Chelsea v Liverpool
So much for the all English Champions League quarter final being a tight affair. What a game. What entertainment. What belief from Liverpool to race in to a 2 – 0 lead on the night and what bravery from Hiddink to replace Salomon Kalou with Nicolas Anelka after just 35 minutes. I’d have loved to hear his half time team talk as well. Talk about a coach earning his money. It seems churlish to raise questions after 90 minutes if brilliant entertainment but from a Liverpool perspective, where was Torres and what has happened to Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech? Flappy or what? Thank goodness that John Terry will be back for the Blues for the meeting with Barcelona.
PFA means FA
The nominations are in and we now know that 5 of the 6 finalists in the running for the PFA award are Manchester United players with the other coming from Liverpool. If you hadn’t heard, United are represented by Ryan Giggs, Nemanja Vidic, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rio Ferdinand and Edwin van der Sar with Steven Gerrard the one from Merseyside. The trouble with the list is that it’s all a bit previous. Nominations have to be in by mid March which means most votes were counted in February. Back then, for example, Vidic was superb but he was subsequently destroyed by Fernando Torres at Old Trafford. Similarly, van der Sar didn’t concede a goal for about 8 years but has since let in 11 in 5 games. And what if Frank Lampard or John Terry should lead Chelsea to Champions League glory? Shouldn’t the player of the year actually be exactly that – the player of the entire season?
Patience isn’t a given, Shay
The Manchester City goalkeeper Shay Given has appealed for the club’s supporters to show patience as they wait for some better results to come. The influx of money from overseas certainly raised expectations at Eastlands but so far, the season has been generally disappointing. Given said “People automatically feel we are a top-six team because we are one of the richest clubs in the world. In years to come I think this will be a great club to be involved with. But Rome was not built in a day.” As the excellent Daily Bung points out in the Daily Telegraph, Rome may not have sprung up over night but Given should remember that many parts of downtown Abu Dhabi did!
Up and down
The most redundant newspaper headline of the week centered on the Wolves manager as were informed that Mick McCarthy was ‘not getting carried away’. The former Republic of Ireland boss has guided Wanderers to within one win of the Premier League but is staying ‘grounded’. To borrow a phrase from Monty Python, I imagine that a man such as McCarthy would stay grounded if even if you put 50,000 volts through him. Going the other way are Luton Town who have lost their Football League status. As their manager Mick Harford said this week, this is not the fault of the current staff, but of those who have gone before. If Luton can show the kind of spirit that won them the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy in a superb final against Scunthorpe, it surely won’t be too long before the Hatters are back in League Two.