A preview and focus on just the one major news-story today – Australia Day has taken the best out of me. All beached out and ready to collapse somewhere, it was good reminiscing with some old South African expat friends of mine, though…
The news of the day is the one we all did not want to hear: Kolo Toure has strained his groin stretching for a ball in the Ivory Coast’s match against Benin in the African Cup of Nations. The defender could be out for as long as six weeks (who knows, perhaps longer?), which, while he is away with Ivory Coast, does not affect us at present, but may stretch beyond the tournament’s duration.
God Almighty, are we not sick of international commitments right now? Alex Ferguson, with his distinctly non-African team, must be chuckling to himself at the news, which has now left us stretched in the defensive area of our side.
The last thing I want to hear from commentors is the usual, cliched response of ‘Senderos means the end of our season’. For all we know, the greatest mistake that would hypothetically end our season may be caused by Fabregas, or Gallas, or Flamini.
This is Senderos’ time to prove himself once more. He did it when Sol Campbell flew off to Belgium without a thought for his team’s wellbeing, and perhaps it is time he did it again. It’s a different type of pressure for him – usually it is about displacing one defender he knows to be well ahead of him in the pecking order.
The time that he has impressed and cemented his place in the side was when the team was struck to the bare bones with injuries. Though I would not go as far to say this is the situation yet, the team can hang on a tightrope, or stand on a knife-edge where anymore injuries will get ridiculous, and Senderos has shown he can handle that particular kind of pressure.
So it is this reason, if you struggle to find any other, that we must place faith in Senderos and Gallas to see us through Kolo’s absence. I would really like it if Djourou were not injured to back Senderos up, and Hoyte and Gilberto to have a lot more confidence than they do, but this is the situation we find ourselves in.
So through thick and thin, and no-matter what happens in future – Senderos officially has my faith in his ability. The other news going around is that long-term speculative target Yoann Gouffran has signed a pre-contract agreement, though for the asking salary that’s being touted for his age, I’m giving all the talk a pinch of salt for now. Sanderson at YoungGuns! can take the credit for jumping on Eurosport’s article first about 12 hours ago or so…
Onto our FA Cup date with Newcastle ‘at our place, rawr’…and we should be seeing a full strength team tonight. Lehmann, Clichy and Senderos will definitely play tonight, and there is a chance Walcott may start once more.
Nevertheless, I’m sticking with the prediction alongside here, simply because it is the safest bet, in my view. The club will want to send a message to righten their step after the Tottenham shenanigans, as well as make a mental buffer to whatever Newcastle side takes to the field for the league fixture on Tuesday.
I think we’re all being far more cautious with our result predicting lately, and while a 2-0 may do enough to right our wrongs from ‘that other evening’, I think this team may settle (and are able to) for a 1-0 win. Modest, but it will do Gallas and Senderos a world of good to shut out a team with just a one-goal lead. I think it is in them, but you will not see me complaining if we come out 5-2 ahead, or something.
Either way, I honestly think the whole Kevin Keegan fiasco is just a load of hoo-hah, coming from the club that invented unfounded hysteria. More tomorrow when I’m less frazzled by the sun, and I hope to be sitting cheery over a nice, solid win in The Cup.
Until then, my fine-feathered readers…