Then Saturday Comes… the half decent football blog


Over-excitement and Warnock’s ghost

BenitezLIVERPOOL IN CRISIS! WO! WO!!!1!!1

The first round of Premierball soccer has passed, and as ever the first game seems to be overanalysed beyond belief.

Far too much hyperbole goes into games at the start of the season, due to understandable overexcitement for the opening fixtures.  Sadly most pundits think that the very first hurdle is an inevitable reflection for the next 37 matches, and if you lose the first game people seem to think you’ll lose all season.

Of course the biggest loss of the opening weekend was Liverpool, who lost 2-1 at Tottenham Hotspur.  How dare they.

The widely-held opinion is that if Liverpool match their performance last year they should win the title.  Manchester United have lost 50 goals a season in Tevez and Ronaldo, and although Valencia and Owen will keep them in the hunt it’s hard to see them amassing the same number of points as last year.

And now for ironic some overexcited predictions that I was lamenting earlier in the article.

predictionsIf it is accepted that Liverpool need to match what they did last season then the loss at White Hart Lane is irrelevant, as they were beaten there by the same score last year.  And then Spurs were bottom of the league, so in many ways this was a far ‘better’ loss than the one they previously suffered.

Liverpool will clearly be fine.  They will rack up at least five wins from their next six games (Stoke, Villa, Bolton, Burnley, West Ham, Hull) – and these are the games the title was lost in last season.

If anyone is doubting my predictions I would again like to refer you to my psychic football abilities.  Last week I successfully predicted 5/6 Premiership results (including the Spurs-Scouse one, which is probably why I’m not jumping on the ‘Liverpool in crisis’ bandwagon.

And unlike Lawro I’m happy to be held accountable for my predictions.

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You're my mate, Arsene

You're my mate, Arsene

ARSENE WENGER MERKS THE WORLD

Oops he did it again.

Arsene Wenger seems to have merked the footballing world, after a quiet summer brought about a stunning 6-1 win away at Everton (who lets not forget finished 5th last season).

This amazing result went some way to silence the critics who have said Wenger’s refusal to make any new signings will bring an end to their Champion’s League aspirations now that another team is bothering to break into the top four.  Hopefully they will do well this year as they are clearly the least financially psychotic of the top five.

Most neutrals have a begrudging respect for Arsenal because although they do buy their success by rampaging through rivals’ youth teams, it is a bit more respectable than just buying superstars willy nilly.

Still, I am sticking to my guns about Arsenal.  Although Tony ‘Cas’ Cascarino’s predictable lament in The Times that “they won’t like playing in February” is a bit over the top, there are still questions about the strength in depth at Arsenal.

But the signs are admittedly very good.  This Saturday they got on fantastically well despite already having six injuries in the first team squad (Walcott, Diaby, Djorou, Rosicky, Nasri and Fabianski).

It's Ebouuuuuuue!
It’s Ebouuuuuuue!

For this reason, this man is the most important person at the Emirates this season.

After a yo-yo type 2008/2009 campaign, Emmanuel Eboue is rumoured to be departing Arsenal before the end of the transfer window. The Ivorian, who was booed off by his own fans in November 2008, is said to be linked with a move to Serie A or La Liga.

The Ivory Coast international was their right back for a couple of years, but since the arrival of the consistent Bacary Sagna Eboue has had to make due with oppurtunity in the Arsenal midfield.

Eboue biggest assest is his versatility, the 26 year old is able to play pretty much any were on the pitch.  He is also quick and offers a good cross.  However Eboue feels his place at Arsenal is lost, but I am not so sure.  Yes, he’s not likely to break into the starting XI but he is a certain pick for a substitute’s role.  Also, every season we see their injury list pile up and Arsenal end up lacking an experienced head on the field.

With injuries likely to occurr, Eboue could see himself playing a major and senior role for Arsenal this season.

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GREAVESY WAS RIGHT, IT’S A FUNNY OLD GAME

Neil WarnockYet more proof that football is a scripted soap opera this week.

Everyone’s favourite pantomime baddy Neil Warnock was left fuming when a perfectly good Freddie Sears goals was ruled out by an inept referee during the game between Crystal Palace and Bristol City.  There’s not really too much to be said here, apart from that it’s obviously time technology was introduced to the game.  Surely they could put some sort of a chip in the ball that says when it crosses the line.

Anyway, here’s the said incident.

My favourite mental image of the season so far came from hearing that ‘arry Redknapp phoned up Warnock after the game for a quick chat.  You just knew they’d be friends didn’t you – and I’m super happy their friendship has outlived the whole John Bostick affair.  If only Israel/Palestine (or for that matter Tinchy Shryder/N-Dubz) could resolve their differences so amicably.

Anyway, here is what ‘arry said to NW (and bear in mind that these men are in charge of multi-million pound companies).

“No goal for that?  Tell me Neil, how long ago since we put a man on the moon?  Fifty years?”

Still it’s a fine triple question.

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