Newsletter #846

We return from Highbury heads held reasonably high after a 2-1 defeat, goal to the Elk (a scoreline I am sure none of us would have imagined a few months back) but with some work to do as the views show.

The reserves were on great form this week, and their emphatic victory of Bury is reported by Gavin.

We also have Don’s in-depth news round up, quite a lot going on this week it would appear, opinion, news on a new City book, the usual requests and viewing details.

Next game: Blackburn Rovers, home, 2pm Sunday 15 September 2002 (TV game)


General News

International Blues I: On Friday Eyal Berkovic played for Israel for the first time since October 2001, and helped his country beat Luxembourg 5-0. Eyal set up the first goal in the first minute of the game, and continued to show impressive form until his substitution at half-time. Eyal is likely to be in the Israel squad due to meet Malta in October. Niclas Jensen also had a good game as a provider, as he created both of Denmark’s goals in their 2-2 draw with Norway in Oslo. Nicolas Anelka seems unlikely to secure a recall to the French squad, despite Les Bleus struggling to only a 2-1 victory in Cyprus. Coach Jacques Santini said that “The door is not closed but I would like to have some continuity. I prefer to stick with the squad I have rather than bring in new players.”

Reserves Win – At Last! City’s Reserves got back to winning ways this week with an 8-1 victory over Bury in the Manchester Senior Cup. Chris Shuker and Matias Vuoso both scored hat tricks, while the other goals came from Paul Ritchie and an own goal from ex-Blue Steve Redmond. City team: Flowers, Flood (Browne 79), Tiatto, Dunne, Bischoff, Ritchie (Jordan 64), Whelan, Loran, Vuoso, Kerkar, Shuker. Subs: Murphy(GK), McCarthy, Paisley.

International Blues II: Shaun Wright-Phillips starred for England under-21’s 1-1 draw with Yugoslavia last Friday at Bolton. Shaunie did not start the game, but came on after an hour and struck the equaliser after eighty minutes. “It was a tidy finish,” remarked England U21 chief, David Platt. “Wright-Phillips changed the game for us. We finished powerfully and wanted it to continue because you could see us winning.” Young England face two demanding European Championship qualifying matches against Slovakia and Macedonia next month and SWP must hope to play a major part in those matches. Elsewhere, Rhys Day skippered the Wales under-21 side in their 2-1 defeat in Finland with the City youngster outstanding until picking up a late injury, and the Finns scoring a late winner in Day’s absence. Young City striker Gary Browne played for the Northern Ireland under-21 side in their 1-1 draw with Scotland at St Mirren’s Love Street, although he was substituted at half time.

Chairman Sees Through Transfer Window: City’s management agree – they don’t like the new transfer deadline system. Following KK’s recent comments against the transfer window, Chairman David Bernstein has criticised the system. “I have a big question mark against the whole transfer window issue. I certainly wouldn’t have wanted it myself and suspect had they not been pushed into it I am not sure that most Premiership clubs would have wanted it,” he said. “It seems to be very restrictive at a time when there is meant to be freedom of trade. I can’t see what advantage there is for the game. And it does have the effect, among other things, of clubs and managers wanting to quite understandably beef up their squads in case something goes wrong as you can’t do anything about it for the next four months.” Bernstein gave a recent example of how City were able to buy in goalkeeping cover. “We brought in Tim Flowers, quite rightly, as additional cover because had anything happened to one of our other keepers we could have done nothing until after Christmas,” explained the Chairman. “It has put clubs in a very difficult position so you end up buying more and producing more cover for your squad which previously you wouldn’t have to do. You never know of course where your injuries are going to occur. The other side of that coin is that if you don’t do anything or even if you do do something and things don’t work out and then you happen to get injuries in the same area of the squad you are now in trouble as to what you do. It seems to produce an artificial situation that I cannot see the benefit of.”

City Land Rudolph Jr: Fifteen year old Kasper Schmeichel, a goalie like his dad, has joined his old man on the staff at Maine Road. Denmark’s former international ‘keeper said, “First and foremost both my wife and I are delighted that Kasper has impressed the management and staff enough for them to offer such a wonderful opportunity. We are equally delighted that Kasper will make his first steps to achieving his personal football ambitions with Manchester City. I have found the club to be very well organised, with professional people, great coaching staff and a terrific manager. I’m thrilled that my son is going to be part of all this, and know that he is really excited about what the future may hold for him here.” Boss Man Kev clearly doesn’t think he’s putting too much pressure on the boy when he says, “I am delighted that Kasper has joined us here at Manchester City and by offering him this deal, it is obvious we think highly of his ability. If he continues to work as hard as he has done so far, he may even be able to follow in the footsteps of his father!”

Anne Elk Denied Hat Trick: Nicolas Anelka was the League’s top scorer until the chillingly named Dubious Goals Panel chalked off Nic’s first goal against Everton. It will now be credited as a Tomasz Radzinski own goal after Anelka’s admittedly corner flag bound shot hit the American striker and dribbled into the goal. Anelka will have to settle for the two legitimate goals he scored last weekend, which still leaves the City striker as the Premiership’s second leading goalscorer behind Arsenal’s Sylvain Wiltord.

Transfer News and Gossip

Higginbotham a Target? Derby County are the latest ex-Premiership club to be suffering from financial hardship. It’s reported that the Rams are now £30 million in debt, and failed to pay the players in August. Defender Danny Higginbotham, an alleged former target of KK, has claimed a breach of contract and given the club a month’s notice to quit. A player can still sign up with a new club, despite the passing of the transfer deadline, if the player is out of contract. A statement from Higginbotham read “It is with regret that I feel forced into serving my notice to Derby County Football Club for breach of contract. I believe that it is in my interest, those of the club and our supporters that I must take this action to force some kind of conclusion to the uncertainty hanging over everyone at the club. I did not take this decision lightly and I have spoken with various people both inside and outside the club and they fully support my action.” City, Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa are said to be interested in the player.

City Eye Shearer: Made you look! City are reported to be watching 21-year-old goalkeeper Scott Shearer of Albion Rovers. If he impresses, City could make a move for the player in January.

You’ve Got to Hand it to Laurent: Kevin Keegan has denied any last minute moves to farm Laurent Charvet out on loan last week – well, sort of denied it. Charvet was supposed to have turned down a loan move to French side L’Orient, much to the alleged wrath of the Boss Man. KK is quoted this week as saying, “I don’t know anything about a proposed move to L’Orient for Laurent Charvet. An agent did come on with a possible move for the defender but it was not L’Orient and in the end it did not work out for whatever reason. He has not been training as he has broken his hand at the moment.” It seems a drawer fell on him, in what the press usually call a “bizarre domestic accident”. This week the press have speculated that KK will offload the French dud duo of Charvet and Christian Negouai when the January transfer window opens.

Barnet Boy Visits City: Ismail Yakubu, a 17-year-old with non-League Barnet, is joining City for a three day training visit. Barnet boss Peter Shreeves has already turned down a number of attempts to sign the highly rated defender, and describes his time with City as a “courtesy visit”. West Ham United and Liverpool are also said to be interested in the youngster.

Ex-Blues’ News

Paul Can’t Wait: Paul Warhurst of Bolton Wanderers is looking forward to his return to Maine Road on November 30. Stockport-born Warhurst began his career with City, before Joe Royle signed him for Oldham Athletic in 1988. Speaking of his first football love, Warhurst said, “I always knew they would start well this season. There has been a real buzz around the place since Kevin went there last season and had such a good season. Now he’s built a team to stay in the Premiership. I’m sure he’s done that with the signings he’s made. It’s great to see the way they are playing because it’s the way City fans want to see them play – passing the ball around very well with a lot of good movement. They have got a lot of good players there. I can’t wait to go back to Maine Road, because it’s such a great stadium, and to have them here at Bolton next April.” Let’s hope Warhurst and colleagues are a bit more generous to us than they were to our beloved neighbours on Wednesday night. Warhurst featured as a substitute in Bolton’s 1-0 victory at Old Trafford.

Reactions and Comments

Prem Preview: KK has been musing on the standard in the Premiership in his first month back in the top flight. “Some of the football I have seen has been thrilling and the level is as good if not better than ever,” he said. “All the top teams have strengthened sensibly but from now until January we all have to stick with what we have got. If you lose key players then you just have to get on with it. I am sure we will see a lot more youngsters breaking through into first teams. When you look at the fixtures it makes you realise what a great league the Premiership really is. There are no cheap or easy points to be had. It is easy to see how sides are sucked into a battle near the bottom. I must salute the players; I have seen some first-class entertainment. The games have been full of pace and skill. In fact the only poor one I have witnessed was ours at Aston Villa.” KK was last in the Premiership in 1997 with Newcastle, and reckons that the standard has improved. “The standard is as good as ever in the Premiership. Each team has strengthened sensibly and now with the transfer window we are stuck with what we have got and that is fascinating. In the past the bigger clubs have found it easy to go and replace players but now for instance Manchester United have lost Roy Keane for six weeks and have to get on with it. We have lost Jon Macken for a month and so have to get on with it. I think instances like that at clubs could mean that we will see more younger players getting their chance, the situation pushes them closer.”

Bernstein Likes Arsenal! In the build up to Tuesday’s game at Arsenal, Mr. Chairman revealed how he had checked out the North London club when seeking a blueprint for running City. “Arsenal are a very well managed club, they do things professionally and are a very impressive club all around,” said Mr. Bernstein. “They are run as a football club should be. I visited their training ground two or three years ago and spoke with Arsene Wenger. Without doubt, I learnt a great deal from him. I took some of what he said on board at our club. It is not just the footballing side of affairs that is so impressive. It is the general things, the day-to-day running, and their stance on the major issues that is so very solid. I suppose it is quite unusual for a chairman of one club to speak to the manager of another, but I know one or two people at Highbury and I asked if I could go along because I felt it would be a great place to learn.” Inevitably the pre-match coverage focussed on the return of Nicolas Anelka to Highbury. “We really believe this could be Nicolas’ big move and we expect great things from him,” said DB. “Kevin wouldn’t have brought him in otherwise. Yes, he has had some rough headlines and unsettled couple of years but the set up that we have got, the players that are around him and the manager we have, will get the best out of him.” Our star striker ensured a hot reception on Tuesday by declaring that, “Despite all the rantings of David Dein against my brothers, it was my decision and my decision alone to leave for Madrid. Let’s be honest, I was 20 and suddenly I was wanted by the biggest club in the world, so how many players at that age would have turned their back on a move like that? Arsenal made a lot of profit from me and that helped them buy other players and brought them more success.”

‘I Don’t Want to Say Anything, But…’ KK was in fine ranting mode after the game at Highbury. Kev’s wrath was aimed at the linesman, who amongst other crimes grassed Ali B up to referee Clive Wilkes for the skipper’s use of foul and abusive language. KK began on Sky TV by saying that he “didn’t want to say anything about the sending off”, and then proceeded to give his opinion. “I felt the linesman was so biased. The players know if they say something they will get sent off and he’d been booked, so I can’t argue with it, although I don’t know what he said. I don’t think this linesman even knew there was another team playing tonight – that’s my honest opinion and I shall give him absolutely zero on his marks because that’s exactly what I felt he was worth. His job tonight was to try and be fair to both sides but every time something happened in that corner – and there were quite a few incidents there – it was as if he had arthritis in one of his arms, and he could only point the flag in one direction. I just found him absolutely annoying, so I can understand why Ali said something. But he got sent off and we lose him for one game – and we will miss him.” The City skipper will be suspended for Maine Road clash with Liverpool on Saturday 28 September.

OK – Up to a Point: Before the game with Arsenal, KK had outlined the tactics he wanted to employ. The Blues’ boss said: “We will not be going there with any sense of inferiority. They will have watched us and they know we are a footballing side.” Afterwards, KK could not hide his disappointment, despite some encouraging play from the Blues at times. He said: “We can play and pass a lot better. The problems were self-inflicted. This is a step up for us against Arsenal and they were very good and energetic. We can’t have any complaints, but we can play better. I thought Nicolas Anelka did terrifically. He took his goal well and I like him a lot as a player. He’ll get better when we get to know him better. He didn’t get a lot of support from Darren Huckerby or Shaun Goater. It is a learning curve for a lot of our players,” continued the Boss Man. “There were a lot of good things with Nicolas Anelka taking his goal very well. But it has been a tough start in the Premiership and coming to Highbury is about as tough as it gets. I am disappointed but not disheartened as we have enough quality here to cause teams problems.” Keegan concluded that “It was nearly a good performance but we gave away a lot of possession in our own half. At least we tried to play them at football. There are two ways to play at Highbury. Either you shut up shop and hope to survive, or you come and play them at football and we had a go at them. But they are an excellent side and Thierry Henry in particular was outstanding.”

The Gallic Charmer: After the game, Patrick Vieira showed why he has been sent off the same number of times as Keano in the Premiership. The French international was cautioned on Tuesday night after stamping on the foot of Eyal Berkovic. Viera’s charming response was “I’ve had a few bookings this season and I don’t understand them. I think the ref booked me this time because Berkovic shouted too much. He was crying like a big girl – it’s not the first time.” Vieira has a disrepute charge pending with the FA after being charged for using foul and abusive language towards the officials in Arsenal’s previous game at Chelsea.

Gooners Impressed: Goalscorer Thierry Henry praised City’s performance. “The most important thing is that we won against a great team – they came to go forward and we couldn’t control them,” said Henry. “They are a great team. I’ve played with Ali Benarbia and Nicolas Anelka before and they’re great players and we knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but at the end of the day we’ve got three points.” Manager Arsene Wenger was equally encouraging, saying that City “are very good technically, they keep the ball well and are dangerous, and in my opinion they will finish in the top 10.” KK liked the sound of that by all accounts. “Top 10, eh?” he commented. “I hope he’s right. He’s a very good judge isn’t he?”

Squad News

Dennis is a Fan: Dennis Tueart has been discussing the progress made by Shaun Wright-Phillips this year. Dennis thinks that SWP could progress even further. “Now that Shaun has had the tremendous experience of a full year in the First Division and he has settled into life in the Premiership, I think he will do big things this year,” acknowledged the Director of Football. “He doesn’t look out of place when he joins up with the rest of the squad and he has such a wonderful, perfect attitude and talent, that I’m sure he can go on to prove himself at the highest level. Sometimes young players can get to a certain level and relax their outlook on things, by reaching a comfort zone. Shaun won’t do that. He’d never rest on his laurels and always wants to learn. It is such a big boost for the club when he gets picked for these internationals. But the added bonus from our point of view is that the experience he gets playing at the highest level will undoubtedly make him a better player.”

Dr Kev’s Injury Update: Jon Macken’s knee problem shows no sign of clearing up – in fact, the £5 million man is now looking at having an operation to cure the problem. “It may be that he will need a little operation that will keep him out for a month or five weeks,” reported the Boss Man. “We are hoping that it is a floating bit of bone or debris in his knee and that once it is taken out it will not give him any more problems. If it is anything more serious then he could be out until Christmas. It is something which has niggled on at him for a while. He played through the pre-season in pain because understandably he didn’t want to drop out. We then rested him but the day after he came back into training he felt some discomfort. Losing him is a bit of a blow particularly as we are already without Paulo Wanchope. And of course there is no way of going anywhere for someone else because of the transfer rules.” There were better reports on the other casualties in the squad, with Lucien Mettomo, Nicky Weaver and Paulo Wanchope all progressing well. “It is good news about Lucien who is now over his problems and will start back next week,” reported Big K. “He was playing with the injury and it wasn’t doing him any favours. Nick is back at Carrington starting his rehabilitation after his knee operation although we are still looking at Christmas for a return for him. Paulo can do nothing at the moment but should be able to start light work in ten days or so. He is expected back in February which is the better of the two scenarios we were given. When the knee was operated on, the damage was not as serious as it was thought it might be.” Another defender on the mend is Gerard Wiekens. The Dutchman was injured playing for the Reserves at Oldham a fortnight ago, and is said to be on the verge of returning to training.

Terry in Cup Shock: Terry Dunfield enjoyed a touch of giant killing in the Worthington Cup on Tuesday. City allowed the Canadian youngster to turn out for Bury against First Division Stoke City in the first round of the Cup. The Shakers caused a shock by beating Stoke 1-0, and now enter the draw for the second round along with, amongst others, the Boys in Blue from Maine Road.

Court News With Keano

‘Let’s Kill All the Lawyers’ (Shakespeare, King Henry VI): Keano’s lawyers have staged an appropriate defence to their client’s disrepute charges. It seems that Keane’s Human Rights have been infringed, while the FA have no right to bring him to account. Keane’s lawyer, Michael Kennedy said: “This issue concerns the Human Rights Act and the belief in freedom of speech. We don’t see how Roy has brought the game into disrepute. The FA has given us 14 days to respond and we shall consult with Manchester United before putting forward a firm defence.” This brought an icy response from the FA. “All players are constrained on certain matters by the contract they sign with their club,” said an FA source. “The rules and regulations are clearly laid down and if anyone challenged them in a court of law, we would be on the road to anarchy.” Over at OT meanwhile, the Red Devils have been getting in a state about autobiographies by players. Managing Director David Gill said on Thursday: “We need to make it clear that we don’t think it’s appropriate for players to publish a book while they’re still playing for Manchester United.” With Goldenballs Beckham’s musings due out next year, these comments caused a bit of a panic, so Communications Chief Paddy Harverson later ‘clarified’ the situation. “What David Gill was saying is not necessarily that we are going to ban books in the future, we are just going to clarify the policy surrounding books by our players,” said Harverson. “What will happen soon is we will sit down with the manager and chief executive Peter Kenyon and come up with some sort of policy to make sure we are all happy with what happens in future when players publish books. Obviously we don’t want them embarrassing the club or themselves so it’s simply a new policy and not a ban.” So that’s clear then.

Don Barrie (


Bury Burst open by Argentinean Flair

A first half hat-trick for Matias Vuoso and another hat-trick for the young scouser, Chris Shuker; a Ritchie header from a corner and an own goal from ex-Blue, Steve Redmond, ended a miserable night for the Shakers and gave City a glimpse as to why we paid over £3 million for Vuoso. Bury’s consolation goal came from a penalty awarded for handball by Mikkel Bischoff.

City could not have made a brighter start to this game. Right from the kick-off the ball was passed to Kerkar who saw Chris Shuker’s run and fed a through ball. It looked like Redmond tried to touch the ball on to the ‘keeper but he failed in his attempt and Shuker pounced on the ball, rounded the ‘keeper and slotted the ball over the line on sixteen seconds.

The next few minutes saw City take some time to realise that Bury were there for the taking and the Blues allowed the opposition some possession to make some positive moves towards our goal. Indeed, on four minutes Ian Lawson, once of Stockport County, was allowed time and space to head a long ball down for number two, Lee Connell. He seemed to be on the end of every loose ball that Bury were able to conjure; and his shot this time, was well saved by Flowers.

On ten minutes City killed the game as a contest for Bury by scoring a second goal. A long pass out of defence from Ritchie found Shuker, who ran at the Bury defence, twisting and turning and selling Bury’s number four, Nicky Hill a dummy and then feinting to shoot grounded ‘keeper, Seb Rowe to allow Shuker to slot the ball in the bottom left hand corner.

Two minutes later saw City score their third goal although the goal scorer this time was in Bury’s colours, ex-Blue, Steve Redmond. In an own goal similar to the one scored by Phil Babb, in Russia, Vuoso ran down the right hand side and cut in to fire a shot, which rebounded off the ‘keeper and hit Steve directly and rebounded into the far corner of the net.

City’s domination told once again three minutes later with the defence pushing up and Dunne in possession passed to Flood and his well timed and placed cross found Vuoso, who got in front of his marker to flick a lovely volley over the despairing Rowe for our fourth goal of the evening.

City slowed the pace of the game down for the next quarter of an hour and allowed Bury a few brief forays up the field, but to no avail. On 34 minutes we scored our fifth goal when Vuoso was brought down in the area after a neat one two with Shuker. This was the chance for Shuker to get his hat-trick but as Vuoso is all of two inches taller than our diminutive Scouser he decided he was taking the penalty. It was a superbly stuck one as well, hard and low into the bottom left hand corner, no ‘keeper would have stood a chance of getting anywhere near it. It’s good to see a player with such a fierce shot playing in a City shirt. So Vuoso and Shuker both had a brace and you could see both wanted that hat-trick goal.

City kept their foot on the pedal all the way to the end of the first half. One particular move was very pleasing to the eye when Tiatto, through good and persistent work down the left, crossed into the box which Vuoso laid off for Willo Flood to half volley just inches over the bar. Minutes before the end of the half, Lee Connell was yet again given time to shoot but his effort was again well saved by Flowers. Just minutes later saw more good work by Flood down the right, producing a good cross for Vuoso again to get in front of his marker and stoop to head his hat-trick goal and City’s sixth of the half.

The second half took a similar vein to the first half but City only won this half two-one. And that scoreline could have been about six; three had it not been for better finishing and good goalkeeping. Our seventh goal came from a corner won by good work by Flood again. Karim Kerkar delivered an outswinging corner with pace that Ritchie rose majestically to head into the bottom left hand corner. For the next ten minutes Bury enjoyed some good possession and nearly made it pay twice during that spell when Connell came close from a free kick and Gareth Seddon saw Flowers make a really great save to deny him Bury’s opening goal.

On sixty nine minutes Shuker finally got his hat-trick goal when Glen Whelan sent a good pass to Vuoso who flicked it on to Shuker who ran into the box, rounded the ‘keeper and slotted the ball into an empty net from a very tight angle. After this goal the game seemed to slow down for both sides and neither team created any real-cut chances. However, whilst trying to clear a corner on eighty five minutes Bischoff inadvertently pushed the ball onto his arm whilst forcing the ball forward with his midriff. The ref awarded the penalty and Ian Lawson coolly converted it past Flowers.

The match ended in injury time with a good chance falling to Loran; after some good midfield work by himself, he passed to Jordan who crossed into the area to find Loran’s head who had carried on his run but was unable to keep the ball down.

This is the first positive display by the reserves this season and puts our Senior Cup progress back on track. I have to make one point. Although it was good to see Vuoso finally make some progress, this was only against Bury who in the recent months have had the Sword of Damocles hanging over their very existence; you would not be surprised to hear that they could not even field a substitute ‘keeper. Our defence looked quite weak in the first half and had this match been against Premiership opposition I feel we would have struggled. I was surprised to see how ineffectual Bischoff was, given his man of the match performances for Denmark U21’s recently. It was good to see Dunne show his quality again in the second half although he’ll have a difficult task dislodging Sun Jihai from his first team place.

Flowers: Had little to do, but made a couple of good saves: 7
Flood: Excellent full reserve début, caused Bury many problems: 9
Tiatto: Was industrious throughout the match and kept the tempo high: 8
Dunne: Mainly anonymous first half, commanding in the second: 8
Bischoff: Never showed his international quality tonight: 6
Ritchie: Not his best game but took his goal well: 7
Whelan: Has yet to discover last season’s form: 6
Loran: Midfield is not his position but was competent: 7
Vuoso: Man of Match performance, let’s hope we see more of this: 9
Kerkar: Was given time and space to pull the strings in the midfield: 8
Shuker: Ran of the ball well but he has played better and not got the rewards: 8

Jordan (Ritchie 63 mins): Fitted into the game effectively: 6
Browne (Flood 79mins): Continued to cause Bury’s defence problems: 6

Unused Subs: Murphy, McCarthy, Paisley.

Rowe, Connell, Kennedy, Hill, Winstanley, Redmond (Buckley 71 mins), Gunby (Whaley 46 mins), Kilford, Lawson, Seddon (Nugent 68 mins), Borley.

Att: Approx 100.

Gavin Cooper (


Some random thoughts following the Arsenal game, my first ‘in the flesh’ City game of the season:

Anelka has found his spiritual home at City? Is that because he’s actually found someone grumpier than himself in Eyal Berkovic? Come on Eyal, get through one game without whingeing. And the odd killer pass wouldn’t go amiss.

SWP was a let-down but still showed lots of lovely touches. His dad was tight-lipped when I bumped into him outside the ground later. ‘I’m just a spectator, mate. I don’t comment. Let’s just say you can imagine how I feel.’

Sun Jihai (not Jihai Sun – so says the Chinese waiter I asked the other day) was badly exposed by Henry, but Henry makes a lot of blokes look silly.

Will the real Marc Fo-e please stand up? How can a player look dreadful and world-beating in the same game? He cleans up beautifully most of the time, but looks worryingly error-prone.

Weren’t we interested in Maccarone at one point? He looks a snip at £8 million or whatever Boro paid. We need someone to help Supernic. Goater was unimpressive – one good pass in, what was it, half an hour? And as for Huckerby, KK has calmed down since his assertions – following DH’s one decent game this season – that he’s going to play for England some day soon. Vuoso?

Ali B. One thought: are we going to see ‘Kenny Carkey’ (or whatever he was called that night) when Ali B serves his suspension? Will he slip into the rôle unnoticed, as Ali’s natural replacement?

At least we don’t have to play Arsenal every week. And, encouragingly, Arsenal seem pleased they don’t have to play us every week.

Daniel Marcus (


I thought you might like to read Arsen Wenger’s view of the match taken from the Arsenal web site.