Well after a goal fest this week in the two euro competitions, we’re back to domestic league play.
Brad Friedel and Aston Villa host the Holden Wanderers. This is caretaker managers, Kevin MacDonald’s last game in charge before Gerard Houiller becomes the gaffer.
I for one, wanted to see the Frenchman take over the USMNT national job. Amongst the footballing world he’s considered a tactical genius with impeccable knowledge of the game, but in the public eye he comes off more as a bit of buffoon. He’s got great pedigree winning trophies at Liverpool and with Lyon and was responsible for creating the dominant French side of the late 90’s and early aughts, but isn’t given that much respect. Hopefully he can take Villa to that next level.
Both teams coming off losses in the previous weekend, will look to right the ship with an emphatic win. The majority of play will take place in the midfield. Look for Holden to attempt to stifle A. Young, Petrov and Downing and that Elmander can continue his fine vein of form.
Lichaj hasn’t been making the bench let alone the starting 11 recently, but the season is still young.
Blackburn play Fulham at Ewood park. With the unfortunate injury to Zamora, look for Dempsey to play up top a little more and partner with Dembele. Sparky and Fulham remain one of 5 unbeaten teams in the EPL and will look to jump into the top four with a win.
Damien Duff has been proved fit and will provide nice width and balls for the Fulham strikers to latch on to.
Chelsea host plucky little Blackpool, and anyone outside of Stamford Bridge will be pulling for the seaside town to pull the upset of the season. Already in 4th with two away wins they have exceeded expectations, but it’s early doors. Look for them to get thrashed but one can dream!
The big one this weekend pits two teams who haven’t had the best of starts. Man United host Liverpool in the North West derby. Both played midweek, though with different results. United were stifled by a determined Rangers side and Liverpool were comfortable 4-1 winners against Steaua Bucharest whilst also resting Gerrard and Torres.
For Liverpool, Joe Cole is back after serving his three game suspension and Torres and Gerrard should replace Ngog and Lucus, though I hope Meireles gets the nod over Poulsen.
United should be fully fit minus Valencia who suffered a season ending injury mid-week. Rooney with a clear head and no mean ol Everton supporters to make him cry should be back leading the line with The Berba.
The key to this matchup…Is Ferdinand fully fit?
In the Championship, Conor Doyle was a late sub in last weeks game against Hull. Will he get a full 90 against Barnsley? We say he should.
Rest of Europe. A typically British statement, but there you are. Midweek, Jozy Altidore started and played a full 90 against Dinamo Zagreb in the Europa Cup, but the Yellow Submarines were sunk 2-0. Altidore played okay but didn’t do himself any favors by failing to connect from a cross from fellow American Rossi late in the game.
Currently 6th (with one win, they’ve only played two games); on Sunday they go to Levante, who are rock bottom with two losses and 6 goals against them. If this is ever an opportunity for Jozy to stake a claim in the side, this is it!
After getting thumped 4-0 at home, Michaelbradleybach visit bottom of the table Stuttgart. The Bundesliga has been full of surprises this year and is a highly entertaining league to watch. I’ve been a M’gladbach fam for many many years, as I had an uncle who supported them in 60’s and 70’s, and with Bradders on board, all the more reason.
Dolo and Beasley visit winless Vfl Wolfsburg as their manager, the “wally with the brolly” McClaren is starting to feel the pressure.
Serie A is in full swing as his Ligue 1 and off course the MLS.