There was a game played on Saturday morning that was supposed to define the footballing power in Manchester. Our noisy neighbours were coming and with them they were bringing the hopes of the entire town of Stockport. Despite the fact that Manicini had played his fabled 9-0-1 formation at Wastelands in the corresponding fixture, there was still a belief from many that the bitter blues would come and put a spoke in the wheel of the Premier League leaders.
I watched the game with my 8-month-old son, who is already on a tactically different level to Mancini, and despite what that fat old duffer Mike Summerbee might have said after the game we both enjoyed a pretty much worry free afternoon. There was a brief moment of concern when that multi-million pound hitman Edin Dezko skewed a shot that was going nearer to the Gwladys road end than the goal, only for David (Silva) Mitchell to inadvertently deflect it in. I still believed that we would win even when the mercenaries appeared to be showing the early signs of a possible tendency to have an inclination to maybe attack, but I thought it would need the introduction of Chicharito or even that nice little Michael Owen. By now baby was asleep, probably bored of the awful football being served up by Citeh, and I was stood up in the lounge (I am a very animated and hyper-tense viewer). I will admit that when Sky showed that nice Michael Owen warming up I was encouraging Sir Alex to get the veteran goal getter on the pitch, especially as Berbatov played a pass into Rooney which spun off his shin. Less than 15 seconds later I was stood open mouthed and wide eyed in absolute disbelief as the previously leaden footed Rooney had just scored the best goal I have seen since his volley against Newcastle. I had to pause the game and call my other two boys and even my cats in to come and watch the replays. The monumental finish was great, but for me the best part was the bench celebrating as if they had just won the bingo. Immense. I only have one more comment on this game – if anyone who has since called the goal “a shinner” or “lucky” or “over rated” then I am afraid you are either blind or blind.
So, three more points in the bank and I waited for those world-beaters Wolves to hand Arsenal a lesson with a disciplined and hard working performance. Except they didn’t. They instead chose to play like my old Sunday league team, chasing shadows and leaving huge gaps that even Theo Walcott couldn’t fail to exploit. Dobbin Van Horsie got the goals meaning that the media get to talk up his vital importance to the Arsenal challenge, some of them even throwing about “The Phrase”… World Class. What a load of old shit. In my opinion there are very few world class players around, if there was loads of them then the phrase would have to be altered and maybe a new better “class” created for the few unique players that take your breath away. Too often players are called “legends” nowadays anyway; when the likes of Wilshere are being tagged with it then it makes a mockery of players like Best, Law and Charlton. How can a young player who has made less than 50 first team appearances be a legend of any kind? Dobbin though has been perpetually overrated by the media as the man who can make a difference for the Gunners. That is of course when he is not on the treatment table, suffering from a ruptured eyebrow or a badly twisted bootlace. Dobbin is more of a threat to medical insurance companies than he is to the engravers of the Premier League trophy.
Poor old Mrs Dalglish has seen a reversal of fortunes over the weekend. After the elderly lady spent millions of pounds on a striker more likely to eat the goal netting than put the ball in it and a striker that will quite possibly cost more in bail money than he has done in transfer fees, it seemed that Liverpool’s stock was rising. They had picked up a few points and of course the poor scousers were getting excited about the top four, but they had reckoned without the force of Wigan, and even though Gnashers Suarez showed some fleeting signs of promise they stumbled to a 1-1 draw.
And what of their neighbours on Merseyshite? The poor old Evertonians are on a downward spiral and could well be sucked into the relegation battle as the season presses on. It would be hard to imagine West Brom and West Ham surviving after their 3-3 draw, notable for the fact that a very big bee stung poor Carlton Cole on the lip. The defending was so poor it was as if Wenger had coached both teams. Average Grant has now completely given up the last semblance of management and this week’s guest motivational speaker in the Hammers changing room was Scott Parker. That must have been some dynamic talk. It was so good that the man it empowered most was Demba Ba; clearly he couldn’t understand a word of it and decided to do his own thing instead.
The final act of the weekend (albeit on a Monday) was Chelsea travelling to the Cottage. Poor old Ancelotti is still trying to fit Torres in, although I understand Torres has had no trouble fitting Cashley Hole in, and so he is messing around with his system just to include the out of form striker. The love struck young lady looked out of sorts and seems to have lost his touch completely resulting in Ancelotti pulling him off in the second half, an act that may seem slightly outside Carlo’s remit, but if it helps him feel like part of the team then a hand job well done. Cech saved a last minute penalty that keeps their title hopes still marginally alive and the goalkeeper was so emotional he went to his post-game interview with his cycling helmet still on, or perhaps he was about to jump on his BMX and get out of the Cottage before Ancelotti tried pulling him off too.