It’s a big moment once again for the EPL ‘Big 4’ this week-end. Quick summary then…
Hooliganism marred the draw with AS Roma last night. The 1-1 against the Italian’s was a game played out by fringe players for United. Only 3 players (Rooney, Nani and Carrick) who played were what you would call regulars. Decent game in Rome though, not great, but decent.
It has in fact been a decent week for United on the whole. Gary Neville has returned to training, he won’t be fit to visit the stadium which he loves so on Sunday however, as is the case with South Korean Park Ji-Sung. Also Owen Hargreaves is now rated as 50/50, as opposed to 0/100. Louis Saha has also been vocal, questioning how on Earth people can doubt his fitness. Fergie has been quiet though, much to my disappointment. The absence of Jose Mourinho means that there are no mind-games at all between the Big 4.
Chelski played out an instantly forgettable 0-0 with Valencia on Tuesday night. Each player in the starting XI interestingly was a recognized first-teamer, meaning that the thinking of Avram Grant is to keep the players on their toes for the London derby on Sunday.
Quiet week by all accounts down by the bridge. No new injury worries, no new injury returns. We can expect Monsieur Wenger to be guilty of voyeurism again though, as he will surely look to start the mind games with Grant, as it seems the mild-mannered Israeli doesn’t do too many things that are likely to make him enemies. There has been an unlikely catalyst for the mind games between the two though, Petr Cech shouting about how he wants to be Scrooge on Sunday.
What a week for Rafa B. He starts the biggest week of his Liverpool career with a loss against Reading. Doesn’t bode well considering you’ve got a must-win on Tuesday, the bosses are coming on Friday and your playing United on Sunday. Then the week flips right around on the must-win.
Liverpool were absolutely brilliant against Marseilles, and fully deserved the 4-0 win. The penalty, a stone-waller, the Torres goal, simply footballing genius from El Niño, the Kuyt goal, clinical and brilliantly taken, the Babel goal, cheeky and excellently converted. It was a vintage performance and an excellent result for Liverpool.
The only sounds coming from Melwood this week are war-cries really. There was Torres calling for the owners not to sack Rafael Benitez, and there was also Carra declaring that beating United is ‘more than 3 points’. Amen brother.
The Gunners made hard work of their 2-1 victory against Steaua. We did however see flashes of brilliance by England U21 International Theo Walcott and also Nicklas Bendtner, a player who every time I see him play reminds me more and more of a young Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Tall, skilful, and a keen eye for goal, this guy definitely has the ability to challenge for the title of best forward in Scandinavia.
Good and bad news for Arsenal ahead of Grand Slam Sunday, Cesc Fabregas is unlikely to be fit, as is Aliaksandr Hleb. However Abou Diaby and Mathieu Flamini are likely to be in the squad, and also Robin van Persie returned midweek against Steaua. RVP is likely to be instrumental on Sunday should he play.
So 3 days to go. Excited?