Saturday, April 05, 2008

Round two: deja vu

What odds on Tuesday night being another 1-1 to complete the hat trick of score draw score lines? This one started slowly. We played well enough in the first half and created some good chances. Crouch made a few for himself and others before putting away from outside the area, just before half time. Even if he does leave this summer, he's made a contribution when he has come in this year. We had to soak up some pressure in the second half but Bendtner was able to rise above the defence and head home from a free just before the hour mark. Pennant had stupidly given away a needless free and was subbed soon after. I think that he's been fairly poor this year and I wouldn't be surprised or sad to see him leave in the summer. Finnan came back in defence and did well as did Arbeloa on the other side.

Rafa's got to be the happier manager after that. He made 8 changes beforehand, with only Pepe, Carra and Skrtel surviving the cull and we still managed to get a draw away from home. Wenger made less changes so won't have as fresh a team on Tuesday night. Some of the players, like Fabregas looked tired both midweek and in this match. This should help us on Tue, especially were it to go to extra time. Wenger didn't look happy at all on the sidelines.At one point, it looked like he was so frustrated that his head might explode. I hope it's the same situation at Anfield.

Rafa and I agree that it was an impressive debut from the boy Plessis. The Guardian match report gave him the mana of the match award. Maybe Plessis is why Rafa was willing to let Momo leave at Christmas.

Souness was full of praise for Crouch after the match. Eamonn Dunphy interviewed Souness on his RTE Radio 1 programme last week. I have more time for him after hearing it.

In our defensive foursome, he's absolutely awesome. Sami signed a new deal this week which is good news. I think that his displays this season have merited his one year extension. At times he was our best defender despite his advancing years. I hope that he joins the coaching staff when he hangs up his boots. He has a lot of knowledge that he could pass onto the kids. Red legend.

David Fairclough was on Today FM radio here in Ireland confirming what I'd heard before about the Mascherano deal. He said that the £17m transfer fee quoted is a red herring as deal includes wages over the duration of the contract. This tallies with info I've read on forums. Good news.

This report says that Arsenal and us are battling it out again but the target this time is Ricardo Quaresma of Porto. He may be available to £5m if they are convicted of match fixing. Could be what we need for the right sided attacking role.

Various papers are saying that we have a deal agreed to buy Rafinha from Shalke for £6m. I think that this has a good chance of going through. He looked good form what little I saw of the barca champions league match last week.

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