Alan’s 2013-14 Season Diary no. 29
Tuesday 2 December
Christian Benteke – Is he playing to get out of Villa?
Last season he scored for fun and then sought a transfer with Spurs amongst the front runners. This season he isn’t cutting the mustard. That means he either is a one season wonder or he is deliberately being a liability so that Villa will let him go in January and perhaps at less than he is really worth. Either way, I would not buy him now. Either he is not good enough after all or he is not trustworthy. The last thing we need is another mercenary who will do the same to us when he thinks he has a chance of a move to a European giant. We need players of good character. There don’t seem to be many about, what with agents driving the agenda for them all the time.
Wednesday 4 December
Tonight it’s Fulham vs. Spurs amongst a full Premier League programme. As expected Martin Jol got the boot at the weekend and they have already installed Rene Meulenstein as their new coach. Let’s hope we don’t suffer from the new manager bounce. They say Dimitar Berbatov will be back in the squad after recovering from illness, despite his agent stirring for a move in the papers.
Checking scores on a regular basis on BBC Sports app on i-pod. Painful. Nearly as bad as my taboo of listening to it on the radio. Still 0-0 at half time. Check again at about 9.25pm. We are 1-0 down again to Fulham. Decide not to look at the app again out of pure desperate superstition. Depression sets in. All the good work of Sunday undone. If we don’t win this one the sh*t will really hit the fan.
Turn on Sky Sports News and the wife spots the table with us moved up to 6th just before they go to adverts that seem to go on forever – and then it finally scrolls through. Yes! We came back with goals from Vlad Chiriches and Lewis Holtby. Pure relief.
Now I can sit back and enjoy Match of the Day. 24 points keep us within spitting distance.
Looking at Sunderland’s spirited performance against Chelsea, it’s going to be another toughie on Saturday afternoon. Our season could still go either way. Man United’s chance of the Premiership has well and truly gone after their loss at home to Everton. You get the feeling that Arsene Wenger is taking the mick now, showing he can even win playing prodigal son Bendtner up front for 90 minutes. Gary Lineker said, “You know it’s a very special Match of the Day when Nicholas Bendtner scores, don’t you?”
Talking of prodigal sons – much more of this and Robin van Persie might start wondering whether Arsene would consider having him back too, as the team he joined to win trophies languish in ninth, 12 points behind Arsenal. Even Fabregas and Nasri might be wondering what might have been.Seen the highlights now. My God, that was close. Two great goals by Chiriches and Holtby. Berbatov was class for Fulham. A couple more brilliant saves from Hugo Lloris. AVB looked like a man who had just escaped a firing squad.
This night will go down in Premiership history. 32 goals in 9 games; 4 of them from Luis Suarez in a magical performance from Liverpool against Norwich. His third reminded me of Gazza’s against Scotland in Euro ’96. That just outshone a mesmerising performance from Hazard for Chelsea in a 4 – 3 victory at Sunderland.
Gary Lineker does irony so well. “David Moyes finally gets to see Everton win at Old Trafford”. No sniggering at the back, please. Here are some pics of Rooney’s footwork from the game. Expect to see more of this in Brazil if things don’t go well. Don’t be surprised if FIFA uses them in the ref’s World Cup training video. I don’t think they’ll turn a blind eye like we do here. The draw is on Friday.