Fabregas sidelined for the rest of the season…Gallas and Arshavin both ruled out of the North London derby…Rooney struggling to be fit for our clash with United on April 24th…A glum Martin O’Neill on Sky News looking like he’d rather be anywhere than in Brum…Liverpool playing with ten men away in Europe for over an hour…verily good people of N17, a gilded path strewn with lilywhites seems to be opening before our very eyes to the sacred fourth spot.
Come on kids, take a deep breath and admit it; we’ve never had a better opportunity to secure a Champions League place. Believe in destiny; believe that a higher force is guiding us to the Promised Land. Just like in ‘The Truman Show’ where Cristof, the God-like producer orchestrates Jim Carrey’s entire life, we too are being watched over, our every move carefully planned and manipulated for maximum audience ratings and responses.
Do you honestly think that Ledders really has a knee condition that means he can only play one in three? Or that Woody is sidelined for the season? Aaron Lennon? Jermain Defoe? It’s all in the script my friends; it’s all in the script.
Take Defoe’s ‘miraculous’ recovery from a hamstring injury; in terms of plausible plot turns it’s on a par with Bobby Ewing coming back from the dead in Dallas. We were told it would be four weeks, but there he is fit and ready to plunder Sunderland at the weekend. Hamstrings just don’t get better that quickly; ask Torres or better still, Michael Owen.
I can just imagine the script meeting:
Producer: “Liverpool have Torres and Gerrard back, everyone just assumes they’ll take fourth spot. It’s becoming boring and predictable again. Ratings are plummeting. We need to act fast, before they all turn over to ‘Come Dine with me’. Any ideas?”
Script Editor: “Why don’t we bring Defoe back early?”
Producer: “From a hamstring injury; are you insane? That could take weeks to repair. No, the punters wouldn’t buy it”
Script Editor: “We could pretend it was all a dream. JD wakes up in his crib having serviced a hot WAG and Bob’s your Uncle, he’s right as rain”
Producer: “That is pure genius!”
Assuming we can dispose of ‘man on a mission’ Darren Bent and the other Spurs rejects on Wearside, the omens are good, with the post-Pompey, mid-week encounter against Arsenal looking more winnable as the clocks ticks down. Let’s face it, the Gunners without Fabregas is like Peters without Lee; not half as good looking and lacking in vision. An Arshavin-less Arsenal will also be a bit of a blunt instrument up front with Bendtner posing an aerial problem but little else.
Spurs on the other hand should be in a position to welcome back several injured players. If Lennon was able to play some part (say the last twenty minutes) we would have formidable pace on both wings. Bale on the left and Lennon on the right; imagine the panic that would create? It would also prevent Arsenal’s full backs from pushing forward to support their attack. Add a fervent home crowd to the mix and we’re looking good for all three points.
Manchester United without Rooney are as we know, like England without Rooney; a little pedestrian. Assuming Rooney is still out and if we can keep the Bulgarian quiet, then I fancy we could at least nick a draw.
We completely outplayed them in the first half at Old Trafford last season, with Lennon giving Evra a torrid time down the right and Modric pulling the strings in midfield. Blimey! Even Dazza looked good for forty five. Rooney almost singlehandedly transformed United that day, putting on an incredible second half show as United turned it around in spectacularly embarrassing fashion (I took a photo of the half-time scoreboard since I feared as much would happen).
Without Rooney (or Tevez) in their ranks I reckon we would have beaten them, so it’s not beyond us to enter the Theatre of Dreams and turn it into a Mancs worst nightmare.
It’s not going to be easy; there will be banana skins between now and May, but what looked like a Herculean uphill task has suddenly turned into, if not a stroll in the park, then a bit of a brisk ramble.