As England prepare for a game which many are predicting will signal the end of Fabio Capello’s honeymoon, thoughts aren’t really in Zagreb but looking towards Saturday morning’s game against The Mancs. Normally I go into this fixture with a delicate, cagey feeling of cautious optimism. Recently it hasn’t taken long for this to be seriously trashed!
As guess this time it is different because of who’s not there. Torres and Gerrard for us and Ronaldo for United. Reports say that Torres may be OK but will Rafa risk him with a Champions League game around the corner and three more days to get him fitter?
Given this and the fact that we now have a winger, perhaps Rafa will be tempted to make use of Ryan Babel’s pace in the middle? Since he returned from the Olympics Babel has been used sparingly by Rafa. However, surely this will end if Gerrard and Torres are out?
Babel is raring to go. Speaking in the Liverpool Echo he said
“I will work hard and try and score more this season. Last season I said I wanted to score 10 goals but I’m not going to say a figure this season. I just hope I can play well. I know in my head what I want to achieve and hope to reach that by the end of the season.”
Babel also spoke of the importance religion plays in his life. This prompts memories of the old Jasper Carrot joke which went along the lines of “I see Glen Hoddle’s found God. Must of been a hell of a pass”. It’s not my cup of tea but I admire Babel’s bravery and commitment and if it helps him to settle and become a better player and above all keep his feet on the ground it can be no bad thing?
Saturday will also see the latest demonstration against the Star Spangled Duo aka the poorest billionaires in football. I don’t know if either plan to turn up on Saturday. If they do let’s hope they don’t do a Mike Ashley and sit in the stand in a shirt two sizes too small swigging Budweiser! I wouldn’t put it beyond Hicks!
I guess there is a danger that the demo could not have the impact it might as people could be distracted by the magnitude of the game? However, this doesn’t in any way undermine the validity of the point that is being made. Will this hit home and have an effect? I doubt it, the owners have too much at stake and are too thick skinned but we should always let the themknow what we think of them and that we are watching and scrutinising their every move.
My gut feeling is that we might see something give in the new year when the duo have refinance for the new stadium and may, the light of the credit crunch, have to put up more personal guarantees. Failure to deliver will leave them with a lot of explaining to do as surely the stadium will nothing more than pipedream and a broken promise. No doubt DIC will be watching the situation closely?