So the tentacles of the Champions League delve even deeper into the domestic game. Because this year’s final is at Wembley the status of the FA Cup is undermined even more by seeing it share the billing with half a dozen or so Premiership games.
Nonetheless I don’ think The Mancs’ nineteenth title in anyway undermined their neighbours first trophy for 35 years. It was a noticeable contrast between North London and Elwood Park. Manchester City fans celebrated their team’s victory, cheered and praised THEM for ending the long wait however, from the eyes of this blogger all I saw from the Mancs were digs at us re the breaking of the eighteen record. “Top of the perch” said one banner referring to Fergie’s promise, and I paraphrase, to “knock Liverpool off their f*cking perch”. Am I only one who thinks “Top of the perch” doesn’t really make sense? It’s like saying under the road, or aside the water? Nonetheless one shouldn’t let this cloud the issue that The Mancs have now taken yet another of our records. I don’t think it’s worth letting this and the Mancs fans rather clumsy snipes rile us. As Jamie Carragher said the other day.
“If we want that record back, we have to win leagues ourselves – we can’t keep hoping other teams stop Manchester United winning it….. If we want to be seen as the most successful club in the country again, we’ve got to do it on our own, and the only way of us getting back on top is us winning titles, not trying to stop them. In that respect, losing the record is not something we are going to dwell on. We can’t be feeling sorry for ourselves…. the only way we can change it for the better is by looking after ourselves.”
So moving on to today’s game against Spurs and I guess this could be seen as the decider for the Europa League spot even though there will be another game to go? However, for me the most important thing is to finish strongly and build on the good form we’ve shown recently. If we do the Europa League place will take care of itself.
We meet a Spurs side that is on a post Champions League downer whilst we are moving in the opposite direction. Their midweek defeat at Manchester City meant that they had wasted their game in hand over us meaning that European qualification is in our own hands. Current form suggests that few would bet on us not achieving it. Perhaps Spurs may have sustained their challenge had they signed Luis Suarez Harry Redknapp revealed yesterday that Spurs considered signing him in the last transfer window but was told by Spurs scouts that he wasn’t good enough and was too similar to van der Vaart.
“We kept looking at (Suarez) but people thought he couldn’t play up as a striker.. They said he’s like Rafa and you can’t have him and Rafa or you’d have two players who want to drop deep, so that was the problem. We were looking for someone to play up front with Rafa. People said he couldn’t do that, he drifts and comes deep. But he played up front on his own the other night (against Fulham) and he was fantastic.”
Ho hum Spurs’ loss is definitely our gain but team wise it looks as if Suarez will have to wait to be reunited with our other big January signing. Andy Carroll trained this week but fitness again could be the issue and reports suggest he will only make the bench. One hopes this isn’t a sign of things to come with Carroll and that he will spend less time on the treatment room and ore on the pitch? Hopefully all these problems will be ironed out in the summer? Elsewhere the only other issue concerns Raul Meireles who went off injured on Monday night. This time reports suggest he should be fit enough to play.
Prediction? Our home record against Spurs is good and current form this season is better and Kenny will surely want to team to sign off the last home game of the season on a good note? 3-0 to us and Suarez to show Spurs of what they missed out on.