And so it continues. Five minutes ago Man City and Chelski were just expensively-assembled specks in the distance; but three hard-earned wins later and we now pose them a problem they will be unable to solve simply by reaching for the wallet and hurling foreign currency around. Take that, you rotters.And Yet It All Began So Ominously…
Victory away to a top-seven time without the assistance of the entire first- choice midfield is most certainly the stuff of which Top Four finishes are made, although in time-honoured fashion we spent most of the first half complicating things for ourselves. With Gallas having discovered a laudably original way to create chaos in defence, the Bale-Hudd-M-Modder-VDV shaped hole in midfield was rather prominent in a first half in which glimpses of scything one-touch football were all too fleeting.
Sandro may have ended the game like a runaway juggernaut but in the early stages he seemed unable to handle the pace of the game. Alongside him Jenas was turning in a performance of the infuriating ilk, shocked at the concept of taking the game by the scruff of the neck even when we trailed, and instead sticking to a deep-lying role of sideways and backwards passing, while switching his shooting radar to a spot about 17 feet skywards. The pair of them looked well set for glory at the Lease Effective Central Midfield Combo The Premiership Has Ever Seen awards, forcing Niko Kranjcar to come ambling infield to offer silky assistance all too often.
Ask And You Shall Receive
Mercifully, albeit rather spookily,
my pre-march plea for a set-piece goal for just about the first time since we won the Double was answered, in what turned out to be the only recorded incident of a goalkeeper being nutmegged by a header in the history of everything anywhere. While I hesitate to suggest that ‘Arry’s pre-game kick-off comprises simply reading from the pages of AANP, i will nevertheless include a more ornate wish-list ahead of the Milan game, including a return to fitness of Ledley and hat-trick for Benny.Today’s Youth: Admiring of Niko Kranjcar
If Niko Kranjcar thinks that will be enough to usurp Bale, Modric and VDV in the pecking order someone may need to sit him down and have a gentle conversation, but the chap’s quality is indisputable, and he is certainly making a case for at least a spot of squad rotation. Classy touches and a healthy workrate (Pav take note) are his modus operandi, and as we edged on top in the second half he and Sandro were instrumental.
That goal was something special too, its sheer gorgeousness making it a rather suitable valentine’s present for last-minute panicking types. The young hoodie-wearing chap next to me in the pub greeted its replay with a squeal of “Tekkers!” an expostulation which conjured up vague images of a 90s computer game, but which I have since been reliably informed by chums better versed in such vernacular is a reference to quite impeccable technique, and effectively represents a doffing of one’s hat in admiration. As such I can only concur. Tekkers indeed.
Job done thrice over, and Milan now beckons (I don’t wish to cast aspersions on his integrity, but I have a sneaking suspicion that when ‘Arry confidently asserts that Bale will be out injured he is doing so with something of a poker face, lovable rogue that he is). This one may not have been as memorable as, for example, the win at the Emirates, but given the absentees it deserves a spot of prominence within the pantheon of mightily impressive performances of 2010-11. Come on you Fulham…