While Torres is on top of the world, Bebe does an Ali Daia, Hargreaves checks back into sick bay and Andy Carroll doesn't know whether he's England's new saviour or going to jail.
A good week for Fernando Torres
As much as it brings me close to death to admit it, Liverpool deserved their victory and Torres looked like himself again. That could be enough to get into the Champions League if the performance wasn’t a fluke, but then what happens with Roy? The shamelessly fickle fans might have to do their usual shifty shuffle of received wisdom, and pretend they were happy with him from the start.
Good week for Mike Phelan as Bebe does an Ali Dia
Manchester United have a history of letting coaches go to manage elsewhere, only to let them back. It makes sense, grudges are worth even less than the age of consent in football circles. The most important coach for United recently is Carlos Queiroz, shaping them into a side that won the Champions League and title one year, and the league the next. After inevitable failure at Portugal, Queiroz is available and could be asked to replace Mike Phelan and his challengingly tight dugout outfit. First problem – Queiroz recommended Ferguson sign Bebe. Second problem – Bebe is bobbins. He plays and looks like cattle. Given that Anderson and Nani – recommendations from the Portuguese – have been expensively inconsistent, it might be that Fergie, and more realistically the penny-conscious Glazers, won’t want him.
A bad week for Fergie’s man-management as he kicks Hargreaves when he’s down
Consider this: United played both a reserve game and an easy European game in midweek. The only game they had to win was against Wolves, and Ferguson chose a clearly unfit Hargreaves for that game. When he inevitably pulled up, he chose the words, ‘a disaster.’ Either this was staggeringly silly or cynically impatient and disrepectful behaviour. Hargreaves is likely close to retirement, but that decision was deeply unfair.
A bad week for Daniel Levy’s bottom line as Harry needs players
With Modric, Bale of Britain, Pavlyuchenko (whether Harry Redknapp thinks so or not), Van der Vaart and Gomes, Tottenham can put together a team a team to take care of European matches with fair ease. However it’s still clear that after European games, the time when even the Big Three struggle, they don’t have enough players to reinvigorate the side. Bentley, Crouch, Assou-Ekotto and Jenas are staid players, capable of more or less holding it together in a side with excellent players. When those players in Spurs’ side misfire, the mediocre will bring the side to defeat or draw. Harry Redknapp has never been shy in the transfer market, and now he has another reason to harp on about not having enough players. This time, he’d have a legitimate case. Which is really annoying, because I like seeing Court Case Redknapp suffer for all the damage he’s done to football, and on a wider scale, humanity.
Bad week for Manchester City as they stay true to their heritage of farce
Whatever City did against West Brom, it wouldn’t really make a positive difference to Mancini’s position. Win, and they’d have done the least they should. Lose or draw and things get worse. Whatever happens, for a full two weeks now, there’s been no respite from the pressure from the Wednesday derby. They won comfortably at West Brom, but still managed to implode, the loony Balotelli stamping his way to a dismissal. In the papers Mancini says we’re all after him because he’s Italian; he’s losing it even faster than Tevez. The English players are on the piss and the foreigners don’t rate the manager. Garry Cook is still employed. The derby is preposterously important for both sides.
Bad week for Avram Grant as his limits become clear
Avram Grant took a fine Chelsea squad to close second in the league and still closer second in the Champions League. Understandably, when he was ejected at Chelsea many thought he’d got a raw deal. But consider this, when he took over at West Ham he took over a misfiring, patchy side and kept them as misfiring and patchy. They might well go down, but they’re no better or worse than last year. Perhaps Avram Grant wasn’t mistreated, and maybe he isn’t a bad manager, but it looks alarmingly like he’s a man to put in charge when you want absolutely no change in your team’s performance. Last year, that was enough for West Ham to stay up, but Green’s form now is a weekly clanger. They’re going down.
A hapless manchild shambles of a mixed bag week for Andy Carroll after making News of the World’s pages again.
A fine performance to beat Arsenal. But after Sunday’s tabloid story, however unconvincing, Andy Carroll is now in a squad with Joey Barton and seen as the troublemaker – that’s England form. Call him up Fabio, you daft foreigner; it’s what Churchill died in the war for.
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