The striker moves in the last transfer window were incredible, and dominated by Sunderland and Liverpool’s deals. The Reds, though, sold an out of form striker for £50M! On retrospect the signing of Suarez and Carroll were complete genius by Kenny Dalglish, with the Uruguayan showing amazing control to set up Kuyt’s first against Man Utd.
We will see them in action again on Sunday lunchtime at the SSOL of course, and that will be another fascinating contest, which Chairman Niall Quinn confirms is a total sell-out. If the Stadium of Light is ever to be expanded to 64000, as originally designed, we have to fill it for games like this one. We really look forward to seeing Danny Welbeck back in action with Gyan at home.
The Cats’ sale of Darren Bent to Aston Villa was very good business, and he has gone to a side which is still toying with a season or two in the Fizzy Pop League. They are very much still in relegation trouble, despite their star-studded line-up. His 3 goals have not really set Villa alight, and they are stuck on 33 points, 2 points above West Ham in 18th spot. We miss Bent's goals, but not the person, who had clearly been disengaged and looking for a move. The club are drawing up a shortlist for his replacement, which they will do in their normal methodical and organised fashion, I am sure.
Looking at Sunderland’s current striker situation though, we have been putting a lot of pressure on Asamoah Gyan, and the return of Fraizer Campbell will also be welcomed hugely by the fans. Running up to his long-term injury he was showing some of his best form.
Sunderland were not playing at the weekend, but rather licking their wounds instead, with so many top players aiming to come back from injury. Cattermole will soon be joining Welbeck back in the first team, and how we have missed our captain. I love his tenacity, resilience, tackling and his ability to protect the back four by his reading of the game, as well as starting promising moves. Provided he stays on the field, and he is getting better at that, I agree with Steve Bruce, he sums up what we are about; the sort of guy you want on your side! The disciplinary side of his game which was a worry earlier in the season, did settle down in the time running up to his injury absence, and he will hopefully have had a chance to reflect on this side of his game while regaining his fitness.
Finally, a word again about Arsene Wenger. My last blog highlighting his erratic behaviour attracted a lot of negative comment from Arsenal fans. Since I wrote that the Frenchman has seen his season collapse in ruins this last week, and he has been blaming UEFA, the referees, anybody but his own team. Maybe he blames them in private. Whatever, he now has only the title to go for, and that is only because of Man. Utd.’s recent stuttering form. He clearly runs his team on principles, but I agree with Steve Claridge on Radio 5 Live’s Monday Night Club: there is something fundamentally wrong when a team like the Gunners go 7 years without winning anything.
Arsenal are running well financially, through not spending money. The performance at Old Trafford was a case in point, some very pretty approach work, but no final result despite the fact they came close so often. My advice to Arsene, for what it is worth, go out and buy some players who are actually winners, who have trophies to their name – they will inspire the others to success. And stop moaning!!!
©Lars J.S. Knutsen
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