The Gareth Barry situation took another turn over this weekend with the news that Rafa offered Jermaine Pennant, John Arne Riise or Scott Carson as part of the deal.
Will this go through? Who knows. I guess ultimately the decision will lie with Gareth Barry, even though he has two years left on his contract? What it does show, if reports of Rafa’s offer are true, is who in the squad has been earmarked for the exit door this summer. None of them are great surprises.
Scott Carson would walk into most premiership teams. However, we have Jose Reina and there is no way, that Carson will be content to warm the bench after long stints in the Charlton (last season) and Villa first teams.
John Arne Riise? He’s had a wretched season and perhaps it is time to move if only to give him a fresh challenge and a change? Perhaps the most surprising of the four is Jermaine Pennant. He has been unlucky with injury this season but when fit I believe he can still do a job for us. However, now that Rafa seems to have hit upon a settled combination that involves Dirk Kuyt playing in Pennant’s position perhaps he feels able to off load him especially as he has been linked with other wide men?
Besides the Villa thing there are also rumours that Portsmouth are keen to take Peter Crouch back You could write a whole piece on the enigma that is Peter Crouch? Even though he provides a useful option or variation to our play and has played well recently, it’s fairly clear that since the signing of Torres, Rafa doesn’t see him as a part of his plans. One only has to look at the number of times he’s been on the bench this season even when there’s been injuries to likes of Torres and you have expected him to play. Surely the striker’s patience has now gone?
To today. I guess it’s a testament to the way the team have performed over the last few months that fourth place, and therefore another stint in the Champions league, is wrapped up with two games in hand. So, is that the season over? Will we be going through the motions today? Rafa is clear over how he sees the rest of the campaign.
“We were all really disappointed at going out of the Champions League in the semi-final because we were very close, but now we must think about the future because we still have two more games to play and I would like to win both of them. It is always important to win every game and I will try to do that and we will also try to play good football. The target is clear – to take six points out of six.”
Good stuff, the two remaining games, Manchester City today and Spurs next week, should be attractive ones? After Wednesday the players can now go play without fear and enjoy themselves? I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some changes from Wednesday not least because of the injuries we suffered, to Torres and Skrtel, and the fact that we played extra time. I suspect some be might playing their last game for us in front of The Kop?
Manchester City visit as a club needlessly in turmoil. They will finish in the top ten this season which considering previous campaigns is excellent. This should have given Sven and his players good grounds for looking forward to next season and improving on that, particularly if they can sustain the excellent start they made. However, the owner inexplicably sees this as not good enough and rumours are that Sven will go. Bizarre.
Prediction. The circumstances mean it could go either way however, hopefully we will want to get Wednesday out of our system and what better way than knocking a few goals past your next opponents? I’ll guess 3-1.
Enjoy the game.