1. We touched on Ronaldo and his tetchiness last week and on Saturday there was yet another incident in which he kicked out at someone and got away with it. This time David Dunn was on the receiving end of his petulance, and given that Howard Webb didn’t book him over the incident it would not surprise me to see him get a retrospective three match ban. Blackburn are right to feel aggrieved when shortly afterwards he scored the winning goal with a wonderful free kick. I sense too that whilst he may get away with it in the Premier League, Ronaldo won’t be so lucky if he does it against the likes of Inter Milan or Barcelona in the Champions League.
Needs to calm down
2. Liverpool’s title hopes were over before yesterday’s draw against Man City. Victory over Man United on March 14th won’t revive them either. I imagine Rafa will prioritise the Champions League now anyway so will tinker his way to plenty more dropped points before the season’s end. It will be interesting to see if they hold off a revived Chelsea for second place who should finish strongly under new manager Guus Hiddink.
3. Good to see that Jens Lehmann is still Mad Jens even though he’s now with Stuttgart. Here he takes issue with Khalid Boulahrouz’s headband and throws it away. There was also an incident at the weekend where an opposition striker’s boot had come off and Lehmann proceeded to hide it on the roof of his goal (video deleted sadly but the pic below gives you an idea). In true Jens style he said “the shoe lies where it could be an obstacle for a shot or a through pass.” Brilliant. Let’s also remember a couple of classics from the days when he was still Arsenal goalkeeper.
4. Fulham have struggled away from home for many a year now; picking up no away wins this season, three last year and just one in both 2006/07 and 2005/06. However they have 27 points from 36 at Craven Cottage this season and sit pretty in eighth place. Goodness knows how high they’d be if they had anything resembling away form.
5. While the debut of Arshavin was a bright spot in an otherwise drab performance, Arsene Wenger must be very concerned with the lack of goals coming from his side at the moment. They have only scored only four times in their last seven home league games and have three consecutive 0-0 draws for the first time under his stewardship. Fergie may have a point when he talks about Wenger not buying defenders but ultimately it is the current central midfield which poses the problems. With Fabregas injured and Flamini long gone, there is no one to provide probing passes from the middle of the pitch to the strikers. This puts pressure on the wingers to do it (and they like to cut in anyway) and opposition teams have worked out that if you stop the like of Nasri and Eboue (not too hard) then Song and Denilson will do absolutely nothing to hurt you.
Why must I play with such dross?
6. The longer Gareth Southgate remains as manager, the more likely it is Middlesbrough are going down. I know Steve Gibson is a very patient man (remember how long he took to get rid of Robson?) and personally I like Southgate and wish him well. Boro however are really struggling at the moment and are now a club record 14 games without a league win. They are second bottom and are relying on Mido, Afonso Alves and Marlon King to score the goals to get them out of trouble. Best start preparing for the Championship then…