Interesting Weekend

I go back to how Michael wiped out the Corleone family’s enemies. As stated previously – certainly not in the extreme context of mob crimes – we have also closed a few accounts recently. We can add Newcastle to the list. They now lie 18th and are in serious relegation trouble. I love it.

The match yesterday was an open affair. Newcastle gave us a tough time in the first half. We tore them apart in the second half and it could have been much worse than the 3-1 score line. While watching, I made a few mental notes that I’d like to share with you.

• Chris Hughton – Do you know what are you are doing? The man has been an assistant for what seems like forever. He is now substituting for Joe Kinnear as the Newcastle boss convalesces. Hughton is obviously not manager material. If his ‘assistant only’ credentials don’t prove it, his demeanor on the touch line does.

• Paul Walsh – Please retire from broadcasting. The ex-Spurs man has been grating my nerves for some time but yesterday’s comment about Denis Bergkamp’s memorable goal at St. James’s Park in 2002 pushed matters further along. I have never liked the man as player or commentator. Now he’s had the gall to state “but did he mean it?” when the match announcer noted that Newcastle was the site of The Iceman’s amazing spin around Nikos Dabizas to score a truly classic goal. And how typical of an Arsenal hater to suggest that our second goal yesterday, albeit a product of the type of quick movement and fluid passing (my words, not his exactly) that we like to play, was tainted somewhat because Newcastle were temporarily down to nine men.

• Gael Clichy – Allez Gael! Our left back is looking more like the player voted Best Left Back in the EPL last season. I wonder if he just needed some rest or if a certain Mr. Gibbs should be given credit for Clichy’s noticeable improvement.

• Nicklas Bendtner – It’s obvious that Mr. Wenger likes the boy and has faith in him. It’s convincing most Arsenal fans and neutrals that is proving to be a tough task. Bendtner has not made it easy, despite scoring 12 goals in all competitions so far. He misses the majority of his chances. This might shock some people but Bendtner’s misses don’t worry me. The reasons are simple; we can score goals with or without him, and more central to the argument for Bendtner is that he gets chance after chance. If he wasn’t in the right position, that would worry me. He is doing the right things off the ball. Finishing is where it often goes wrong for him. He needs three things to be a top marksman – a better first touch, composure, and more games. All three are attainable. He’s just 21. Imagine his goals tally when he learns to convert at a higher rate.

• Manuel Almunia – I was happy to see him respond aggressively to the odious El-Hadji Diouf’s attempt to break his ankle last week. I am equally pleased to see that he is more active on crosses and more vocal. Good signs. In fact, a great man asked me recently if I feel that we need to buy a keeper? On current form, Almunia and Fabianski are giving me cause to say perhaps we do not need to. Long may it last.

Finally, I feel the need to say a few things about our rivals. I made time to watch Spurs vs Chelsea and caught the lowlights of the Fulham vs United affair. Guffaw!

Chelsea looked like a spent force. They still have marvelous players in Essien, Terry, Cech, and Fat Frank and obviously Anelka and Drogba can do serious damage, but they looked like a shadow of what they were under Jose Mourinho. Tottenham escaped because of some dreadful finishing by Chelsea but they were able to boss large parts of the game and could have scored more goals.

Paul Scholes looked like a volleyball player as he attempted to save a goal bound header. He had good intentions in trying to prevent Fulham from scoring but how much more blatant can you get?

Wayne Rooney showed his true side yesterday. He has now become the third Manchester United player to be sent off in two matches. Are we witnessing the great implosion?

I’ve found myself not wishing Spurs would lose and wanting Liverpool to win.

A strange but interesting weekend!

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