So it looks as if Chelsea, by beating the Mancs last night, have done Arsenal the favour that many of their fans hoped we would do for them on Sunday?
It’s sad that this sort of hope should be placed upon us by other fans rather than they seeing us as direct rivals to their own team’s fortunes? Remember Mancs fans were hoping that we’d beat Chelsea at Anfield late on last season to help their title challenge? We didn’t and I guess many found the Mancs’ frustration some kind of compensation for the defeat?
No doubt many will want us to continue in this vain and win on Sunday however it’s not major revelation to state that we should not be thinking about doing favours for others. Nor is it to state that we need to win as many games as we can between now and the end of the season!
Of course our ambitions took a dent on Sunday with the defeat at West Ham. It was difficult to pin point exactly what went wrong (where should you start!) as West Ham were so good and we so bad in trying to deal with them. No doubt, having had time to digest the events, you’ve got your own opinions but one thing that did strike me, and it’s something that has raised its head a number of times this season, is how we allowed ourselves to beaten physically, but fairly, in vital challenges. The latest was right at the end of the game when Martin Skrtel simply bounced off Charlton Cole as he honed in on goal to net their third.
This is becoming something of a habit? We were outmuscled by Newcastle at their place and when we lost at Blackburn at least two of the goals were caused by incidents where were our players (Kyrgiakos and Johnson if memory serves me correctly) lost out in “man on man” challenges. Then there was Stoke City in November and their two goals the move that lead to the first looked like something you’d see outside any City Centre pub on a Saturday night! LFC away from home… in the words of Corporal Jones from Dad’s Army “They don’t like it up ‘em” ?
Anyway perhaps Sunday’s game comes at a good time since we have the perfect opportunity and occasion to atone? Sadly we will be without the services of Martin Kelly who pulled up at West Ham with a hamstring injury. It’s sad as one of the major positives this season for me has been the rise of Kelly to the first team. The first time I really noticed him was against Lyon last season. Since then I’ve been wishing, and saying so on this site, that he be given a run in the team as to my mind the more established alternatives were no better, and in some cases, worse! Rafa used Kelly sparingly, HRH gave him more of a chance especially in Europe, but he has been more of less been a regular under Kenny since he took over.
Kelly’s improvement can only be good thing and guess the consolation, if there is one, for his injury is Danny Wilson might extend his run in the side. Let’s be honest given the way the season is panning out we have the ideal opportunity to give younger players a chance and it looks as if Kenny if more than willing to do this? I think we also have to be realistic. If we fail, and it does look likely at present, to qualify for the Champions League then more and more of the experienced players may follow the likes of Alonso, Mascherano and Torres and leave? With the new owners keeping their cards close to their chest re finances to strengthen the squad it is in our interest to bring on youth and give them the experience, and as quickly as possible as it is likely that will need them more and more?
That is how pragmatic we may have to be yet first of all we need to pick ourselves up from Sunday and looking forward to The Mancs. Thankfully we’ve had a week off to prepare and mull over things. Said Kenny
“We will have a look and make sure we learn from the mistakes that were made. We will look to see where we went wrong and try to repair it. The pleasing thing was that the fitness and desire to get back in the game was still there. In the last 20 minutes we played well. Collectively we will move forward but we won’t dismiss it. We will get back in and see where we are on Tuesday. A week’s training will do us no harm at all”
Some have suggested that this game means nothing as we slowly look like being marooned around sixth place. However, regardless of where we, or the Mancs, are in the table, or what other teams want us to do, the game will always have significance. Why? Because it’s the Mancs, pure and simple!