Moroccan midget barely up to Coca Cola Cup standards was the cherry on top.

Phew…glad I got that out. It’s this stubbornness that may well kill any chance of a title challenge. It seems the same at Arsenal where Wenger steadfastly refused to replace Mathieu Flamini and endures William Gallas’ unique approach to defending. At Chelsea too, Felipe Scolari seems beholden to a system which works brilliantly away but which is severely stunted at home when they play a side sitting back.

On the other side of the world, it’s pretty easy to assume that, despite Saturday’s draw at Spurs, Ferguson will feel that he can take advantage of the various stubborn antics of Benitez, Wenger and Scolari. He has his striker quandary to sort out still, and various suspensions may hurt him in the league, and indeed Champions League. However, as much as I hate saying this, if we are going to have a full five months of squeaky bum time, you’d have to believe the man who brought us the phrase is best equipped to deal with it. The oul' bastard.

Later, JJ

PS: Yes, I ignored Villa on purpose.


Mark said...

never thought i'd say this, but come on Villa!
Re title predictions, I still think United might sneak it, this club world championship won't help, but at the rate chelsea and pool are dropping points, and United's run-in experience, looks like it could give them the edge.
Then again, psychologically it is hard to win 3 in a row. This is liverpool's best chance since I can't remember, like 1992 or something :)

Jumpthefence said...

hey lads,
As I've said over on jumpthefencebaby I have to agree that Liverpool are blowing their best chance of making a go at this. Id make United favourites cos they've played so many of their toughest games and they still haven't hit full tilt.
Im planning a blog during the week on Robbie Keane's problems so tune in...

JJ said...

Well the thing with Pool at the moment, which I think bizarrely a lot of people seem to be understating, is that once Torres comes back they are a different side.

If you were to have said to Pool fans in August that the team would be top of the league in mid December with Torres playing less than a third of the games - including those against chelsea and united - I certainly wouldn't have believed it. If they beat Arsenal on Sunday, which i think they will, then that would be another great win with Torres due back to wreak havoc in the new year. United are a different side without ronaldo after all, they’re even a different side when he’s having an off day (see Saturday for proof).

Going on the past few seasons' stats as well, Pool generally have a better second half of the season than United or Chelsea. Though then again, that's usually because the pressure is off as they’re chasing fourth rather than first. In truth, I still don't think they'll win the league - as the blog suggests I think United will sneak it and my Torres theory will only prove correct if he actually comes back for a good portion of the season - but all in all Pool fans can't be too picky with their lot thus far. I was raging with Rafa on Saturday of course, but fuck it, the table says they're top and he'll point to that in his defence and it's a pretty good one.

I leave the 'Keane Issue' to you JTF, I'm too bewildered by it to write anything sensible on the matter. Lawro hasn't helped this morning either - - can't wait to hear Gerrard's meek denial.

Jumpthefence said...

I have given my own thoughts on the Keane issue over on the blog lads. No doubt there'll be far different opinions out there, but sure that's what it's all about. Pop in to give your views if ya can.

Anonymous said...

Arsenal will beat Liverpool on Sunday.