That was the weekend that was.
1. I had a hunch that this was the case when I was watching the Boro – Arsenal game on Saturday and it has turned out to be true. In eight seasons at Arsenal, Jeremie Aliadiere scored one league goal. In a season and a half at Middlesbrough he has now scored twice against his former employers.
2. Will either Mark Hughes or Paul Ince be given the chance to reinforce in January? 3-1 says Hughes won’t while 100-30 on says Ince will be going to the job centre next.
3. Three weeks ago all of the Big Four failed to win for the first time in over a year. This weekend they did it again. Could Aston Villa mount a title challenge because of this? If Arsenal beat Liverpool next Sunday they are ‘only’ five points behind them. Yet if Villa also win their game against West Ham, they would only be four points behind and sitting pretty in third place.
There are plenty of questions to ask of the title challengers.
Will Liverpool continue to struggle without Torres? Will Chelsea find a plan B considering that the opposition have now worked out that to stop Chelsea, you stop Bosingwa and Cole? Will Man United be affected by the long haul trip to Tokyo and the lack of Queiroz’s defensive/tactical nous? Will Arsenal continue beyond January without reinforcements that are better than Song Diaby and Denilson? And what of Aston Villa? Do they have the squad to challenge? First choice XI’s are great until they get injured, and you have no one to turn to. Just ask Arsene Wenger.
4. Picture the scene. You’re drawing at home against a Hull side you should really beat if you have title aspirations. There are five minutes left to get a goal and you are have decided to take off Javier Mascherano. Do you:
a) Bring on striker Robbie Keane, a man who cost you £20million in the summer, and who with Fernando Torres out injured is your most senior striker.
b) Bring on defensive midfielder Lucas Leiva, a man with no league goals for Liverpool.