Monday, 31 March 2014

Still Citeh's to Lose

Brendan Rodgers. There he is, on the touchline, a massive bonce on a stocky little body, like an adult Charlie Brown, only with a lot more hair and self-confidence. Beaming away, he is. A man with a plan, and the plan is working. The polar opposite of David Moyes, in fact.


But things didn't start this brightly for Bren. Phone-ins were full of mournful Scouse voices this time last year, as Rodgers attempted to reorder the way his team plays. All right, there weren't exactly small planes flying over the ground (numpties!) but there was discontent. They didn't make the Europa League. Luis Suarez auditioned for the lead in the next Hannibal film and the rest of the team spent the season hitting post and bar more often that an inebriate Royal Mail employee.


So what's changed? Well, a hell of a lot. Not least the fact that not making the Europa League was a huge plus! (Man U and Everton take note! Maybe Sherwood has been drafted in at Spurs to avoid such inconveniences.).


More than anything, though, Rodgers has developed a squad which can alter its formation and still perform at a high level - and that includes several English players, too. That's right. Brainless automatons that have spent their lives simply adhering to a positional discipline and learning how to keep going at 90 mph for 90 minutes have been entrusted with taking on board more than one idea. Sturridge, Sterling, Henderson... all seem to be able to cope with the expectation of not having to play exactly the same way each week.


Roy Hodgson won't know what to make of this when the lot of them show up at training and asks him what the point of 4-4-2 is again.


Equally radical is the fact that Rodgers plays to his players strengths. Sterling roaming in the hole, or chopping and changing position with Sturridge and Suarez has worked beautifully, not least because the lad is more slippery than a greased eel in a bubble bath.


If you take his opposite number, the temporary boss of Tottenham Hotspur, Tim Sherwood, or indeed Moyes, you'll see how this apparently obvious policy is not always adhered to by Rodgers' contemporaries. Christian Eriksson on the left wing, anyone? Juan Mata wide right? Kyle Naughton anywhere near a first-team squad?


As someone who wasn't a rocket scientist once said 'It's not rocket science'. Plaudits have rained down on the eminently placid but lethal Suarez. That old crate of horseshit about nasty players needed to keep a healthy dose of malice or they'll lose something from their game doesn't seem to be true in his case, does it? I've never quite understood why utterly losing it once every five games is good for anyone.


But most of the superlatives are being reserved for the skipper Steven Gerrard with many old Anfielders unable to contain the warmth of their ejaculations. There's a certain late middle-age whimsy at work here. Gerrard represents that bit of we ageing souls that can do a good 40-odd keepy-uppies in the backyard and tell ourselves that we've still got it.


Gerrard is being touted as an English Pirlo now. Sitting in the pocket, a football-playing Joe Montana, a brandy in one hand and a fag in the other, absent-mindedly delivering forty-yard laser-guided missiles to the pacey front four to feed off.


Well he's not quite Pirlo, but he can still trot up to blast a free-kick in, roll in more than the odd penalty and you have to say he fits this new armchair as snugly as any man that ever sat anywhere. Liverpool are closer to the title now than ever they were under the stuffed-shirted dweeb that was Benitez - but then Rafa liked to use Gerrard as a right-winger whenever he could. The dolt.


But can this team hold it together til the season's end? And more than that, are they capable of turning over Citeh and/or Chelsea at home? Wonderfully, Rodgers managed to insist his team was taking the run-in one game at a time, adding that the next one was Manchester City when it is in fact West Ham away - all of which rather suggest the manager is getting ahead of himself a little.


As Palace proved on Saturday there are no gimmes in this league this season. (And there's four letters that make a fan happy - JT OG). Indeed you can't even take victory for granted if you've just taken the lead with 30 seconds to go, can you Baggies?


Spurs and Newcastle are losing the plot in rather similar ways to their gaffing gaffers. Sunderland's games in hand look meaningless, the way they're playing. Norwich and Hull are doing the two-forward three back relegation hustle and frankly it's like trying to predict how many roads a man must walk down before you can call him a man.


There are many reasons why it would be good for Liverpool to win the trophy this year: They're very entertaining; they don't quite have the financial clout of their two biggest rivals; and it's 25 years since Hillsborough - and a title would seem very appropriate this year.


Such sentiments would not deter Mourinho, whose trips to Anfield are still haunted by the Ghost Goal. Nor will Man City need to worry about working their way past the porous 'Pool back four. Then again Rodgers's S & S will be more than happy to be up against one of Lescott or Demichelis. I predict a 3-3. But I also can't help thinking Citeh will nick it in the end.









112 comments:

  1. Yabba Dabba Dooo

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  2. "Norwich and Hull are doing the two-forward three back relegation hustle and frankly it's like trying to predict the winner of the "

    Winner of the what Robbo?

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  3. If Liverpool do win the league,which would be lovely for all those Un**ed fans as well,then the only thing I won't enjoy is the legion of Ex-Liverpool players in the meeja creaming themselves with delight.

    The other people desperate for a Liverpool league title are the local thieves,as they'll have the pick of the town when the open bus parade takes place.

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    1. Heh heh.

      The big difference between the Dark Knight and a scouser is that Batman can do stuff without Robin. ;)

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  4. good stuff Robbo and good stuff Brenda, a delight to watch.

    They'd be able to compete financially if they didn't give half the seats away to ex-players.

    6 more weeks blowin' in the wind, it's a crackin' season.

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  5. Spot on, Robbo. Wonder if Hodgson could get away with sending out his charges to whatever position they play best and giving them some freedom to go at it.

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  6. Nice one RR.

    I'm sure all the mickeys will be rubbing their hands with glee now that you've tipped Citeh. ;)

    Personaly, I still believe Citeh will do it, but no matter what happens, a tip of the hat must go to Brenda. Yes, he had no Europaan distraction, but fairs, fair, he's got that team playing very well and like you said, he's changing his tactics to suit the opponents and it's bloody well working.

    I wouldn't get too excited about the English players even though they are a very big part of Brendens success formula, because once they are away from the Liverpool training ground they will be under the England coaches and that is like a black hole for tactical awareness and application. None of that revolutionary "play players in their prefered position" mumbo jumbo will be used when in an England shirt, no no. Sturidge will be played as a winger, Stevie G as the front end of an attacking midfield and there might even be a place for Sterling in the back four. The only Liverpool player in Group Dplaying his natural position will be Luiz suarez, Gawd 'elp us..

    Speaking of which, Luis not Gawd, even though most on The Kop would proclaim him to be one in the same, he has been a revalation this season. I always thought he was a ticking time bomb and a liability and I honestly didn't think that leopard would change his spots, but credit where credit is due he really has turned it around. He's kept his nose clean and his teeth to himself and is the seasons standout player in the PL.

    Back to the PL, still plenty of twists and turns to come, more then enough time for Robbie savage to change the team he thinks will clinch it at least twenty times.

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  7. Yes Robbo you mention it in your piece but I think it's worth repeating that Liverpool not playing in Europe and exiting domestic cup scene relatively early has allowed them to focus on the prem. They're great fun to watch but you get the feeling they don't have the depth they need to pull this off. It's like they're one twisted Gerrard ankle away from an awful come down off of the goods. And all this success will only make the job tougher next year....higher expectations of course but you'll have to deal with Champs league and bed in new talent. That said I hope they pull it off and then repeat next year. Hard not to pull for Montana.

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  8. they're well ahead of plan, they have Borini to come back from loan, Champs league victory is assured.

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    1. Not just Borini, but Suso, Wisdom and Assaidi as well. They'll be like new sigh-nings.

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    2. Heh, that's a Wengerism.

      LANS is the proper term

      (Like a New Signing)

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    3. that's settled then, John Henry can keep his hands in his pockets.

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  9. There's hope i might still make the england team after all.....

    http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/apr/01/mind-controlled-robotic-suit-exoskeleton-world-cup-2014

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    1. Hope Arsene reads this and orders a few.

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    2. Not sure if today was the best date to release such a story though.

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    3. Depends who's controlling it Blogidy.

      If it's Pele,then great.

      If it's Carlton Palmer.....

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    4. I thought the same as well H.

      I was looking to see if the journalist's name was an anagram of April Fool.

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  10. A Bayern Munich season ticket costs just £14 more than an England football shirt. Of all football's outrages, that takes some beating. Lowest-priced Bayern season ticket? £104. And the equivalent at Arsenal? £985.

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    1. Those are some genuinely mind boggling numbers. Why is stuff so inexpensive in Germany. That's the real problem of course. They just need to raise their prices and then we're all good.

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    2. Lots of stuff in Germany is a lot cheaper then here.

      The Goverment, since Jan 1st, put extra tax on petrol to try and boost the National coffers. Big mistake, all the residents who live close to the German (or Belgian) border just get their fuel abroad now, meaning that most stations on the Dutch side of the border are closing and millions in revenue per day is going out og the country.
      They also raised the legal drinking age from16 to 18 in bars. Where do you think all thr border dwelling kids are going every weekend? yep op naar Deutshland, again costing millions.

      Thank you elected officials.

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    3. and they're young enough and dumb enough to kill two birds with one stone!

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    4. Which is also cheaper to do over there.

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    5. No different to the Brits going to Belgium to stock up on cheap fags (or anywhere in the EU that's not in the UK!)

      Spider

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    6. surely getting stoned with two birds is cheaper in Holland?

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    7. Spider.

      Quite a big difference as it only takes a few minutes. It's the equivalent of you going to a supermarket that is five minutes futher then your local one.

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    8. this is an interesting consequence of the single market - once you start down that road there's no end - EVERYTHING has to be the same. Unless you're an island. Islands are different. We cant pop over the border for cheaper fuel (except Norn Ireland) and Schengen adn UKIP and bilateral agreements and blah blah Im boring myself here

      GO CHELSEA

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  11. Wow, I'd be shocked if Man U win this. Starting with Rio and Giggs? Jones as right back? No starting place for the two form players in Kagawa or Januzaj. Moyes better hope he draws or wins, or his days will be clearly numbered. He might yet have been forgiven if he went it with a young, attack-minded squad and lost. If he loses now, the knives are going to be out.

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    1. easy for you to say from your lofty elevation atop the league!

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    2. SAVE DAVE!!!!!!!

      Spider

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    3. Absolutely no reason whatsoever to mention that at all trotts. Reign yourself in. To change the topic, how shit was the How I Met Your Mother finale last night. Been watching that piece of crap for 9 years now and then this rubbish finale.

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    4. you see, the pressure is beginning to tell. critical, snippy, lost enjoyment in your favourite TV shows......the cracks are beginning to show........

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    5. Not the worst performance by Man U. Did pretty well in the second half. Drawing with Bayern, even at home, is always creditable.

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    6. (Robbo Blog pundit): "Ooh, a Freudian slip there from AH, as he tells Trotts to 'reign' himself in, rather than 'rein.' Clearly, AH has broken his superstition with a statement that I'm choosing to link by the barest possible imaginery thread to Liverpool 'reigning' over the PL this year. He's crossed the black cat's path, he's walked under the ladder, he is the Linus that says 'if,' instead of 'when,' the Great Pumpkin comes. Surely, this will be a black cloud that will 'rain' on Liverpool's title hopes..."

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  12. Bayern lucky there. Never a foul by Welbeck.

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  13. Barca receive 14-month transfer ban for breaking rules related to signing international players under the age of 18. Of course, they'll be okay, since they have plenty of youngsters to step in...

    http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/26852466

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    1. Great timing with Valdes and Puyol on the way out.

      Arsenal may even keep a few players again this year. ;)

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  14. well there some guy pictured below who was caught looking at pictures of dogs during the gae last night. he says hes a journalist yeah right and was googling a canine visual metaphor for fellaini but
    a) theyre collies in that picture not the hapless mongrel on a piece of string held by a homelss crack addict and
    b) still doesnt explain why his hand is down his trousers

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/manchester-united/10739481/Revealed-It-was-me-who-was-caught-looking-at-dogs-rather-than-the-football-at-Old-Trafford...-and-heres-why.html

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  15. Tee hee

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/ireland/10739277/Device-exploded-in-bombers-face-after-he-forgot-about-clocks-changing.html

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  16. Has the world gone mad or was it always so?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/poland/10736999/Lego-is-a-tool-of-Satan-warns-Polish-priest.html

    Its like its April 1st all year round

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    1. Well he would say that wouldn't he, him being a minister of the Holy Order of Our Lady of Meccano.

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    2. Perhaps he was confusing Lego with Legover?

      Spider

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    3. and the Polish prince of Darkness knows a few priests that can show the kids much better things to play with?

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    4. The world is fine Blog, can't say the same for the fucking imbeciles that inhabit it unfortunately.

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  17. Good luck Bells, I know you're out there. One of those rare occasions when I hope your shower gets a win.

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  18. First!! (on Apr 3).
    Where the hell is everybody?

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  19. Bo was first but the real question is will you be first on May 11th at 4.50pm?

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    1. Trottsky you sonofabitch. Just for that I'm gonna check to championship table now to see how Bolton are doing.

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    2. don't bother, we're in the third year of a 20 year rebuilding phase. You know how those work.

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    3. Not unless you actually won something 3 years ago.

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    4. no, that was just when they realised we needed a 20 year plan.

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    5. Are you trying to steal my glory AH

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  20. Trotts, I thought the 20 year plan was the wait for Holden to be healthy.

    A weekend without the Premier League for me due to a week or so of travel for work... oh well, nothing important to miss since Chelsea have thrown it away already. If you find yourself in Philadelphia or New Orleans and you're dying for some exciting mathematics education research... Or not.

    Enjoy the weekend, everyone.

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    1. based on data available so far, that'd be a 60 year plan

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  21. I love a good conspiracy theory. The latest one (up to 30 minutes ago at least) involves Malaysian airliner MH370 and the little known, highly secretive US military base on the island of Diego Garcia (leased from Britain apparently). Motives for the hi-jacking by US military range from OS patents to secret arms information which would have fallen into Chinese hands had the flight been allowed to take it scheduled route. Isn't the Internets great.

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    1. i heard it was hijacked by Elvis Bo

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    2. I can corroborate this. I saw Elvis at Newark, asking for a one way ticket.

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    3. Here's an oldie-but-goodie that I recently heard repeated by a janitor at my school: Prince (the musician) was in a Middle East country giving a concert a week before 9/11, and he let slip that he expected to have some trouble getting home because the towers were going to fall. He was privy to this information because of his status as a card-carrying member of the Illuminati.

      My question - why is it always janitors who are telling me this weird stuff? My favorite was a gentleman who told me he was involved in some arcane process that would make him a "true citizen of America" and thus exempt him from taxation. I presume that would mean his vote would actually count, as well.

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    4. you just have to prove that you're a native American Indian.
      I come in peace. How.
      Yours sincerely, Dances With Pigs.

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    5. More to the point Scott, why are you always hanging around with janitors?

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  22. http://www.wsc.co.uk/wsc-daily/1176-april-2014/11382-ipswich-finally-daring-to-hope-under-mick-mccarthy

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    1. Daring to hope that he'll go away?

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  23. AH I think you're going to have to admit that your were a better and nicer person when your team was shit.

    People are starting to like Man u fans now - being the butt of so many jokes is so..humanising. i know its a national failing - the stubborn refusal to take anything completely seriously (which is why as the psychopath Joey Barton says rooney who is more naturally talented than ronaldo, isnt as good as him) but i like it.

    by that measure of inverse success-of-your-team-vs-personal-attributes i must be some kind of amazing diamond geezer/best thing there is

    on joey, I do think he has the warrior gene Monoamine oxidase A (aka MAO-A) and I do think his consequent psychopathic were triggered by a tough/borderline abusive past (in fact there was recently a precedent set in the states where Bradley Waldroup was not executed because he has the warrior gene + was abused in childhood) but i'm sick of seeing Barton excusing his behaviour as being a product of his environment.

    His superficial charm, inch-deep intellect, manipulative behaviour, poor impulse control, violent tendencies and general lack of empathy are classic psychopath and lots of people grow up oin those kind of envirnments - I'm one of them - and don't exhibit this form of abusive behaviour.

    Now where's my machete?

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    1. Just in case my mum is an avid reader of this blog I'd just like to clarify that blurted-out post by saying my childhood wasnt abusive - i was poetically exaggerating life on the Norton estate which is in a state of permanent tribal warfare with the Chell Heath estate.

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    2. Don't worry blogs, once Carroll gets the injury time winner against us on Sunday, I shall be back to normal.

      Joey Barton will always be himself, the question really has to be asked of the reporters soliciting his opinion and then publishing them.

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    3. It never fails to amuse/amaze me when people blame external forces to justify their behavior... is it so fucking difficult to take responsibility for your own actions. It stems from the babbling's of the sexually frustrated Freud of course. The only thing he said that makes any sense is “America is a mistake, a giant mistake.” ... my apologies to our American friends here at Robbo's.

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    4. America wasn't a mistake Bo. She was planned.

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    5. Nobody plans for a fuck-up Trott except.... yep, maybe you are right.

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  24. Manchester United's Wayne Rooney will miss Saturday's game at Newcastle with a toe injury and is a doubt for the Champions League.
    -------------------------------------------------------------
    What the hell is happening to all the super stars? First Zlatan, then Cristiano Ronaldo and now Rooney. Joey Barton will probably be next at this rate.

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  25. This thing arsene has got about hair loss remedies exacerbating injuries, is it a subtle dig at Wayne Rooney?

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    Replies
    1. Are long haired players better than baldies who wish they weren't? Is this part of the psychological profiling at transfer

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  26. 2-0 down at half time. I'm hoping the cliche about football being a game of two halves rings true today... not feeling confident though.

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    1. Just how bald are these hairy arsenal players anyway?
      3-0 down and losing 4th place to Martinez will surely lose arsene the support of even his most stalwart supporters ... its like the Maria Miller debacle, when the same question keeps getting asked, the answer starts to become obvious.

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  27. I think I need a cigarette after that Everton performance - positive and brimming with confidence. Taking a tip from AH, cart not before horse, not thinking about the end of the season, just a lovely performance today.

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    1. Arteta probably needs one too.

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    2. Loved that Baines got on him (whoa, there!) after the incident, and that Barkley showed a cool head, for a younger man.

      Thought West Ham worked their socks off today, but fair result on balance. Carroll leaping in with his arm, clearly not pushed into Filet-Mignon in any way. Hand of Clod. Say, Robbo, that could be a nice title for the next blog. Just post that check to "Scott," and address it to "the big space between New York and Los Angeles."

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  28. So, the Spanish Archer culls the last remaining non-white manager in English top-level football. Looks like the canaries are going down if they don't beat Fulham and may still go down even if they do, given their run-in.

    Spider

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  29. Ninety who could win it? Anybody. Mathematically spurs could still win it. Will man city buy out man it'd in the transfer window and make them play in pink ballet gear? And don't even get me started on Nagorno-Karabakh....

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  30. I'm going to go against my better judgement and say that with 5 games to go and a 10 point lead against 4th placed Arsenal, we have got our CL spot sewn up. As for the league, Man City are now full strength with Aguero back and no other competition to play in, so they are still favorites and you can never rule out Jose till the fat lady has sung, so I'll be thrilled to take 2nd spot and very happy to occupy 3rd. However, if we manage to nick a victory against city on the weekend, it will make things very interesting indeed.

    I also have to say it would be absolutely marvelous if the toffees make it to Europe too. Two young managers with little money to spend and exciting football to watch, making it to the CL would be fantastic for the game.

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    1. oh ye of little faith. Just invest yourself in nothing less than 1st place. All in. Unless you risk devastating emotional breakdown you're not a real fan.

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    2. Hmm, not sure about devastating emotional breakdown, but if we win next week, I might just have to start smoking to be able to get through the last 4 games.

      In other news, apologies to Chris Hughton for mentioning what a great job he's been doing. I seem to have the Robbo gift/curse.

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  31. ARSEnal.
    A very sad - ney livid - Rastafairy.

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    1. Hmm. 2 wins in the last 9 is not Champions league form. Even Spurs have won 4. Everton were undoubtedly the better team yesterday, and no one will want to go to Goodison. I see even AH is impressed (he's probably seen they have to play Citeh yet!).

      Wonder what happens with Wenger if the Gooners don't get a Champions League place?



      Jedi

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  32. Everton were the better team, 3 goals better... I don't think so. The main difference between the two teams was confidence, or in Arsenal's case lack of. Everton didn't impress me, if they play that way against Citeh, they will lose. If,.. IF the gunners can get back their confidence and a little form, they will hold fourth spot come the end of the campaign.

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  33. Like I say trot don't get me STARTED on Nagorno-Karabakh.

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  34. I think you're right Bo its a confidence issue.those players are quality but they know they're second string and there's two syncing seeing mentalities 'ill prove to the twat I'm not second string' and'I'm second string' and this is the second of those second string things I've strung together

    Maybe its the pressure...they like to buy quality youngsters don't they arsenal, its good business because yuo can sell them on but wool always lack of been there done that experience when the heat is on. And the heat is on alright...no 4th AND no fa cup from this position and arsine is French toast. I think they'll do both btw but they need the first sting back in twanging the wire

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  35. Not sure if I agree with your string theory Blog, mainly because I couldn't unravel it.

    You have to be lucky when you buy "quality" young players. Sometimes they go on to be quality players but often they don't fulfill the promise shown at an early age.

    You are right Blog, lack of experience brings the younger player undone when under pressure. When the pressure is on character is as important as, if not more important than, skill

    The worse thing about finishing outside the top four is it makes it difficult to attract quality players (youth players not included.) That's also a problem when you are not winning trophies. Most top players are pretty mercenary where moolah is concerned but they also want to fill their cabinets with trophies. Title winning teams attract the top players. We have attracted some top quality players but due to a few trophy-less they moved on to greener pastures.

    .

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  36. Moyes is like one of those "quality" youngsters mentioned above. He showed a lot of promise but destined never to developed into a top manager. Under him Un**ed are set to emulate his previous team, Everton.... never quite good enough to break into the top four. Maybe Martinez will prove to be cast from the same mold. Time will tell with both men.

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    1. The difference might be that, when Martinez had a chance to win a trophy (the FA Cup) he took it. Moyes won f**k all at Everton (and is continuing that fine record at Man U).


      Jedi

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    2. Moyes is easily the best manager they've had since Fergie and he'll have a statue of himself erected when they win at Munich.

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  37. http://www.wsc.co.uk/wsc-daily/1176-april-2014/11388-on-this-day-in-history-division-one-2000

    I think this was the last time we played The Valiants.

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  38. Jose does it again. Bells will surely be out here soon.

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  39. Jose does it again. Bells will surely be out here soon.

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  40. Jose does it again. Bells will surely be out here soon

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  41. Jose does it again. Bells will surely be out here soon

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  42. You need to put egg cartons on the walls Robbo, theres an echo in here

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  43. I just had a moment of madness and read McNumpty's report on the Everton Arsenal match. All I can say is, the televised version was different to the live version.

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  44. The old adage, "It's not what you know, but who you know," is certainly true here in the Philippines. Since I have been here, knowing people having connections has saved me a lot of time and hassle (at a cost mind you.) Most recently; I had to register my vehicle at the Land Transport Office. This can take up to a whole day to complete. With the aid of a friend I accomplished this task in less than an hour at a cost of 500 pesos. I drew the line, however, at paying an extra 7000 pesos to procure a drivers licence, instead opting to go through normal channels at a cost 8 hours of my time and 680 pesos .

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  45. The reason Bells isn't here is that she's got The Yummy One's touchline sprint on auto rewind and she just can't take her eyes off it!

    Spider

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  46. I am possibly the futherist thing from a Chelsea fan, they embody everything that's wrong with football.......

    But, fairs fair, they got it spot on yesterday.

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  47. And before I forget.

    Well done to Everton, they got exactly what they deserved out of that game Sunday, as did Arsenal.

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