After the mind-numbing inactivity of the summer, this international break brought us more excitement than we could shake a stick at. All initial joy at seeing Michael Dawson march out in the England starting line-up was pretty swiftly tempered by the sight of his knee and ankle turning in about eight different directions as he hit the turf. After his Cup Semi-Final slip last year, the poor blighter must be sitting in his hospital bed plotting how best to burn Wembley to the ground. On the bright side, it is a relief to know that an injury that looked potentially season-wrecking, to the admittedly untrained eye, will only bring about an absence of eight weeks or so.Further up the pitch, there was a dark lining to what had initially seemed a pretty silver cloud in Jermain Defoe world. His England hat-trick charmingly highlighted all that we love most about him – that insistence upon hitting the target hard and low – and, rather startlingly, he also added all manner of extra tricks to his repertoire, holding up the ball, bringing others into play and generally acting like a goalscoring version of Emile Heskey. Quite bizarre. However, it ended with an ankle knock that some dark sources suggest will keep him out for several weeks. The disclaimer to bear in mind here is that a couple of weeks ago he supposedly needed groin surgery, before deciding that actually he was fine and dandy.
After three months of frustration we can now sink our teeth into some shiny new signings. We finally have a face to apply to the name Sandro, and although he may require five minutes or so to bed into the North London way of things, hopes are high that he will prove to be essentially an improved model of Sergeant Wilson. I also look forward to seeing more of his magnificent goatee.
AANP Towers also throws open its doors to welcome into town Rafael van der Vaart and his delectable wife. Not entirely sure how ‘Arry plans to shunt his new recruit, Modders, Kranjcar, Hudd, Sergeant Wilson and Sandro into central midfield, and furthermore the transfer hardly solves the problem of our lack of a hulking big centre-forward to lead the line, but I have no problem with the addition of quality personnel.
Three Points RequiredAmidst all the excitement it is easy to forget the little matter of a trip to West Brom on Saturday. No matter the distractions of our midweek Champions League jamboree, three points are fairly blinking important after the Wigan debacle last time out. ‘Arry has displayed something of a reluctance to rotate his squad unless forced to by injuries, but with games coming thick and fast this autumn he may opt for some pick-and-mixing in the coming weeks.AANP on Holiday
Parish noticeboard – AANP has taken off to the land of Kasey Keller for a couple of weeks, so match reports might be at a premium.