champions league


Well I hear tonight that Tom Hicks one of the co-owners of Liverpool FC has today asked his CE Rick Parry to resign. It’s getting to be almost Newcastle like up there. Blimey I watched the Champs League match v Arsenal the other night and it was a tremendous game and fantastic win for Liverpool. Today the party celebrations are over eh…

What did you think about the Liv/Arse tie? Lots of stuff over here emanating from the Arsenal camp about the unfairness of the penalty decision compared with the stonewaller in the first leg denied to them. I don’t know. Overall I thought Liv were the better side and deserved it. There’s a lot of gnashing of teeth from down the Holloway Rd but it looks to me that the season’s petering out is much to do with Arsenal and Wenger’s  own management failings. I know this sounds like heresy but I genuinely think Wenger’s mismanaged this season. That beautiful football has been undermined by lack of forward planning.

Take a look at Man U. I know they are my side but Ferguson’s been on top form in the transfer market this last year. He secured Tevez after much faffing because he saw how effective the little tooth monster was. Did he desperately need him? No but he was evident class and better than Alan Smith, who could be sold for a decent wedge. Then in the summer he bought Hargreaves when he had Carrick, Nani when he had Giggs and Anderson when he had Scholes. More money than sense? It doesn’t look like it now. As the season’s drawing to its conclusion, Man U have ‘far more energy’ this year as Ferguson puts it; in other words a deeper squad of better quality players. Last night they played  the second team in Italy without Rooney, Ronaldo, Scholes and Vidic and won comprehensively, even with that first leg advantage.   Can you imagine Arsenal taking on the same side, even with a 2 goal advantage without say Fabregas, Toure, Adebayor and Van Persie? It’s inconceivable that they would do it with any confidence. 

To me it looks like Ferguson’s watched Mourinho and has been building a second team to match and out-do Russia FC, knowing as the Special one did that pursuit of the FA cup and the Champs league calls for a deeper squad these days because of the physical demands on the players. Look at Utd’s first team; it’s as good as any team in the world right now:

                                                           Van der Saar

               Brown                        Vidic                       Ferdinand                  Evra

                                                       Hargreaves

                   Ronaldo                              Scholes                            Giggs

                                                                             Rooney

                                                   Tevez

But now look at the second team:

                                                            Foster/Kuszczak

              Neville                            O’Shea                        Pique                         Silvestre

                                                                 Carrick

             Park                                Fletcher                          Anderson                  Nani

                                                                       Saha

It’s really not a lot behind. As a separate team they’d probably  finish in the top 6 in the Premiership. The key thing is that all the players have featured regularly in the first team without the hideous rotation sytem employed by Benitez earlier in the season, and can slot in easily to fill gaps caused by tiredness, injury and suspension.

But look at Arsenal, I don’t believe their second team is anything like as good. Everyone knows they have great kids coming through (better than Utd’s) but they aren’t first team standard as yet. After the Emirates was completed the Arsenal board took great delight in informing the world that their revenues were ahead of expectations and purred at telling the story that the manager had something approaching £100m at his disposal but had declined to spend it. The team were playing glorious football and somewhere at the top of the Premiership. But the team have run out of steam and that lack of investment has probably menat no more silverware for yet another year at least. You look at the  team and realise they need cover in the striker position, in midfield and at centre half. Why didn’t they buy Anelka – a snip at £15m or Woodgate when available? Wenger admits to looking at Torres but considered the price too steep. Well that £24m looks a decent price now given his impact in English football. And he had the money available… 

Now they are going to have to chase the market and they are at least 4 purchases behind Man U, 2 behind Liverpool and surely the Abramovitch purse strings will be loosened again this summer as a team re-structuring is undertaken. So I think Wenger’s been caught out by his financial caution. His team look out on their feet and perhaps the likes of Fabregas will be thinking about moving somewhere less draining and more successful sooner than everyone anticipated. I wouldn’t blame him. The beginning of the end for a great manager?

pp   

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2 thoughts on “champions league

  1. Hi PP

    In general I guess you’re right about the way the season has gone, however, as far as the three games against the Hubcappers go it does feel like a refereeing conspiracy. In the first CL game the pull back by Huyt was so close to the reef that must have seen it, wheras the calamity of Toure over Babel, whilst still a penalty, was nothing in comparison.

    Wenger did make a statement at the start of the season that if he was given £100m he would hand it back as he didn’t need to buy…… more likely that he knew the futility in believing he would get sort of kitty.

    The age of the squad is a bonus, but, as any fan knows – believing that next season will be better has seen the likes of Leeds & Newcastle dissappear up their own tunnels.

    I guess the league is still possible, but relies on us and Chelsea beating Utd and then have other games go our way…. hmmm not over likely methinks, although, without Vidic I am more hopeful for the weekend.

    Still, as they say at the right end of the Seven Sister Road – Cassez Spurs, vive la Gooners! Very sad to think that it’s a little piece of parochial rivalry that is our only badge of honour this season….. unless Fortress OT succumbs to another Theo show!

    Leave me a crumb of hope in my hour of need old friend!

    Yours at the going down of the sun

    PGOB

  2. hi pgob

    it would serve me right for the gooners to gun down the reds now!! there may well be twists and turns before season’s end but i would maintain that manu would be deserved winners for the quality of their play and their consistency and the astonishing year-long performance form ronaldo.

    arsenal would be genuinely worthy winners for the sheer quality of their play up to the cup defeats by manu and spurs. it seemed to go wrong from there.

    i couldn’t bear it if manu and the gooners frigged each other up and allowed russia fc to steal the prem title. their style of play is as uninspiring as it was under Mourinho (in fact they’ve probably gone backwards).

    at least liv fc won’t be stealing the title!

    there’s always next year mate and i think wenger’s still got close to £100m at his disposal. it could be worse
    pp

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