A big weekend - 21/11/2003
When it became knowledge that Alan Shearer wouldn’t be facing Chelsea a couple of weeks ago, I did fear for Newcastle’s chances. Without the famous No. 9, the Geordies just aren’t the same team. Coupled with the fact that they were also without Jonathan Woodgate, Kieron Dyer, and Craig Bellamy, it was never going to be easy. On the other hand, just look at the players who are presently on form at Chelsea – Glenn Johnson, John Terry, Frank Lampard, Damian Duff,and Adrian Mutu. Not that the rest of the squad are going through a bad time, but I feel that those mentioned have been just tremendous. With Chelsea also getting a fortunate penalty – and as a result Andy O’Brien getting his marching orders, the scoreline didn’t surprise me.
Tomorrow Chelsea face Southampton, and although Mark Lawrenson – a fellow BBC correspondent has tipped Southampton to win 1-0, I’m not in the betting queue next to him!! With the size and depth of squad – and the form of so many of the players been great, I can only see one winner.
Newcastle face Man City – and this game should be the pick of the bunch this weekend. Two former England managers, Keegan returning to Tyneside, and two of the best Premiership centre forwards on view, it’ll be a great game. Both teams play open, attacking football and although last season saw just one goal, I’m going for a 3-2 home win.
City are up to sixth in the league – a position not far from where I’d expect them to end up in May. They’ll bomb forward and score goals, but as the 3-0 home defeat to Leicester showed, they can also concede.
I had a good chat with Kevin when he took City to play QPR in the Carling Cup. I asked him if he was still getting involved with the 5 a side games in training, as I remember going back to my time at Newcastle when Kevin used to play upfront in training, he rarely got a touch and used to drop back to centre half in order to see the ball. He’d then have a couple of touches and demand the ball, shouting “I’m on a purple patch”. He said his purple patches became fewer and fewer and as a result he’d retired!!
QPR have been doing very well – credit to Ian Holloway who’s doing a fantastic job. After the disappointment of last season’s play-off’s, it was important to get off to a good start – and that’s what they’ve done. Two recent wins, to London rivals Brentford, and a very impressive 3-0 victory over high flying Plymouth just go to show that they’ve really on top of their game. It’s now a trip to Swindon and hopefully another three points to take them that much closer to division one.
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