Well, we got the win against Newcastle. See Logan’s reports on the game. Lady luck paid her debts and put a charm on Hugo’s goal. 4-0. Just what we needed going into the FA Cup weekend break. It’s a crazy game. There is talk of Alain Depardieu getting the sack if Newcastle don’t win their next match and yet only a month or so ago Newcastle were flying high. Then they sold his best player out from under him in January just like they did with Andy Carroll a few years ago and now blame him for them sinking like a stone.
Good news for us is that injured players are returning and playing well. Notably Jan Vertonghen and Younes Kaboul. Andros Townsend easing back in too. By the end the Newcastle players had given up and we were literally queuing up to score.FA Cup weekend:
Toure let off by the FA but Bellamy charged. Double standards on the face of it. Apparently it’s OK to deliberately kick someone in the back when they are on the floor and the ball is already gone but not to raise your arm and give them a slap/elbow from behind. In Toure’s case they said the decision of the tribunal was not unanimous. That stinks. We all saw it and the one ex-ref who made it not unanimous appears to be the only person who came to that conclusion. The media, along with Jose Mourinho have gone ballistic. It’s a good job the refs are beyond influence or reproach; otherwise one might suspect something underhand was going on.
In a Sky interview Arsene twice referred to their thrashing as an accident. It certainly looked like a car crash from where I was sitting. Over the past 10 years he has built and maintained a squad that has played attractive football and are the experts at going on a good run and nearly winning something after the occasional thrashing. It will be interesting to see if they repeat the pattern yet again.
Oh dear, now it’s really kicked off. Arsene Wenger says that the reason why Mourinho plays down Chelsea’s chance of winning the Premiership is because he is afraid of failure. Mourinho responds to say that Wenger should know because Wenger is a specialist at failure. He follows through with if he had won nothing in 8 years he would be so ashamed he would not want a new contract and would leave the country.
Next day he leads Chelsea out at Man City to turn in a lacklustre performance and get knocked out of the FA Cup 2-0. In complete contrast to their recent victory over them in the League. Over to you Arsene…
Sunday 16 February
…and what do you know? With his back to the wall, Wenger comes up with the goods with a 2-1 victory over Liverpool in one of the few classic FA Cup ties of the weekend. So many of the other ties were an insult to the FA Cup. Lacklustre performances, half empty stadiums. Scheduling the round a few days before Champions League games and broadcasting so many live appears to be calculated to devalue the FA Cup. Sunderland’s “Stadium of Light” was a good example. So much for the old Roker roar. More like the Light Whisper.Here is a pic of the highlight of Southampton’s efforts against Sunderland. After David Beckham announced his purchase of a Florida football franchise and fill it with Galacticos, Giles Coren felt moved to put a piece in the Times saying he would like to start a team which goes back to basics. “Giley Rovers”. He says the ground will not be called a stadium because we are not ancient Romans. It will have terraces for standing and watching because that’s good for you. Players will be drawn from a couple of miles around the ground. They will walk to and from the ground or go by bus. He says it will discourage the lazy fat b*stards who endlessly complain that failure to accommodate their voluminous public arses in normal public seating represents some sort of prejudice.
“There will be no gobbing. If players are thirsty they can have a drink. If they have a cold they will be allowed to stay home until they are better. But they will not just be allowed to spit everywhere and make it seem like a totally normal thing to do in public so that hardly a male person in Britain between the ages of 10 and 50 seems able to walk down a street without hawking up and flobbing. Women don’t do it. Why do men? Because of football. There will be no tattoos. Any players wanting to harm themselves in such a desperate post-traumatic way will be offered psychoanalysis”.
There is much more of the same ilk in his column from Saturday 8 February. Many a true word spoken in jest.
Monday 17 February
Hope you remembered to get the woman in your life something for Valentine’s Day. I let my wife have control of the TV remote. Here comes another Thursday night in the Europa League. Added spice comes from the fact that Juande Ramos; one of our erstwhile 5-minute wonder managers, is now manager of FC Dnipro, another team that looks like a typing error. He has already been sounding off saying that Tottenham are cheepskates. He says he asked to buy Samuel Eto’o and David Silva and he got given Pav and David Bent instead. Hmm…I am sure we will give him a warm welcome back in a few weeks’ time..