Gunner Crouch and no rest for the defence.

There was an interesting and surprising development in the quest for Peter Crouch’s signature with Arsenal supposedly joining the race.

I can already hear sharp intakes of breath and or sniffs of disgust (can you do both at once) from Arsenal fans no doubt dismayed about the possibility of acquiring a player from a team their manager has openly suggested are the wrong side of the footballing tracks! Especially as they have over the years been used to far “classer” players such a Ray Parlour, Perry Groves and Gus Caesar!

I will leave it to Arsenal fans to decide if Crouch can fit into their team’s style of play but I would have thought they would not regard him as an adequate replacement for the departing (it seems) Adebayor, even though he’s done well against them in recent years? Yet for all their pretty football, Arsenal, like us, they finished with nothing last season may be Crouch will add some variety up front and give them the different options they seemed to lack at times?

Personally I can’t see Crouch making the move. No disrespect to him but if Adebayor goes Wenger will surely cast the net little wider. There s also the issue of whether Crouch will be guaranteed the regular first team football he craved and missed out on last season? More realistic options might lie at Spurs and Manchester City, the two other clubs who, along with Pompey, are rumoured to be interested. If Berbatov moves then Crouch’s options, with just Robbie Keane and Darren Bent as the recognized strikers, would be better at Spurs however they would be even brighter at Man City where there can have… well. Who? Darius Vassell?

Meanwhile the defenders union at Liverpool has been stretching it’s muscle. With comments of defiance, constructive criticism and approval.

Steve Finnan will not be moved and although his appearances were limited last season, welcomes the competition that will come if we sign Degen and Dossena.

“I think every player welcomes competition. I’m no different. If the manager wants to add more I’ve got no problem with that. Obviously it benefits the team and it means those of us already here have to keep improving.”

Finnan suffered with injury last season so it’s difficult to tell were he fits in now with Rafa. However, his form prior to that suggests that he will be preferred to Degan at least? I guess it all depends on the extent of Rafa’s rotation?

Sami Hyypia drew attention to our poor record from set pieces last season. Speaking to club mag he said

“It’s probably an area we could do better”

Woods, bears, and defecation spring to mind.

“Everybody knows that on one or two occasions in the past we’ve had small difficulties in these situations, but if we bring it up every day it becomes more of an issue than it needs to be and that may start to make some players more nervous to face those situations.”

Point taken but this does mean it should be brushed under the carpet as it simply didn’t go away last season and everyone in the back four, at one stage or another, seemed to be guilty of poor marking or poor challenges?

Staying in the centre of the back four and Martin Skrtel has been waxing lyrical about how it’s been going so far since he joined us in January. In short he likes it and he likes the fans, the club and England. He also mentioned about the attention he’s been getting.

“I think because of the skinhead and my accent I am not too hard to pick out on the street.”

Does this mean we can expect to see Skrtel in a Slash from Gun ‘n Roses wig soon?

Finally, well done to Xabi Alonso, Fernando Torres and the rest of the “Spain Reds” for making it to the Euro 2008 final. One small point when will everyone stop saying they are surprised every time Torres is substituted? Last night it was David Pleat. Although it’s great to see Torres play is just as nice to see him depart – uninjured!

Will Spain beat Germany? Yes, if they play like they did last night. The German defence is about as solid and reliable as canoe made from blotting paper! So that’s them the scrape home on penalties then!

Finally was it my imagination (or The Becks) but did David Pleat last night describe the former Millwall, Forest, Spurs, Mancs and West Ham (and others) striker as “Freddy Shedingham”?

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