I’m not really a fan of the Monday night match.
Many say that all games should kick off at three o’clock on a Saturday. Totally agreed although secretly, I’m not too averse to the 4pm Sunday match. However Monday was always pushing it too far. Each set of games should be confined to the weekend and not spill over into the working week. If nothing else Monday night is an opportunity to get some kip after the weekend!
However, for once tonight’s “Sultana” game at Anfield against West Ham is welcome from a timing point of view. We now have an excellent opportunity to go clear at the top by three points and unlike last week, when we only discovered we’d missed our chance after we got into the dressing room after Fulham game, we know the full extent of our task.
Chelsea’s unexpected defeat yesterday also comes at good time for us. Below par performances against Fulham and Marseille have kick started whisperings about cracks beginning to appear in our challenge. However, yesterday’s match at Stamford Bridge, and knowing where we could be if all goes well tonight, will surely inspire confidence and above all the determination to put things right? How much more incentive do we need?
Of course it could work the other way the players could freeze, daunted by the task and the increased weight of expectation. However, this is a chance that must be taken and thoughts of failure should be outweighed by those of keeping it simple, being patient and trying to play the way we know can play.
Team wise we will be without Torres which means Robbie Keane will come under more scrutiny and pressure to perform. His plight cannot have been helped by Sunday Red Top rumours about us resigning Michael Owen in the January transfer window.
On paper the case for Owen’s return would appear to be a good one. Newcastle, appear to be stalling on his contract because of the behind the scenes unrest and are unlikely to offer him the deal he is currently receiving. Neither are we but Owen has strong ties in the area not least his racing stable near Chester so a return would be convenient?
Quiet what Rafa will think about this having sold Owen once I don’t know. However, with Keane struggling, at least in terms of scoring, perhaps we will be tempted to bring him back? The circumstances, in terms of price and wages, are much more favourable than they were in 2007 when Real Madrid decided to sell him and Owen, despite his tendency to get injured, is one of the few who still comes close to matching Torres’ instinct for goals. And if we were to make an offer, I suspect Owen would not need to be asked to twice about returning?
Back to tonight. Last season West Ham snatched three points from us at Upton Park with a late penalty but we won comfortably at Anfield with Torres getting a hat trick in the 4-0 win. It might be a tad harder tonight but I think (with everything crossed) we will take our chance with both hands to the tune of 2-0. Please!
Enjoy the game and let’s hope it’s not a case of “I don’t like Mondays”