What price us doing it for ourselves?


So what is Djibril feeling this morning? Anguish at Olympique de Marseille’s spectacular failure last night – losing 3-1 at home to Lyon (see it below) and now looking unlikely French champions – or a told-you-so thought or two about OM’s stupidity in not having kept him to be sure of success?

Amid the debris of OM’s weekend, I came across the name of Anthony Le Tallec, who scored twice for Le Mans in their game against OM’s rivals for the title, Bordeaux. Le Mans still lost 3-2 and remain a bit like us, nervously looking over their shoulders at the bottom three places.

But Le Tallec – pictured at the French football blog Pleine Lucarne – obviously has something we saw little of at Sunderland since he also got a goal for Le Mans a few weeks ago against Lyon. I stand to be corrected* but remember only one for us (against Fulham in our solitary home win when we last went down); three in a month or so against top three sides, albeit in France, suggests a man who knows where the goal is.

* And have just been corrected. At the Blackcats forum, Terry McLoughlin tells me he scored three League goals, one FA Cup goal and one League Cup goal for us. Mick Gouldings adds: “Actually, I believe he was top scorer, or joint top scorer for us for the season, with something like 4, 5 or 6 goals – most of which were in the League Cup.”

All designed to keep my mind off tonight and Sunday. Results at the end of bad seasons have so often gone against us – Coventry beating Spurs away as we lost to Wimbledon; the shameful Jimmy Hill epsiode at Coventry v Bristol City after we lost to Everton, our game having kicked off a quarter of an hour earlier – that it seems rash in the extreme to assume that between them, Villa and Man United, will do it for us on Sunday.

We need only one of them to win, after all.

But I can honestly see Newcastle getting a result. If that happened, the tension would be unbearable unless Man Utd were romping to victory on Humberside.

Or unless there were some other factor that our team’s shocking season has made us regard as the least likely of all: three points tonight or against Chelsea.

Logic is not on our side. It is not even certain that we deserve salvation any more than the other wretched teams scrapping it out at the bottom. You can apparently hedge your bets and get 10-1 on us still to go down.

So we have to pin our hopes – if we are to do it for ourselves – on a performance of immense heart or outrageous good fortune (don’t mind which) at Fratton Park tonight or the SoL at the weekend.

And if that means Djibril Cissé signing off with a goal or two, so much the better as long as it gets us at least one win.

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