With no apologies.
Afternoon all, and how the hell was your weekend? Being still from London, my weekend was a mix of avoiding ammonia filled light bulbs at one end of the city and a load of Hooray Henry types down by the river. That and, of course, watching the national team canter away from Cardiff with a couple of goals that were defended like it was a Sunday morning down Hough End. (Look it up)
Two Bolton players were missed on Saturday. One by Wales and the other by the England manager. A decidedly Championship looking Welsh defence would, no doubt, have been bolstered by Sam Ricketts. Of course, there is no evidence to suggest that he wouldn`t have been carried along in the wave of defensive ineptitude that made a couple of Aston Villa players look like world beaters. But the fact that a couple of Aston Villa players looked like world beaters shows that Wales could have done with the Bolton defender.
Then there was Gary Cahill. Terry and Dawson had such a quiet time on Saturday, they could have gone on a wife swapping course, without Dawson being invited obviously, and few would have noticed. This does nothing to increase Cahill`s international credentials, and although he is bound to get some game time on Tuesday against Ghana with Terry and Dawson having been released, the smart money is on him coming on as a substitute for either Jagielka or Mr Worf. (Of course, this was written about five minutes before Capello confirmed that Cahill was starting)
For non Bolton fans it is easy to dismiss Cahill as a fifth choice, or even sixth if Rio can sort out his chiropractor. Looking at the goals per game conceded in the Premier League by the five central defenders in the squad, Cahill has conceded the most. But, as I said on Saturday, he is the only player of the five who has not been criticised when wearing an England shirt, although those times have been admittedly few. Dawson may have neutered the Milan attack in the San Siro, but this is also a player who was run ragged by the Fulham forward line before being sent off in the FA Cup. Lescott has always been an accident waiting to happen in the Citeh defence and it comes as little shock that their downturn in form has come at the same time that he has regained his regular place.
Now, I like Jagielka who, to me, is a consistent performer, and this has nothing to do with me bumping into him regularly when I lived in Sheffield. He`s an unfussy central defender and very rarely lets his team down. Unlike Rio. Or Dawson and Lescott. So if he was ahead of Cahill in the reckoning, I wouldn`t have too much of a problem with that. But this is just my opinion. I know that others will see it differently.
Many said over the weekend that as soon as Cahill goes to a bigger club he will shoot up the reckoning. I agree with this and if you want any proof you just need to look at the bench on Saturday and see Andy Carroll, a man barely fit who hasn`t scored a goal since Boxing Day. Some may not reckon Peter Crouch, but if Carroll were still in the North East, would he be ahead of the Spurs striker? Doubtful.
Or should he even be ahead of Daniel Sturridge? Four goals in six games and another one for the U-21 on Friday puts the Chelsea loanee front and centre. Sturridge`s reward for netting for the kids was to be let off the next game and he has returned to the club, as has Fabrice Muamba.
Whether or not you think the club should bid for Sturridge in the summer, and my view is that it all depends on how much we get for Cahill, he obviously feels that his future still lies at Stamford Bridge.
“When I do go back to Chelsea I`m not going to be worrying about anyone who is at the club. I really don`t think Torres coming in affects me. Didier and Nico are fantastic players too and I can`t wait to get back because I`ll be able to show everyone what I can do.”
Translated, what he means is that your great aunt wouldn`t have a problem with Torres at the moment, as barn doors have become a less endangered species since the Spaniard went south. As for Drogba and Anelka, someone`s nose will have been put out by Torres arriving and as both of them have form in that regard, you wouldn`t be surprised if both of them show their backsides and leave in the summer. This would make Sturridge second choice behind Torres and no matter of carrot dangling would budge him from Chelsea. Scoring goals is what Sturridge is about (off the ball work he leaves to Elmander), but he`s been able to match his mouth to his goals so far and there is no reason why he shouldn`t for the rest of the season. After that, I`m afraid that we will lose him to the bright lights of the south again. I know how enticing they can be.
Speaking of enticing, Mrs X Snr made me an egg custard for dinner. So while I go and enjoy that, you have yourselves the rest of Monday.