December 27, 2013

One In, One Out

So we weren't top of the league for Christmas, but I've always liked Boxing Day more anyway, so to be top then seems sweeter.

I didn't realise it was Aaron Ramsey's birthday until afterwards, but perhaps we can turn his seemingly negative experience into a positive. He managed to barely walk off the pitch with what looked like a serious thigh injury late into the second half, and when I saw him bent over trying to catch his breath earlier in the half I can't say I was surprised when he ended up being substituted. He's played almost every minute of every game so far this season, and perhaps this was a game he needed to sit out.

Hopefully it's not too serious, but the good thing is he gets a rest for a while. As long as it's not a tear we should see him back early to mid January, so lets keep out fingers and toes crossed on that one. But again, he was owed a rest and it seems to have been forced on the manager now.

The good thing, if not great thing is Podo Baggins has returned to the team in emphatic style. Lukas Podolski had barely played in the 2013/14 season before he suffered a quite dramatic hamstring tear seeing him sit out for four months. To see the funny man sit on the bench, smiling of course, got me all excited and for good reason. The moment he stepped onto the field against West Ham the game seemed to change.

When the Hammers' keeper made save after save I feared it was going to be one of those days, but perhaps the set of fresh legs gave the team the boost it needed. His cross to Walcott was pretty, and the English winger headed it in with aplomb. Then Podolski got one for himself which will no doubt give him confidence on his return to the team. 

It's always tricky for a player coming back from injury, especially a serious one like that, so getting a goal early on, along with a solid substitute performance can only be a good thing. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I didn't think Walcott was getting enough minutes and with him and Podo both back in the team, playing well, I think that makes the loss of Ramsey a lot less devastating.

We've got Newcastle, Cardiff and then the fumbling Sp*rs all in the next 6 days. A nice (hopefully relatively short) rest for Rambo and the return to form of Walcott, throw in a sprinkle of fitness from Podo and we might just make it though this Holiday fixture bonanza in good shape. This is truly a defining time of the season, so if we can weather the storm and watch the surrounding teams struggle through their fixtures and hopefully drop a couple of points I'll be extremely happy come mid January. 

Clearly the team to beat this season is Manchester Citeh, with their Football Manager™ approach to real life. I don't see Liverpool going the distance, even if the Suarez The Racist is in lightening form, and I think the best Man United can do this year is 3rd. Chelski will be there at the end of the season, I'm sure, but I can't help but think 'The Special One' is going to prove too much of a distraction for the players this year. 

The Portuguese equivalent of Oprah Winfrey has come back to the Premiership this year thinking he'll just jump right back in where he left off. What Jose Mourinho failed to realise was that shit has changed since he left in 2007. He's getting old, bitchy and I feel his time as a top flight manager is coming to an end. His attempt to deflect comments about Chelski being boring onto Arsenal were embarrassing and made him look feeble. Jose, you just came out and called Arsenal, a team that has been one of the most entertaining in football over the last decade, a team that has scored more goals than you this season, boring. I'd love for him to elaborate on his admission that Chelski 'played not to lose' at the Emirates on Monday, while also explaining why they offer Buy Two Get One tickets at Stamford Bridge because nobody wants to watch his team of oafs trot around pretending to play football. 

Stamford Bridge barely holds more than 40,000 people and only sell all their tickets when good teams like The Arsenal go to play there. The Emirates, on the other hand, holds over 60,000 people and sells out every single Premiership game, with a multi-year waiting list on season tickets. Now, Jose, tell me who's boring?

The more that poor, desperate bastard talks the better in my opinion. Every mumbled, barely legitimate word that comes out of his mouth just makes the laughs around the rest of the league louder. Keep up the entertainment, special one, because your team certainly isn't.

Top of the League again, and seemingly regaining momentum! May Podo Baggins lead his Red & White Army forward to middle earth (Newcastle) to earn our next 3 points!