January Transfer Mayhem – Are you ready?

This morning I found myself in a greasy spoon in Waterloo reading the Sun. The backpage was dominated by two stories. The first, Aston Villa's increasingly frustrating period of fortune continuing. More on this later. The second, Arsenal's £12 million bid for Everton's Mikel Arteta. I sincerely hope this is true, and am inclined to believe it (wishful thinking or not).

For me personally, Arteta stands out as an exceptional player with high quality and talent. I have always thought he would be a perfect Arsenal player. Why and how on earth he is still at Everton is beyond me. I don't mean to disrespect Everton, but this guy is a fantastic footballer and he deserves to be playing for a team that challenges for titles and that competes in Europe's top competitions.

Arteta would be a perfect signing because he would need no adaptation period to settle in to the Premier League, and he has vision and skill akin to Cesc. However, Arteta would need to be one of several signings (at least two more needed) in order for us to turn this season around.

We still need that Flamini/Vieira/Mascherano-type holding midfielder. As much as I think Song and Denlison have vastly improved in the last few weeks, we are still showing an incapability to finish off games, and defend narrow leads. We need someone who has the grit and determination, and experience, to help us with this frailty. For me, these two players are a minimum requirement for us in January, but it would be nice to bring in another winger to compensate for the long-term losses of Rosicky and Walcott.

Aston Villa. People are really starting to take notice of the fact that Villa are doing their utmost to dislodge us from the top four. This is because they are actually scoring some good results, reaping the benefits of having a good manager, and a quality young side, and they most certainly are getting the rub of the green at the moment. There is no doubt in my mind that they are a threat. There is also no doubt in my mind that we will ultimately finish the season in the Champions League places. I think we are due a very strong second-half to the season, and I also think that Villa's participation in the UEFA Cup may distract them from the task at hand. Many clubs find it very difficult to handle league games at the weekend, and European games in midweek. Given Villa's lack of European football for many years, I am confident (and hopeful) that this could be a problem for them.

Many of us are anxious as to what January will bring. We are all praying that Arsene signs a couple of players, and are secretly concerned that he will decide not to, and rather rely on the resources of the club and keep the faith in the youth. Only time will tell.

Dev should be back writing tomorrow and the day after. I'll be back on Saturday evening with a post-match analysis of the Plymouth FA Cup game. Have a great night tonight, whatever you are getting up to, and have a Happy New Year.]]>

Has Arsene gone mad?

On Sunday, Arsene played a bit of a crazy formation with Bendtner on the left wing and Nasri up front. Sometimes I wonder if he is just messing around a little and will sort it all out soon or sometimes think he may just be a little blinded by what he sees in training. Why on earth Bendtner played on the left of midfield on Sunday is anybodies guess.

The weird thing is that Arsene still talks about winning the league. Heck, we couldn't even beat Hull at home, but somehow we're going to win the league? We've lost Rosicky, Walcott and Cesc for pretty much the whole season but somehow we're going to win the league? Arsene even says that we will dominate the league?!?!?

“I’m convinced that we are on the right track. We are not missing 10 per cent, we are missing one or two per cent. We can get that one or two per cent easily and then we can dominate the league.

“I’m disappointed that the team is not getting the praise or the respect it deserves at the moment, but we have to keep going. We will keep going with this spirit and we will turn people around. Getting that final per cent or two is down to being a bit more relaxed and composed when the situation calls for it. My hopes and aims for 2009 are to support this team. I believe strongly in this team and if they get the support I think they will be rewarded in 2009 because they deserve it.

“They have talent and I’m sure they will be rewarded.”

I think it’s a little far fetched to talk about dominating the league when we’re already 10 points behind and teams like United, Chelsea, Liverpool and even Villa ahead of us whom all look like they will win their next game.

So after my letter to Arsene, the main thing we’re all looking for this Christmas / New Years is some new players.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m a huge fan of Arsene Wenger. But I need him to realise that he’s got to invest in a squad which needs investing in it. I think he is interested in signing some people as he said in his programme notes that he needs a creative midfielder. I suggest he needs a winger. I suggest he also needs a better striker than Bendtner – but of course, he has both in Carlos Vela, but for some reason he refuses to play him much!

Where we really need to strengthen at the moment is the defensive midfield position and the wide positions. Without Rosicky and Walcott we really don’t have any wide players.

Almunia spoke about our season too and said:

“The main thing is to look for our identity, our way, our character that gave this club all their titles and trophies. For whatever reason we lost our way, our character and the way we play on the pitch. We need to re-find our spirit and our desire to win games.”

And that’s a very interesting point – “we lost our way” – could sum up the season. Almunia will be our captain from now until maybe the end of the season as Cesc is injured. It’s kind of strange, but it seems like the captaincy has just fallen on Almunia. I don’t think he thought he would be captain when the season ended last year.

Okay guys, that’s me for today. I’m on a 10pm flight to Dubai to spend NYE in the sun, the awesome JAT will be blogging for me tomorrow and I’ll have a tropical blog on Thursday…

Speak soon!]]>

Arsenal 1 – 0 Pompey, Arsene sneaks a win as Tony Adams returns…

Yesterday saw our thin squad take on Tony Adam's side, Pompey in a 2pm kick off. The line up and formation was very strange to be honest and it looked very weird to see where the players started positionally on the pitch. For most of the first half, the line up looked like this:

Almunia
Sagna – Gallas – Silvestre – Clichy
Diaby – Denilson – Bendtner
Nasri
Eboue – Adebayor

Now, my friends, that was a very strange line up. Denilson and Nasri seemed to be playing in a diamond with Nasri behind the two strikers. It was very strange to see Bendtner deployed on the left wing and Eboue up front, but Arsene had a plan to his madness. Eboue did slot into the right hand side now and again, but ultimately that was the formation that most of the first half saw.

And it really was a first half to forget. The highlights being a Crouch header against the bar and Adebayor rounding the keeper but failing to score into an empty net. I’ve been to a lot of Arsenal games, heck, 100′s of games, but this one was so frustrating. Frustrating because an average Portsmouth side, who also played on Friday looked much better than us and could pass the ball better than us. Looked quicker than us but somehow we managed to win the game.

The second half was much of the first, although, it looked like Eboue was playing right side and Nasri was up front supporting Ade. Ade was particularly woeful yesterday too, and I really thought he wouldn’t last the whole game. The introduction of Vela on the left wing (meaning Bendtner went right) and Aaron Ramsey seemed to invigorate the team and with Vela we had a fast, skillful player who really got the side excited. Why the boy doesn’t start all the games, I don’t know.

The goal came through some bad goalkeeping from David James when Gallas got their first and nodded in. With 9 minutes to go, the sense of relief was overwhelming!

Arsene had this to say:

“We were lacking a bit of zip because we gave a lot at Aston Villa in our last match.  It was important that we were intelligent and patient. Portsmouth played very well and they were well organised and defended very deep.  My team is maturing quite well, and quickly. We will fight for the title and we believe we have a chance.”

Indeed, Arsene talks about the ability to win the title. Sometimes I think he forgets we are 10 points off the top! Remember, we hadn’t won a game in 3 games previous to this one, so how we will win the title, I just can’t fathom!

————————————————————

Arsenal:Almunia, Sagna, Gallas, Silvestre, Clichy, Eboue (Vela 66), Denilson, Diaby (Ramsey 75), Nasri, Adebayor, Bendtner.
Subs Not Used: Fabianski, Toure, Van Persie, Wilshere, Gibbs.

Goals:Gallas 81.

Portsmouth:James, Wilson, Campbell, Distin, Belhadj, Nugent (Defoe 88), Diop (Pamarot 90), Davis, Hughes (Mvuemba 50), Kranjcar, Crouch.
Subs Not Used: Ashdown, Hreidarsson, Little, Kanu.

Booked: Hughes.

Att: 60,092

Ref:Alan Wiley (Staffordshire).]]>

Best Commenter for November 2008

And the winner is...

Debs

Debs has been a regular commenter on The World of Arsenal for quite a few months now and speaks from the heart and always has a positive outlook on things.

Here’s a snippet of what Debs had to say on the captaincy change last month:

I think it’s the right decision, Fabregas as captain. It wasn’t going to work with Almunia, him being stuck in goal and the fact that when he’s off his line, every Bentley in this world will try to put one past him! As for Clichy, he was my personal choice, but I think it would be too much pressure on him, seeing as he’s been our best player this season so far and he’s started making mistakes. The less focus on Clichy and he seems to be unbelievably amazing. Fabregas as captain will more than likely shut up those who’ve been creating rumours that he may be leaving in Jan or summer. He may end up doing so (I hope not), but at least for now all the speculation will stop. Also, he’s not been playing well so far this season, and I feel that now he’s captain, he’ll step up his game. I think he’s the type of player who can handle the spotlight on him, and he’s press conferences about the team, performance, and chances are exactly the type you’d expect from a captain, unlike Gallas.
I wich I was going to be at the Emirates 2moro to see how Gallas responds to his demotion! It should be funny! But yeah, tomorrow’s the beginning of a new era (it sort of feels like when the new sp*rs era started with Redknapp, although I shouldn’t compare us to those ’scum’ lol). But yeah, I’m excited about the rest of the season now! Woo hoo!

The award has been given by an independant panel which I’m not part of…!

Congratulations and keep up the great comments.]]>

Arsenal vs Portsmouth Preview

I hope you've all been enjoying the Christmas festivities. It's certainly been busy down at the Grove. Our draw to Villa yesterday has seen us fall further behind our "title rivals". Tomorrow sees Portsmouth, managed by ex-captain Tony Adams. It's a tough time for us with so many players out, but with the transfer window opening on Thursday, I suspect that Arsene will have to dip in to strengthen the squad.

Squad news is that Alex Song is doubtful and Johan Djourou is likely to miss out too. The starting line up should be:

Almunia
Goalkeeper
 
Sagna
Right Back
Gallas
Centre Back
Toure
Centre Back
Clichy
Left Back
 
Eboue
Right Wing
Denilson
Midfielder
Diaby
Midfielder
Nasri
Left Wing
 
  Adebayor
Striker
 Van Persie
Support Striker

With the bench entertaining the likes of Fabianski, Gibbs, Hoyte, Wilshere, Ramsey, Vela and Bendtner.

Arsene has spoken on the team’s chances and said this:

“I believe we know we can play great games and have a great spirit,” he said. “We have what in England you call ‘guts’.

“We were very, very disappointed [at Villa] because we were so close and got caught back. But we have to show that we are strong and can recover quickly.

“There is one way for us to behave. We just have to keep going until the end of the season and see where we are.

“I know if I say now we can be champions you will say that I am crazy but I believe that we can be.”

Interesting words from Arsene and many people think that he is a little crazy with such a statement. But it’s clear we have the quality, but we do have a soft centre which haunts us every game. I really expect Arsene to dip into the transfer market come the end of next week. It’s a dangerous position we find ourselves in, we’re only 12 points above the relegation zone.

I’ll hope be back tomorrow with a proper round up of the game and a few other thoughts, but as the Christmas festivities continue, I’m being summoned elsewhere.

Come on you gooners, til tomorrow.]]>

Aston Villa 2 – 2 Arsenal

In a very weird and entralling game, we managed to somehow draw with Villa 2-2 having been 2-0 up with half am hour to go. In a starting eleven which saw Clichy, Djourou, Cesc, Eduardo, Walcott, Adebayor, Bendtner, and more unavailable, we started with the following team:

Almunia
Sagna – Toure – Gallas – Silvestre
Eboue – Song - Denilson – Nasri
Diaby
Van Persie

It was a little bit defensive, but not by choice but by the available players. Van Persie was deployed as a lone striker, and Diaby was positioned in the hole in front of a midfield four of Eboue, Song, Denilson and Nasri.

With Clichy rested, Silvestre slotted into left back and was a focal point for the Villa attack. Villa started brightly and the support were behing them in an overwhelming manner. The twelth man was certainly there. Song was deployed in the defensive midfield position and he really had a lot to do in the first 10 minutes. Although we did manage to go forward, Villa looked like the main threat and Agbonlahor and Young looked dangerous, supplemented with the craft of Milner playing on the right wing.

The first half was a tense one and it was more Villa than us in all honesty. But we managed to take the lead through Denilson just before half time, when the Brazilian robbed Reo-Coker and slotted past the keeper to make it 1-0. As soon as the second half kicked off, it was Diaby who managed to score the second after playing a 1-2 with Eboue and duly smashing in the second.

And it looked at that point that we’d go on to win the game and we had chances to score the third. But Villa never gave up and with half an hour to go, Gallas up-ended Agonlahor in the area and the home team were awarded a penalty. Barry duly struck the ball past Almunia and it was 2-1. With the tension mounted and the score poised for an emphatic finish, it was in injury time when Villa equalised through Zak Knight, rifling in a Petrov cross.

Somehow, we’d managed to let a 2-0 lead slip and suddenly it was 2-2 with 0 minutes left.

Time to reflect tomorrow, but for now, let’s just sit back and reflect on what happened today.

——————————————————————————————–

Aston Villa: Friedel, Reo-Coker, Davies, Knight, Luke Young, Milner, Sidwell, Petrov, Barry, Ashley Young, Agbonlahor.
Subs Not Used: Guzan, Harewood, Delfouneso, Salifou, Shorey, Gardner, Osbourne.

Booked: Agbonlahor, Reo-Coker, Petrov, Barry.

Goals: Barry 65 pen, Knight 90.

Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna, Eboue, Toure, Silvestre, Song Billong (Ramsey 43), Denilson, Nasri (Clichy 82), Diaby, Gallas, Van Persie.
Subs Not Used: Fabianski, Vela, Wilshere, Bendtner.

Booked: Song Billong, Toure, Diaby, Van Persie.

Goals: Denilson 40, Diaby 49.

Att: 42,585]]>

Merry Christmas

Dear Arsene,

I’d like to start my letter to you by saying Merry Christmas and if I don’t speak to you before-hand Happy New Year. I’d also like to thank you for your efforts over the last 12 years. Under your guidance, we have won league titles, FA cups and reached the UEFA cup and Champions League finals. We have played some amazing football under your reign and at times been mesmeric, at times been magical and at times been unbeatable. We’ve moved into our new stadium. A 60,000+ start of the art all seater stadium in the heart of London.

I’m a big fan of Arsenal and you as manager and like many other fans, have Arsenal in my blood, in my veins and above all in my heart. I, like many other fans, pay the highest prices in the league. I, like many other fans, buy silly little mugs and slippers, heavily over-priced but in knowledge that money is going to the club. I’ve travelled around Europe following our team, I’ve spent hours upon hours on the motorway, in traffic, missed trains, spent money on hotels, petrol… and all for you and our team.

I was born in North London and to me, Arsenal are my local club, my community, my football club. I’ve supported us when we’ve been mid-table, when we’ve just finished fourth, when we’ve been knocked out of the cup by Burnley, when we lost 6-1 to our main rivals, and of course when we’ve won those lovely titles. I will always support the team, I will always spend my earnings on Arsenal, I will always come down to the ground and I will always buy a programme every single game.

So, as we sit here with our families and friends, remembering those without, I ask you Arsene, please give me the Christmas present that me and all other fans deserve. We have a team packed with youth and potential. We have some players who aren’t young any more. A Togo International at the age of 24 / 25 isn’t young. Wilshere at 16 is young. Our team has a youth policy and we like it. We’re proud to see our kids beat Wigan. Believe me, we are proud. But we also have experience and knowledge. Most of us fans have got decades of watching the team behind them, many of us watch other games, sky sports news and play pro evolution soccer and football manager. Yes, not many of us are managers, but we know football and we know our team.

We’ve been very close to winning the Champions League. Last season we all said buy one more player, but we didn’t and we missed out on the league by 4 points. We have the basis for a great team.

Arsene, the present we want is the player we were missing from last season and a replacement for some of the departing players. If you can buy one defensive midfielder and one wide player, then the players we have will not be pushed away, they will embrace and learn and become better players. Denilson will be a better player if playing alongside a Barry or Alonso rather than a Diaby and a Song. Song will become a better player when fighting for his place in the team rather than walking into a “top four” team. Wilshere, I’m sure, could learn a few things from a Ribery.

We seem to have an injury jinx, and with Rosicky, Cesc and Walcott out of the team for a while, and Nasri and Eduardo patchy for the next 4-6 weeks, we really have to dip into the transfer market if we want to finish in the top four. But if the players we buy are right and the aforementioned players come back from injury, then we may still have a shout at the title. Maybe. But it’s going to take a lot of hard work to do so. It’s amazing that we’re only 8 points behind the leaders. And maybe it says a lot about our form when Liverpool are leading the table.

I’m not criticising you or telling you how to do your job, but some things are blindingly obvious in football and buying at least 2 players is the minimum requirement this January. We can see it on the pitch. We have such a good set of players, but we’re just short in a few areas. You’ve said several times that we need “an extra body” or “another midfielder” but you’ve been reluctant to spend. The board say there is money and that you can spend it.

So, this Christmas, please think about the club, where we are, and think about the fans. Please buy the two players you need and then maybe buy the other two players we all want.

Give us all a Christmas present that we deserve.

Thanks,

Dev]]>

It's Christmas Eve…

This is my first Christmas as the author of the World of Arsenal and wish to thank you all for reading, commenting, dialogue-ing with me daily over email and facebook too. It's great to have such a forum to discuss everything Arsenal and long may it continue.

On this quiet day, I'd like to bring you a quotes from yesterday's blog.

Parsi made some great festive comments on yesterday's blog, and this is what he had to say:

There are three big reasons why most football commentary is negative.

First, it is easier to write negative than positive commentaries. I remember the classic moment 20 years back when we beat Liverpool Not-yet-insolvents in the last game of the year. The fanzine “1-0 down 2-1 Up” celebrated that with a series of articles at the start of the following season. Naively I expected the mag to be full of positives. Instead it contained a whole string of make-believe articles considering what might have happened… if we had lost.

Second, journalists write negative all the time simply because most people don’t support Arsenal, Liverpool Insolvents, Manchester Bankrupts or the KGB in Fulham or any other team you can imagine. (Incidentally that is why sponsorship of any particular team is always pointless from a commercial point of view. Would you ever buy Crown Paints or Holstein? Sponsors lose far more trade than they gain through their sponsorships. It is all vanity for the top dogs.) So if a JIP (journo in pub) writes a scathing attack on Arsenal, they are pleasing most of their readers, because most readers are anti-Arsenal, and that is good for sales.

Third, no matter how good you are, you could always be better. (Even Arsenal Ladies have this – true they win every league match, but they have just lost Julie Fleeting, and they have been knocked out of Europe…) – which make criticism so easy.

So negativity is what we get. You may have noticed how jolly the JIPs were over Cesc’s injury, and how they poke fun at the Lord Wenger when he gets annoyed on the touch line… it pleases most of their Anti-Arsenal readership.

The only consolation is that JIPs do it to every club. Just today (24 Dec 2008) there are stories about Liverpool’s failure to get the money for a new stadium, about how Scholari is demanding money and the club ain’t got none… so it goes.

Hence my thought as I get ready to go to my partner’s house for Christmas… a true supporter supports. That’s the deal. To peoople who say they are “Arsenal” but moan a lot about Arsenal my answer is that they should have a bash at being a supporter of a team that doesn’t win stuff, ever. Like Torquay United. Small ground, in need of repair, small crowds, relegated to the Conference, no reason local concern or feeling for the club, got to one Wembley final only to lose… Go there and try supporting them every week. Then come back after three years and realise just how blessd we all are to have had Arsenal chosen for us by our families, our heritage, and our background.

Just under 99 years ago, Arsenal went bust, and were on the very edge of being taken over by and ultimately merged with Fulham. Because of the dedication and determination of George Leavey, the chairman, who despite not being a wealthy man, selflessly put his own money into paying the players during the summer of 1910, Woolwich Arsenal survived as an independent club, and when the move away from the declining Plumstead area did come it was a move that brought growth and maintained independence rather than bringing closure and oblivion.

In 1910, first division Woolwich Arsenal were struggling on crowds of around 10,000, and criticism was everywhere. We no longer remember how everyone at the time was a critic of Arsenal, but those who really know their Arsenal history do remember people like George Leavey. He never got his money back, and no one ever really thanked him for saving our club, he is not honoured with any plaques or busts, as far as I know. But I believe we would all do better to remember him, than spend our time sniping at Wenger, the board, the team, or the club.

A little reminder about who we are and where we are…

If I don’t speak to you tomorrow, have a great Christmas!]]>

Arsenal 1 – 1 Liverpool: Cesc out for season as we fail to beat Liverpool…

Today is the 23rd of December and Lady Luck has given all our rivals an early Christmas present with news that Cesc Fabregas is out for the rest of the season. I'll touch on the game shortly, but Arsene's been speaking on the injury to Cesc.

“The news is not good. It will take three to four months, we count four. He will be working hard to come back earlier but I count four months.”

“We will miss him, of course, but how much is difficult to say. We have to find a way and we want to find a way to compensate the fact that he is not on the pitch to give everyone a bit more.

“I’m sure we can deal with it. When he comes back he can help us get over the line in the final months. I believe we are able to do it.”

Four months would see us until the end of April, and then the training will begin, so although Arsene says we’ll see him for the “final months”, in reality, we’ll most probably see him again next season. He suffered a partial rupture of his medial knee ligament in a challenge with Xabi Alonso and the writing is on the wall.

Arsenal 1 – 1 Liverpool

Van Persie 24, Keane 42

In a game which was a must win game, we fielded the strongest possible side, which included Nasri for the first time in a while. Of course, a little bit not match fit, but nevertheless, very much needed considering our very thin squad. The line up was:

Almunia
Sagna – Gallas – Djourou – Clichy
Nasri – Song – Cesc – Denilson
Adebayor – Van Persie

As the game started, it was Liverpool who started the brighter. They seemed to play with more inherent confidence. Accurate passing and triangles. And for the first 10 minutes, we were chasing shadows.

We did get into the game shortly afterwards with some good play down the right of midfield ending in an Adebayor header. It was on the 24th minute when an excellent move from Nasri, playing a great ball forward to Van Persie saw us go ahead. The Dutchman controlling well and smashing the ball past Reina with his so called chocolate leg (i.e. right foot).

It was a goal that did come against the run of play, but we’d slowly been getting into the game and after the goal, we really started dominating, with some really incisive forward play. With about 10 minutes of the half to go, we did cease up our control somewhat and it looked like we were waiting for half time. With a few minutes to go, we pushed forward pressuring the Liverpool defence, who ended up hoofing a ball up front. Somehow Keane was there first and suddenly it was 1-1. Ouch.

The second half saw Diaby replace Fabregas, who we all now know has suffered a partial rupture of his medial knee ligament. Ouch. At the start of the second half, we came out all guns blazing ready to make this game ours… We were going for every challenge. And then suddenly, Howard Webb realised that we could win this and decided to send Adebayor off for no reason.

Down to 10 men. Lucas is still on the pitch at this point, uncarded, despite 47 fouls.

So the second half was all about containing Liverpool. The game ended 1-1, but just imagine what we could do with 11 men. It’s a sad state of affairs that a referee has such a overwhelming influence on a game, but the Liverpool player, Arbeloa did have a big part to play to. Ade had this to day:

I cannot say he cheated, but what he did was not fair play at all. The defender threw himself on the floor as if I put a knife in him. At the end of the end of the day he [Webb] has made a mistake and he has to recognise that what he has done is a little mistake.

The funniest comment I heard was actually from Mr Wenger himself when he was asked to comment about the sending off. If you haven’t read this, then check this out:

It was not a red card, it was not a second yellow card. I don’t know what it was for and I’m sure he doesn’t know. I am convinced we would have won with 11 players. Today we had the ‘Be a Gooner, Be a Giver’ charity appeal — you cannot say the referee was a Gooner today but he was a giver because he gave us yellow cards we did not deserve.

I love it! So, where does that leave us? Well, a must must must win game against Villa on Boxing day followed by a must win game against Portsmouth. With Cesc out for four months, Diaby will have a run of games now. Personally, I am really annoyed at the way Diaby has been playing recently. He’s been so inconsistent recently and his form has been so erratic, it worries me that he will be in the side. I’d rather see Vela deployed on the left of midfield. But with Ade suspended, Bendtner and Eduardo injured, I think he’ll have to play up front.

Ramsey is the other choice to come in for Cesc, but surely Arsene has to buy two midfielders now. Surely, without Cesc, our top four finish is now in jepordy?

Til tomorrow…

————————————————-

Arsenal:Almunia, Sagna, Djourou, Gallas, Clichy, Denilson, Fabregas (Diaby 46), Song Billong, Nasri (Eboue 90), Adebayor, Van Persie.
Subs Not Used: Fabianski, Vela, Ramsey, Silvestre, Wilshere.

Sent Off:Adebayor (62).

Booked:Adebayor, Van Persie, Sagna.

Goals:Van Persie 24.

Liverpool:Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Agger, Insua, Kuyt, Leiva Lucas (Ngog 88), Alonso, Riera (Babel 71), Gerrard, Keane (El Zhar 81).
Subs Not Used: Cavalieri, Hyypia, Benayoun, Plessis.

Booked:Keane, Carragher, Leiva Lucas.

Goals: Keane 42.

Att: 60,094

Ref: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire).]]>

Christmas takes it's toll…

At what price?

Well, the price of writing my blog today (Monday) no doubt.

I'll be back tomorrow (Tuesday) with my reaction to the Liverpool game and more...

Hope you're all enjoying a slightly calm & hectic Christmas week...]]>