The world is watching. A huge weeked for…
The MO’N era, Liverpool’s third time lucky and the basement boys
A strange season thus far for Kenny Dalglish’s men. Two wins against Chelsea, a point against Manchester City and the same against Manchester United. Defeats against Stoke and Fulham, and home draws against Norwich and Swansea.
One alarming stat for Liverpool fans: In the club’s first seven home games last season (under Roy Hodgson), 14 points were collected. Dalglish has led the club to 11 points in seven home games this season.
Having failed to beat two of the three promoted clubs at Anfield, whereas Manchester City have won the exact two games by an aggregate of 9 goals to 1. Liverpool have their third opportunity on Saturday. One point will feel like none at all. Again.
The tabloid media had their second ‘Fat Frank Dropped’ frenzy this midweek when the England midfielder was dropped for Chelsea’s must win game against Valencia. Afterwards, AVB issued a Suarez-style finger to the media who he felt had been overly critical, but it is Lampard that must be worried.
With Chelsea playing with a verve missing so often this season, does AVB consider Ramires and Meireles to be a mobile and cohesive midfield unit? The Portuguese manager’s selection policy for Monday’s game against Man City may tell us whether Lampard’s relegation was merely a temporary measure.
New Manager Syndrome is a strange concept, focussing on the fact that players who were supposedly giving their all previously suddenly find an extra gear. Sunderland fans will be hoping that the arrival of MO’N will ignite a degree of long lost confidence in their heroes.
A home game against Blackburn provides the Northern Irishman with an ideal opportunity to start positively. Essentially, there is no easier game in the Premier League. However, the problem with such a fixture is that should Blackburn take something from the Stadium of Light (and the form of Yakubu suggests that they could), there will some worry-faced Mackems on Sunday afternoon.
No-one can dispute the start Newcastle have made, and they fully deserve their lofty placing of sixth in the Premier League. The only qualifier, however, is that for this run the club were bale to field a solid side.
Unfortunately, things have changed. Cheik Tiote has not played for a month, Marveaux is out for the foreseeable future, captain Coloccini is out until early January and this week it was revealed that Steven Taylor would be ruled out for the rest of the season and Danny Guthrie out for six weeks. Add to this Tiote and Ba departing for the African Cup of Nations in January, and a squad already light on numbers looks painfully thin.
James Perch and Danny Simpson may be Newcastle’s centre back pairing on Saturday, unless Mike Williamson can return to fitness. That isn’t too pretty a prospect.
When your side were one of the favourites for promotion and you have engineered a run of form of no points from your last 21 available, you know you are in trouble. When none of the seven teams you have lost to consecutively currently sit in the top ten of the table, a worry becomes a crisis.
Barnsley away this weekend, a side that have lost just once at home since August and won their last four Championship games. Could Mr Bruce be imminently taking over at Ipswich?
Seven points achieved from their last 36 on offer, overseeing a slide from a position one point off top of the league in September to five points off the bottom three.
Given that the same occurred last season, Clough Jr needs to start winning games, or the Derby board may finally run out of patience.
Coyle and Martinez
Steve Kean has evidently and understandably grabbed the headlines in terms of managers under pressure (especially with Steve Bruce’s removal), and even a home victory last Saturday was followed by protests against the manager.
By definition, should the managers of the only teams below Blackburn not be receiving more heat? They have won three of their combined last 24 games, and one of those was when the two strugglers met at the DW. Both sides face out of form West Midlands sides this weekend. Defeats in either could (or at least should) be curtains.