Well its back and as usual yesterday was full of the intrigue that always accompanies the opening of a new season. Everton will want to forget it and move on quickly from a game which evoked memories of our 6-1 gubbing of Crystal Palace on the first day of the 1994-95 season. Hull had grounds to feel unlucky while many eyes were on Man City probably hoping to see them fail. There were plenty of away wins yesterday, let’s hope it continues today and well done to Barnesy for winning against Gillingham!
The papers were full of the usual opening day analysis. The Guardian suggested that Fernando Torres would be the leagues top scorer and footballer of the year however, it predicted us to win nothing! It then suggested that Rafa saw the return of Andri Voronin from loan as a key issue this season! Rafa didn’t and The Guardian knows it but why let truths like that get in the way? Sky ended their promo which consists of passionate fans spouting on about their love of football, with, and I paraphrase, “We know how you feel because we feel it to” which one has to give ten out ten for hypocrisy and cheek given the way fans have been pulled around and generally unconvinced by their TV scheduling. Yes they might know how they feel but, as long as they pay their subscription, do they care?
However, it’s no use moaning Sunday games are here to stay and I guess there is something frustrating about having a wait twenty four hours before we get going against Spurs today. Having said that, perhaps it’s not such a bad thing given our injury problems? As I write Agger, Aquilani and Aurelio are defiantly out and Carragher, Gerrard and Skrtel are doubtful. An early test for the squad or will Carragher and or Skrtel make it? I suspect Rafa will be accused of keeping his cards close to his chest over his selection but the more likely explanation is that he will be giving late fitness tests to those who are injured.
If Skrtel and/or Carragher fail to pull through one wonders what Rafa will do? Bring in one of the young centre backs such as Kelly or San Jose who played pre season or ask one of the first team squad to fill in? Perhaps Glen Johnson will make his first competitive debut playing out of position, who knows? Despite the worry, it’s also quiet intriguing.
We aren’t exactly helped by the opposition who haven’t lost at their place since last November and one also remembers the two defeats, one in the league and other in the Carling Cup, that Spurs inflicted on us last season. Of course they have got Robbie Keane and Peter Crouch so there will be story there for those who want to make something of it however that is an issue for Crouch or Keane, we need to look ourselves. Anticipation and expectation will be high, the main priority is to try and get off to a decent start.
Prediction? Our pre season form was indifferent but this is the real thing and I’ve no doubt the players will up the anti. Clearly we will be up against it if the injuries take hold and one wonders if we are short in defence then perhaps the best policy is to make Spurs’ defence work by being more offensive. Either way I suspect much will hinge on the performances of Mascherano and, if he plays, Lucas sitting in front of the back four. It doesn’t sound very positive but, given the situation and new optimism Harry Redknapp has instilled into Spurs, I’ll be happy with a point – 2-2.
Either way enjoy the game it’s good to have it back.