With the imminent holiday programme it’s time to wheel out and dust down the old hobby horse of the congested fixture programme. Today Harry Redknapp joined Benitez in criticising its intensity. I’m slightly surprised that Redkanpp should join this bandwagon now because as player and manager he’s been bought up on this whereas foreign mangers such as Benitez and Wenger haven’t. I also find it rather ironic that Benitez should complain in this way when he has constantly chopped, changed and rotated his squad over longer periods between games. If ever there was a time for Benitez to put this into practice it is over the next week! However, I can see why managers and players would want more time to prepare and recover before the next game but sorry, I’m a fan, and like it and want to keep it. Indeed often it’s the thought that’s at least there’s football on that has keep me going through the ordeal that is sometimes Christmas!
To our games. A few blogs back I said the games against Fulham, Charlton and Watford games were ones were we needed to get maximum points. Well so far so good two wins out of two and seven goals scored and none conceded to boot and, thanks to other results going our way we are now in third place. Whether we can keep that position over the Christmas period is another question.
Besides Watford tomorrow over the Christmas and New Year period we are scheduled to play Blackburn away on, appropriately, Boxing Day, a seemingly rejuvenated Spurs away on 30th and always awkward and pesky Bolton at Anfield on New Years Day. All three are potentially difficult ties. Compare this to say the Arsenal (one place and one point below us) programme – Watford, Sheffield United and Charlton and you’ll see what I mean when I express doubts about us hanging on to third place. This is a test for us. We’ve played well in the Premiership over the last month but it’s been against, no disrespect, so called inferior opposition who nine times out of ten you would expect us to beat anyway. Hopefully the confidence we have gained from these good victories will transfer itself to the more testing games over the holiday period?
On to tomorrows game. It’s at home and it’s Watford. We’re unbeaten at home and they haven’t won away. We are top of the current form table, Watford are bottom and have only won one game all season. It should be a turkey shoot but I bet it won’t be!
Prediction hard fought 2-1 win to us.