After yesterday’s draw at home to Sunderland, United have now dropped five points this season. Liverpool have dropped six and Chelsea three. With the latter two meeting this afternoon, at least one of those numbers will increase.
We’ve dropped six, but bearing in mind we’ve already travelled to United, City, Everton and Fulham in our first six games, that’s a pretty favourable number compared to the rest. While the others have dropped points in matches you would expect them to win, we’ve picked up the three points in every game against teams other than the Champions League contenders.
We need to keep that up this afternoon against Blackburn, whose game plan will be entirely predictable – Allardyce knows no other way than to go for a physical approach, instructing his midfield to break up play whenever possible, and relying on set pieces for their chances.
One of those tough-tackling midfielders will be missing today, Grella serving a suspension for applying the tactic too heavily against Villa last weekend, but any Allardyce side has plenty more in that mould.
In fact, everywhere you look in their team you’ll find reasons to dislike them. There’s Pedersen, and this ridiculous dive from last season:
Then there’s Diouf, and his attempt to break Almunia’s ankle:
Diouf, of course, recently got into hot water by claiming the Everton fans had thrown bananas at him, a suggestion that he made to defend himself for abusing a ball boy and one that was rubbished thanks to the multitude of cameras covering every inch of the ground. Personally, I think playing the race card for no reason is as bad as actually saying or doing something racist, and should be punished accordingly. Maybe that’s just me.
Anyway, the team news has Walcott and Bendtner back in the squad, while Eduardo misses a couple of weeks with a thigh injury. With an international break coming up after this game, we shouldn’t be too concerned about that. As for the two returning, Bendtner may start but I’d be surprised to see Walcott play more than twenty minutes at the end.
We’ve got history with Blackburn, and history with Allardyce. Here’s hoping for a comprehensive victory that makes him boil with rage on the sidelines.
Away from the game, and we have Adebayor continuing his one man crusade to prove to everyone that he’s lost all grip on reality. Any sensible man would knuckle down and keep quiet after the fortnight he’s had, and in truth any club should instruct him to do just that. But he’s back, with more inflammatory comments:
“They have punished me for celebrating a goal and I accept it, but I think it is excessive.”
Cracking acceptance there.
“I don’t want to talk about Arsenal at the moment. I remind them that we beat them 4-2, that’s all.”
Idiot. What a way to thank a club that turned him from a nobody to the player he is today, a manager that took a punt on him despite warnings as to his character, and a set of fans that certainly contained some that disliked him, but also plenty of others who supported him until the day he left.
Elsewhere, Alex Ferguson has read the FA rule that you can no longer criticise the performance of a referee, and come up with a new way to slag them off instead – their fitness. It’ll be interesting to see what comes of that little nugget.
We’re all set for a cracking day of football. Enjoy it, wherever you are.