Saturday, December 15, 2007

Rafa's goose is cooked?

I wasn't in a very festive mood on Sunday after the match. Again it was a case of us playing quite well and having most of the possession. But Utd got the first goal and their defense did really well in the second half. They did have to clear off the line and Tores and Babel put the ball narrowly wide but overall, they coped with us quite well. While it was an exciting game, it wasn't amazing football and both teams made a lot of unforced errors.

The press seem to think that our title challenge is now over. I wouldn't concede defeat this early but it's not looking good. Taking two points from our three matches at home against the other contenders isn't good enough. I don't see us getting too many points in the reverse fixtures, with the possible exception of Chelsea at the bridge. While it's possible that we could go on a fantastic run for the rest of the season, I would be surprised if both Arsenal and Utd will drop sufficient points while we don't drop any more. I can see us closing the gap but not overtaking both teams. Having Agger and Alonso soon back will be a great boost as we've missed them all season.

Our thoughts now turn to Chelsea away in the cup tomorrow. Given that both teams suffered a defeat on Sunday, they'll want to win this but it is the Carling cup which is bottom of the priorities. I expect that it will be a case of half and half between first teamers and reserves. I can't say that I'm too excited either way. I'll be happy enough if we win but it's no disaster to lose this one.

It now looks like we will be getting a new stadium, but not the one that was unveiled during the summer. I think that this is quite an embarrassing climbdown. If we still get a 70000 stadium at a cheaper price then it won't be too bad but I reckon it's going to be an identikit bowl rather than the unique design that we were shown only a few months back. On the upside, Rafa had a meeting with the board on Sunday evening and it went well by all accounts. I know expect him to get a few quid for a defender in Jan.

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