It has been a fine week indeed for London’s Champion League representatives, with both Arsenal and Chelsea sitting pretty at the top of their groups and the prospect of qualification for the knock-out phase seemingly secure. Chelsea seem to be repeating exactly the same pattern as last season with a sequence of dour, catenaccio-style displays now giving away to rampant attack down the wings and three or four goal thrashings. For the time being, they are unstoppable, and with the added depth that Wright-Phillips and Essien have brought with them, one suspects that their European campaign won’t run out of puff in the same way that it did against Liverpool, last time round.
Arsenal have equal reason to be quietly pleased with their European progress thus far, which is positively serene compared to recent years. Admittedly they are in a comparatively weak group, but to have practically nailed down qualification after only three games is impressive nonetheless. Plus, the recent heroics of one Thierry Henry will have delivered some much-needed cheer to the marble halls of Highbury. Londonist applauds Stephen Hawking for taking the effort to make his thoughts on the history of time a little more understandable to the common man, but we’d much rather he devoted his brain matter to explaining just how one man can make scoring the most astonishing goals look so damn EASY. It is Henry that is the Special One, and we should savour him while he is still plying his trade on these shores.
Now, on to the weekend…..
Arsenal v Manchester City
This will be an enjoyable and well-contested game. Stuart Pearce is a national treasure and there are many who are thrilled for the man who has given City such a large measure of consistency, spunk and vigour, concepts that have been alien to that club for so long. His side will have a chance tomorrow, but with Highbury in party mode after their star striker’s record-breaking feats, expect the Gooners to turn it on. Home win.
Fulham v Liverpool
The draw against Charlton was an important point gained for the Cottagers, and Chris Coleman will be expecting that result to be a catalyst for his side, with the preferred reaction being more goals and grit added to a playing style that has been a little too easy on the eye. Liverpool will continue to flatter to deceive. Draw.
Manchester United v Tottingham
A real chance for Spurs to show that they are worthy of the praise that has been heaped upon them after three wins in a row. This is a fixture that has consistently produced great football and real excitement, and always the same winner. If Tottenham are to buck the trend, Jol must find a way of stopping Rooney and hope that Mido can create the havoc in the opposition penalty box needed to make chances for Defoe et al. We’re going out on a limb here. Come on you Spurrsshh! Away win.
Portsmouth v Charlton
Charlton, still unnerved by the turnaround against Spurs, look like they’re on the verge of undoing all their good early work by heading straight into one of their familiar funks. Bent and Murphy will again be the key men, but they will need more from Jerome Thomas and Rommedahl if they want a win. We predict a draw.
Everton v Chelsea (Sunday)
You might argue that Everton have to come good at some point, but we all know that it’s not going to be this weekend. Chelsea just won’t let them. Away win.
West Ham v Middlesbrough (Sunday)
An unexciting fixture, basically due to the presence of Boro, football’s equivalent of morphine. How can a club have such a great record of turning highly-rated and classy players into useless lumps of flesh and bone? Won’t someone please set free the wonderful Mendieta from that place of darkness? Let’s hope that Pardew has his hair-fin looking extra sharp on Sunday and that the Hammers can put these dullards to the sword. Home win.