The only thing that could be said to Man City’s credit after they were played off the park by a still mighty Boro is that they have got one of the nicest stadiums about. A great view from everywhere, easy to get in and out, decent pies and a lovely bit of eye catching architecture. But what about the football?
Stuart Pearce’s disgusted post match reaction said it all – there were no “tremendous shows of character” or not faulting the lads a la McClaren for Pearce, the City players just didn’t earn their wages.
A scrappy first half on the slippy Eastlands pitch Pkv didn’t produce a great deal of excitement until the 42nd minute when teenager Lee Cattermole managed to get on the end of a Stewart Downing cross to pop in hopefully his first of many Premiership goals. Super Lee Cattermole! was the cry well into the rest of the match.
Perhaps egged on by the goal and the noise from the Boro end (got any songs City?) the second half picked up, for Boro at least, with (I never thought I’d say this) David James keeping them vaguely in the game. Boro sprayed the city keeper’s goal with shots, but butterfingers managed to deny Morrison, Parnaby and Rochemback time after time. The goal count could’ve been much higher if it wasn’t for James and some weak finishing from the Boro frontline – weak shots and guffs a plenty let down a bit of fine attacking play.
So, the Boro continue to creep away from the relegation zone and slowly up the table as City seem to do the opposite. Pearce isn’t happy, and who would be? He’ll be the first for the chop if it continues.
Now it’s just 7 more wins on the trot needed for Boro, aswell as a nil-nil draw for every other match and maybe an extra loss for Tottenham, for us to finish in Champions League qualifying 4th and turn the season round nicely. Now for victory in the UEFA cup and onward with the FA. Phew, what a season!
Cesc, Drogs and Rock and Roll
Working on a Sunday is comparable to sleeping with the wife, it occurs rarely and it’s never enjoyable. The gaffer is aware of my reticence, whenever circumstances demand that I appear on the Sabbath he throws me double time and a day in lieu, I’m reasonably happy with that, but Louise has just handed her notice in. As a result, I’ll be spending this Sunday watching three live Premiership matches.
Chelsea v West Ham kicks off the action at midday and an early shock could be on the cards. Man United are breathing down the champion’s necks and Chelsea are feeling the pressure; they’re currently wobbling like a jelly on a drunken Sumo wrestler.
There’s a definite cloud over the Bridge, after being booed by his own supporters, a depressed Didier Drogba is reportedly considering a move away from the club. Imagine that, Drogba, down. There’s a real case for backing the Hammers at 8/1 against a choking Chelsea, but a lay of the Champions at around the 3/10 mark on the exchanges is a more practical option. It’s practically in already.
Super Sunday continues when Liverpool host Bolton, and this one could be tasty. If my memory serves me correctly, Stevie Gerrard used Kevin Nolan’s back as a trampoline earlier in the season; you would think he could afford his own. A sending off in the match is available at 10/3, that’s definitely worth a small interest.
Robbie Fowler has had a good week, after overtaking Kenny Dalglish in Liverpool’s all-time goal scorer list; Rafa has confirmed that a couple more goals could earn him a new contract at the club. The scally legend has a lot to play for, and like a dyslexic hippy; i’m a big believer in ‘Fowler power’. The Pool should be backed at 1/2 to take the three points; Robbie should be backed at 11/10 to get on the scoresheet.
After a couple of tasty starters, the live action reaches a crescendo when Arsenal travel to Old Trafford. This fixture has finished goalless on the last two meetings, but that’s about to change. Arsenal are currently in a purple patch, and United’s patch is arguably even purpler, it’s a Fergie’s nose patch. There will be goals in this one, and United want it that little bit more. They’re good looking bets at even money.
Van Nistelrooy started on the bench last week, came on, went to ground easily, and then banged in his 150th goal for the club, it was a typical Van the man performance. Nistelrooy and Arsenal have a little history, he’s a 9/2 shot to score the last goal against his old mates. The British press have had Cesc on their brain all week, but United have a half decent youngster of their own, his name’s Rooney, and he can play ball. Wayne likes the big occasion, he’s a 6/4 shot to score at any time.
Martin Jol’s decision to continuously play Mido ahead of Jermain Defoe leaves me perplexed. As I often reassure the wife, there’s nothing wrong with having two little ones up front. Spurs play hosts to a Man City team who still have their manager’s savage criticism ringing through their ears, an improved performance from City is an absolute certainty; 7/2 screams value.
The Boro v Newcastle match reminds me of the time I holidayed in the Orient, there’s every chance it might end up in a tie. The last three meets between these two have finished all square, a trend that looks set to continue. 11/5 is on offer, let’s rock and roll.