The world is watching. A huge weekend for…
Whilst success in the Carling Cup provided KK with a degree of respite after last week’s shambles at the Reebok Stadium, will (or perhaps more pertinently should) Liverpool fans be happy with the poorest domestic trophy and a top four finish?
One suspects so, but with Liverpool six points of the Promised Land of a Champions League finish (and nineteen points off top, incidentally), will Kenny need to also win the FA Cup in order to appease the critics? If that is the case, then a game against Manchester United is probably exactly what Kenny didn’t want. Trivia fans will note that an FA Cup fixture against Untied is exactly where Kenny’s reign started, just over a year ago.
Decency in football
It was the FA Cup draw that the FA never wanted. After the disgraceful shenanigans this season that have brought the race debate to the forefront of English football, Liverpool v Manchester United and QPR v Chelsea was the nightmare scenario.
But wouldn’t it be nice if we could all just get along? Wouldn’t it be nice if the players in both games could treat each other with the respect that they all deserve, and the Sunday papers were full of reports expressing their surprise at the geniality displayed and the wonderful football played?
You may say that I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one.
Gossip column football
Bookies are taking bets and have set odds on whether John Terry and Anton Ferdinand shake hands tomorrow lunchtime.
Is this what it has come to? Never mind Moore, Wright, Lofthouse and Matthews turning in their graves, making football the subject of celebrity gossip columns makes me feel like vomiting.
A victim of his own success? Many thought that this would be another season of progression for Boro, without necessarily challenging for promotion. However, the club started off impressively and on New Year’s Eve sat second in the league.
2012 has not started so well, and Middlesbrough have lost all three games by an aggregate of eight goals to one. Such is the tight nature of the Championship that Boro are now as many points off second as they are off 12th.
The FA Cup should provide some respite, but a game away against a local rival who are in great form under a new manager? One suspects that Mowbray will be hoping that MO’N chooses to rest a few.
And how. If Wenger was under pressure during Arsenal’s dreadful run at the start of the season it is now multiplied as he has again allowed his side to fall back into the doldrums.
Arsenal have now lost three Premier League games in a row (two of them to Swansea and Fulham). They have a squad ravaged by injury, and yet their manager seemingly refuses to invest in a much-needed full back. Hell, even Wayne Bridge would be an acceptable short-term fix, although Leighton Baines would certainly quash many naysayers.
This week has seen rumours of a fall-out with star striker Robin Van Persie, although these suggestions have been negated by both parties. One thing is for certain; if Arsenal go out of the FA Cup this weekend then the crisis becomes more and more terminal.
Wenger will probably be hoping that AOC’s legs hold out this weekend.
Let’s face it, even Newcastle would struggle to make a disaster out of this season, but there is a slight tinge of disappointment recently. The Toon Army have won just one of their last six away games, and looked decidedly shaky in the second half at Craven Cottage last week.
The FA Cup send them to the Amex Stadium in Brighton, where the home side have beaten Southampton and Bristol City without conceding this year. Without Ba, Tiote and the recently purchased Cisse, Newcastle are understandably missing goals and a steely determination in midfield.
Newcastle lost to Stevenage in last year’s competition. Prices of 3.75 on another upset look tempting.