I will be heading home in a couple of days after vacation. I’ve consumed fewer games than I do at home I have managed to catch my fair share while away. Here are some general thoughts of the games over the last couple of days.
1. With the Wayne Rooney suspension being superseded by the shock return of Paul Scholes there have been very few questions raised about the form of Javier Hernandez. A couple of spells out through injury have not helped Hernandez but I think most people would have expected a better scoring rate than we have seen up to now.
Last season he showed that special gift of anticipation and being in the right place at the right time. This season when he has played more often than not he seems to be out of sync with the rest of the United side.
2. Mikel Arteta missed his first Premier League match for Arsenal since his move from Everton when he withdrew from the starting line up to face Swansea on Sunday. Is it fair to say that we found out that Arsenal’s has no other player who can fill that role competently when the Spaniard has a knock?
3. The “Torres is rubbish” crowd was out again after he was blanked once more – this time against Sunderland. Wonder what we would have heard if his effort that cracked against the crossbar was just an inch or two lower? As it was the rebound proved to be too quick for Lampard who seemed sheepish after “effort” rebounded off him into the Sunderland net.
4. Sometimes it is not what you do but what your rivals do. Juventus dropped two points at home to Cagliari when they could only draw 1-1. The disappointment must have diminished somewhat when they discovered that one of their closest rivals at the top of Serie A Udinese had lost 3-2 away to Genoa.
But that was nothing compared to the impact of Milan losing the derby to Inter. Two points dropped but a point lead opened up when all was said and done.
5. Inter’s change in fortune continued and perhaps the news of Milan’s loss might have been slightly mitigated for Juventus by the fact that Inter are now within six points of the top of the table. But have seen this picture before. Club in crisis, Claudio Ranieri steps in, “ship” stabilizes and then climbs league. Team gets close but not close enough.
A lot of people would love to see a Claudio Ranieri-led team win a major trophy but until it happens there is going to a black-cloud hovering over his head.
6. How many opinions did we read and hear over the last week about whether or not Spurs were Premier League contenders? It was a mute question – three points behind the leaders with 18 games to go of course they have a chance of winning the league. Two points dropped at home to Wolves on Saturday makes no difference either at this stage.
7. A lot of people seem to be finally talking about the lack of imagination shown by Liverpool’s attack – or more precisely the number of crosses that are slung into the opposition’s penalty. What’s been keeping you?
8. It has been 15 days since the transfer window opened and with the exception of a couple of deals all we have really experienced is a very bad draft.
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