How was it Abba put it?
"Can you do the sums Fernando?
We were shit and we were tired and we knew not where to go
We were so afraid Fernando
Every time you did a sprint it seemed your hamstring was too tight
And the form that you were in seemed to suggest the future wasn’t bright
"But there was something in the air last night, you weren’t so shite, Fernando
You were playing with such liberty, ‘gainst John Terry, Fernando,
Though we always thought that we could lose, we just hung on.
Do you think you’ll do the same again, or go lame again, Fernando?"
Mind them hamstrings, son!
Ahhh. He’s back. Little Nando. Just when you thought it was safe to write him off. Two elegant goals from the main man finished off a pretty feeble Chelsea and you can feel the quiet ooze of belief on the Anfield terraces.
Mr. Henry’s playing the long game, muttering about big signings and slow rebuilding. Woy’s got three wins on the spin. And they’ve Daniel Comolli to find them top talent all over Europe so that the revolution can be complete by 2012.
My first reaction to that was ‘bye bye, Woy’ but then I thought to myself ‘well, that’s just malicious, what would Woy say? I mean just cos Martin Jol was undermined by Comolli at Spurs and Dennis Wise took the guff out of KK’s sails at Newcastle doesn’t mean it’s going to happen at Anfield. It just looks like it will.
Meanwhile, Liverpool continue to be buoyed by the same old toothsome twosome that they’ve relied on for three years. Torres on Sunday, Gerrard on Thursday. Even Rafa managed to keep a team going on the strength of them two. You still feel the revival is hanging by the tender thread of a Nando ligament or a Stevie tendon.
And such is the Premier League this year that there seems every chance that six sides might yet be involved. Might I direct you to the final sentences of my last blog: ‘Chelsea will win the coveted double this year. Chumps League and Premier League. At a dawdle.’ If anything can guarantee a close race then it’s a statement like that from me.
And while the Blues lose, United snooze and it’s still bad news. Park Ji-Sung, sporting a plum rinse barnet that wouldn’t have looked out of place on the bonce of Joan Collins in Dynasty, snaffled a late winner against Wolves.
Park Ji-Sung's stylist
This led to another of this season’s perennial themes of– Mick McCarthy’s bass bleat. How Yorkshire is Mick? Talk about bluff. He couldn’t be more Yorkshire if he were a flat-capped whippet in Geoff Boycott’s teapot. It’s time we set his perpetual lament – ‘We played well, we got nowt, that’s footy’ - to the Hovis theme.
If there is owt else noteworthy about last weekend – apart from Mogga’s Middlesbrough actually winning a game – it was the never-ending rise of Newcastle. And the fact that Toonites are still not getting ahead of themselves.
There was a time when such a run of results – walloping Sunderland and winning at Arsenal – would have led to the sort of fantasies that even Terry Pratchett might have found a bit far-fetched.
But not with little Chris Hughton in charge. I’m guessing the only reason he hasn’t got a contract to sign is that he’s not fitting the bill at the mo. You, the Newcastle United manager, son? Where’s the farce? Where’s the training-ground bust-ups? What the hell is Joey Barton doing behaving like a reasonable young man?
Of course, Hughton does have Andy Carroll. I like Carroll. He’s the sort of lad you came up against in school matches and thought ‘oh fuck’ before he’d even kicked a ball. He’s been compared to Big Duncan Ferguson, but Andy can run and so far he’s only used his nut on the ball not the opponent.
And I can’t imagine Ferguson going to live with the club captain after a spot of domestic bother. There’s still a bit of me finds a big lunk of a Geordie having a put-me-up at the Nolans intriguing. There’s Bernadette tucking him in. Coleen giving him his cocoa. And Linda asking him if he’s in the mood.... Sigh... There was a time...
Lining up for Andy's bedtime story
Alan Hansen reckons Carroll might be able to take up the Shearer mantle. Well, that’s pretty onerous stuff. Shearer’s the best No.9 this country’s produced in my lifetime and I don’t think Carroll’s all that. But like my preferred choice of lass, he’s more than a handful. He’s also got a good left foot and too much hair. Mark Hateley, in other words. (But with time to be much better).
Capello would like him in the squad, I hear, and hellfire if Kevin Davies is in there then Carroll’s got to be next in very short queue.
This week we have the latest square-off between the Big Mouth and Noisy Neighbour in Manchester on Wednesday, complete with a two-mile alcohol exclusion zone around Eastlands. (Wouldn’t have been possible when Big Ron was manager.)
Of course there’ll be no Rooney but there’ll be plenty of other greedy little gets plying their trade. Although Balotelli won’t. Citeh are appealing but frankly the bloke deserves a red card every now and then just cos he’s so irritating.
I reckon Fergie’ll play it tight, Mancini will do the same (he never does owt else) and a 0-0 won’t bother either of ‘em. Having said that, Citeh will nick it, despite themselves.
And Stoke will win at home to Birmingham too. Well they would do, but a goalbound header by Kenwynne Jones will be cleared off the line by the ref’s toupee. And they will concede a goal in the last minute when a penalty is awarded against Asmir Begovic for handball. Poor old Pulis. His luck’ll change.