The world is watching. Huge weekend for…
1. Roy Hodgson
Two weeks ago it was Woy. Last week it was Gerrard. Now it is back to Roy again.
Quite simply this is huge. If Liverpool lose to Blackpool on Sunday, Hodgson might well be sacked. If they draw, public opinion would swarm against him.
Simply put, this is Liverpool’s worst start in fifty years. As a colleague tells me, this is also the worst they have being playing in twenty years. Devoid of confidence, cutting edge, speed and results.
I can some it up in one question. Who have been Liverpool’s top three players this season? It’s a horrible thing to think about.
2. Laurent Koscielny and Sebastien Squillaci
For around four years now, Didier Drogba has had the hoodoo over Arsenal. He has twelve goals in twelve games, and many Arsenal defenders have been troubled by his effect.
In addition to this, games against Chelsea and Manchester United will show Arsenal fans exactly what they can expect this season, after little recent success.
Even with a home win last Saturday this was huge. With the surprise defeat to West Brom, it is crucial beyond belief.
Arsenal have two new central defenders to take on the Drogba test. If they do not pass this stern exam, where does it leave Arsenal’s title tilt?
3. Jose Mourinho
He is the Special One. They are the Special Club. It should be a match made in heaven. This should be the return of Real to the glory years.
But it hasn’t been all plain sailing. The draw away at Levante last week was a result that set alarm bells ringing. The problem Mourinho has is that he wants to win games, whereas the Galactico crowd want to win with style. They want verve, they want pomp, they want guapa.
Real face Deportivo at the Bernabeu this weekend. Anything less than a win by two or more goals, and the criticisms will continue, and Mourinho is not the sort of man to hang around when that happens.
4. Milan Mandaric
About one minute before writing this, it was a big weekend for Paulo Sousa. Not anymore, he will be watching the Ryder Cup like the rest of us. But Milan Mandaric may be at a crossroads. His side were successful last season under Nigel Pearson, but he chose to leave for Hull City. Sousa was seen as an attractive option, but Leicester currently sit bottom of the Championship.
Mandaric has been rumoured to sell to a Thai consortium. He is about to choose his sixth permanent manager in three years. Is this his last chance to get it right at Leicester?
5. Manchester United’s away form
I have struggled in vain to find out, but it is a while since Manchester United went four Premier League away games without a win.
After draws at Fulham, Everton and Bolton, Fergie knows that a win is needed. Next up is a Sunderland side that has taken four points off Arsenal and Manchester City in recent weeks.
If United are one goal up with ten minutes remaining, you expect the squeaky-bum-time back.