Saturday, November 01, 2008

White heart pain

Ouch. That's gotta hurt. It does. Now I know how gooners felt after the 4-4 draw last week. Fairplay 'Arry and all that but we should have had this in the bag long before the end of the match. We hit the woodwork three times but didn't get the vital second goal. We aren't great at finishing teams off this season. By not establishing a 2 or 3 goals cushion, we give the opposition a chance to make a comeback. That was what happened here. I feel that if we had El Nino fit, he would have put at least one or two of the chances away. We were always going to suffer a poor result on the back of our best player being out. As it happened, we've managed to go on a fantastic run without him for most of the season so far.

Let's take stock. We're still joint top of the league, having beaten our two main rivals without our best player. That's more than almost every red would have hoped for at the start of the season. We've lost one game, not the league. Our next four games are West Brom, Bolton, Fulham and West Ham. Novembers have been black for us in the past but I'm hoping that we can move beyond that this year and get maximum points from those games to remain joint top, or better if Chelsea slip up.

Redknapp admits that they got lucky after being under the cosh for so long. I can't argue with him but it's a lot easier to be magnanimous after winning.

On the plus side, Torres should be back soon and we have a handy run of games coming up. Dossena had a good match and is slowly improving his form, although he should have done much better for the second goal. He has underwhelmed us so far but I hope he'll kick on to show us his Udinese and Italian international form in time. It was good to see Robbie and Dirk link up well for Dirks goal. He's scoring a lot more regularly this year which is great. Robbie still looks a little goal shy and seems reluctant to take on a shot at times. I know he was carrying a knock and the lone striker role doesn't suit him that much. Fernando back should help him by creating more space for him to exploit.

Let's see how the team can turn themselves around after the first defeat of the season, starting with Atleti on Tue. If we can beat them, which we should be able to, we'll be safe for the second round and almost guaranteed to top the group. Hopefully we'll see EL Nino get a few mins.

Oliver Kay in the TImes has a piece loking back at the team Rafa had on his first premiership game in charge against Spurs, over four years ago. The Guardian got five legends of yesteryear together to compare their teams to Rafa's.

Rafa wants to talk to Hicks and Gillett about a new contract. Don't blame him. Get it sorted you pair of pricks.


JJ said...

Time to take stock indeed. Awful result considering how poor the spurs keeper is and how many chances pool had to wrap it up.

Looking at the bigger picture it's better to beat chelsea and lose to spurs than the other way round while the next six games in the league are all very 'winnable' as sky pundits say all too often.

The points haul since torres has been injured is excellent too, especially when compared to United's record at the start of the season minus ronaldo.

Mal said...

I was fairly down after the match on Saturday but I'm over it now. As you say, better to lose to spurs and beat chelsea. If we get a result tonight, the CL can go on the back burner and we can concentrate on putting a good run together against mediocre opposition in the league.