Pete Sixsmith welcomes the praise heaped on the Lads for their spirited peformance against Chelsea, but sternly reminds us that we still lost and are now deep in trouble
Not a phrase that is used very much nowadays. In fact, the only people I have heard it from are Captain Mainwaring in Dad’s Army and John Major, and some might regard those two as interchangeable.
The non-buttering of parsnips came to mind as I listened to the genuine and fulsome praise that Avram Grant and John Terry threw in our direction over the weekend. Phrases like “good side”, “great support” and “they should be ok at the end of the season” are all very well, but once again we took nothing from a game and we slipped a little closer to the Great Grimpen Mire that is the Championship.
It was a good performance, of that there is no doubt. It was good enough to push a very strong Chelsea side all the way and to make Terry and Lampard, who are the heartbeat of the team, show us why they are so highly rated.
There was hardly a weak link in the side that Keane put out. Those whose training was not as intensive as the manager would have liked were not missed. O’Donovan showed real promise and clearly prefers playing up front rather than being stuck out wide where his ability to run at players is hampered by that major inconvenience known as the touchline.
It was great to see Carlos back, although he is desperately short of match practice. At my age, I don’t really have “favourite players” but I do have the utmost respect for Carlos. I admire his attitude and demeanour and particularly his match winning skills. Need to see some of those at Villa and the Mags.
He did give us an option on the right flank as did Andy Reid on the left. I have rarely seen a top class player with the body shape of Reid, but he can play. He has great control and is always looking to make a pass that will open up a defence, something that has been sadly missing since Sean Thornton succumbed to the riotous night life of Ryhope.
Kenwyne is another player who has Premiership qualities. A Chelsea fan of my acquaintance described him as awesome, although he might not have been so enthusiastic if the two headers had been planted firmly in the net – as they should have been. He leads the line well and looked a much better player than the very disappointing Drogba, who looked like a man desperate for La Dolce Vita in Milan or Turin.
Good players who work hard and show a positive attitude are the way out of the relegation thicket. If players are “not as intensive in training as I would like” then don’t play them.
Fulham’s revival is a worry. They have taken four points from two difficult games and are back in the mixer. Bolton and the dreary Megson can’t get anything from 10 men and they go to Old Trafford on Wednesday. As a club they would not be missed. No away fans and not that many ay home. The same applies to Wigan, although I think that Mrs Doubtfire has the nous and the savvy to get them clear. Middlesbrough should be alright although it depends which referee wants the award for comedy red card of the week.
Realistically, the two places are between us, Reading, Bolton, Birmingham Fulham and the Mags. Tonight’s game against Birmingham is a biggie, so here’s hoping that McLeish and his boys are inspired by the arrival of the Toon Army and their portly chairman. It would maintain the pressure on KK – and we all know what happens when that is exerted.