It’s a huge weekend for…Wenger, Newcastle, Di Matteo and cliché fans
From this column last week:
But there is an air of resignation around Arsenal fans at the moment, as they begin to be thankful for past times provided under the tenure of le Prof, rather than any optimism regarding the future. Arsenal may well beat Fulham, but if they don’t, they could find themselves tenth in the league, without guarantee of Champions League group progress. Would Wenger then deserve the knives to be truly out?
Well they didn’t beat Fulham. They conceded three goals. And they sit eighth.
A North London derby victory is a great way to get fans back on side. A North London derby defeat most certainly is not.
Roberto Di Matteo
Whilst Chelsea came flying out of the traps at the start of the season, there is a sense that the brakes have been but on such a run. The form of the three attacking midfielders behind Fernando Torres has been mightily impressive, but Chelsea have taken just two points from their last three league games. They now sit three points behind United despite the feeling that they have outperformed their Northern rivals.
Now a trip to the surprise package of the season and the former home of the manager. Should Chelsea lose to West Brom, the doubters will be out in force, and Chelsea would be just one point ahead of the Baggies. A good start is all very well, but November is frighteningly early to fall off the pace.
It isn’t that Newcastle have been particularly poor so far this season, but it just all feels a little bit like after the Lord Mayor’s show. The Europa League has taken its toll on fatigue, and Newcastle find themselves in 10th place, as far off last season’s fifth position as they are 17th.
Newcastle have also suffered with absentees, a rarity last season. Physioroom.com lists the clubs current injuries as Gutierrez, Cisse, Cabaye, Ba, Ameobi, Perch, Gosling, Vuckic and Ryan Taylor. Some of those individuals may be back this weekend, but with captain Coloccini suspended, the squad is running thin. A home game against Swansea will be filed down as must win in the eyes of the adoring locals, but so would West Ham have been.
QPR v Southampton this weekend. Can you have a relegation six-pointer in November?
NB Connoisseurs will notice the lack of Mark Hughes this week, despite QPR losing again. Like Steve Kean last week, there is only so much I can say before I run out. If he loses to Southampton, he will go….won’t he?