Today is a truly massive day in the Premiership. Once again, all three contenders feature on the Saturday, and the meeting of United and Chelsea at lunchtime means that a win for us at home to Wolves later on guarantees gaining ground on at least one of them.
United sitting top of the league is deceptive, in my opinion, and if one of the two has to win today’s match, I want it to be them. Frankly, if Chelsea win, I would consider us all but out of the race – I just can’t see them dropping many more points, especially now that they’re out of the Champions League. Three home games against Bolton, Stoke and Wigan are bankers, and whilst our hope lies in their trips to Spurs and Liverpool, I think we need them to start slipping up today.
United, on the other hand, have plenty more banana skins. A trip to Blackburn next weekend, three days after their second leg against Bayern, is tricky, and their next game is away at City. After that, they face Spurs and a trip to Sunderland. Honestly, I would go into all those games with hope.
Ideally, of course, we want them to draw today. Then, a win would bring us back within two points, and would require just one more slip from both to let us back in. We would have to be flawless, but that we’re even in it at this stage is remarkable.
Whatever happens at lunchtime, we simply have to beat Wolves this afternoon. Rotation is likely, with Eboue and Silvestre possible starters at the back, and Rosicky and Eduardo likely to feature further forward. Whether Walcott plays from the first minute depends largely on Wenger’s plans for Tuesday.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many options in midfield. With Cesc, Arshavin and Ramsey missing for an extended period, and Rosicky probably needed in the front three, Song, Nasri, Diaby and Denilson will be required from now to the end. Nasri in particular needs to replace Cesc’s creative brilliance, while we desperately need someone to score the goals that Cesc and Arshavin have been supplying. As pointed out on East Lower, the scorers of half our goals this season are now injured.
Some are writing this afternoon off as a freebie, but Wolves are in decent form, unbeaten in four, and are more of a threat than you might think. The odds on us winning are so short that they aren’t worth looking at, but one bet stood out a mile to me.
Samir Nasri is 12/5 to score at anytime this afternoon with Sportingbet. That puts him tenthmost likely in our team alone, which seems ludicrous given the role he is likely to play. In fact, his odds of scoring are longer than Cesc, Eduardo, Arshavin, Vela and bizarrely, Fran Merida. I’m sure you can see the strangeness of that particular list.
Incidentally, if you think he’ll score first, he is still listed as our tenth most likely, at 15/2. I’m having some of that too.
Elsewhere, Raymond Domenech has branded Wenger ‘irresponsible’for playing Gallas on Wednesday night:
“I’m livid and p***ed off. It’s outrageous and irresponsible to have played him so early after the injury. It’s scandalous. He better be fit for the World Cup.”
There are so many things wrong with this:
- He’s our player. We pay his wages.
- He was declared fit.
- The player himself wanted to play.
- Domenech is a clown, who has a history of playing our injured players in friendlies
The man is an idiot, and frankly is worth no more of our time.
So with that, enjoy the football today, and if you haven’t already, get betting on Nasri to score. It helps pay for the server that runs this blog, so you’d be helping me out, and with odds like that, you’re likely to get a return too. Everyone’s a winner.
Enjoy the game.