I’ve been massively busy this week and still am, so it’s only a quick one.
As part of my research (ahem) into how best to watch games, I’ve actually seen quite a bit of football, albeit not full games.
And what I have seen leads me to believe that there’s something very strange going on.
I’ve heard some people say that the lack of crowds isn’t making any difference to results, but I really beg to differ.
Everton looked to be on a roll, but have lost three on the trot and we currently have Southampton leading. You could make a case that Southampton were not far away from being a good team anyway, but last season was one of two parts, where the home and away form couldn’t have been more different.
Just as much as I didn’t expect us to be leading the league, so I didn’t expect them to be and I don’t think it’s a coincidence.
Then again, things might just be settling down now, or maybe I’m just talking a load of rubbish, because if you actually look at the league table, the usual suspects, in Pool, Chelsea, Spurs and Leicester are all up there and those most of us thought would struggle (Sheff Utd, Burnley, WBA and Fulham etc) are at the bottom.
I’m rather killing my own argument, but my point is that I think any team can beat any other.
It’s probably why I’ve been too wary of predicting scores since the season started.
And today’s game is exactly the same.
I’ve spoken to people who are fairly confident that we can get something today and I can see why, because we have a very decent record against them away from home recently.
But then I think about our defence, which if it’s not protected by our midfield, seems frankly useless and prone to conceding at every opportunity the opposition creates.
Dean Smith might say that we haven’t suddenly become porous, but you could have fooled me. Our defence has never really had me convinced in the slightest and even during our finest hour for ages, against Pool, I was thinking we were lucky not to have conceded a few.
But then, if our midfield performs, we do actually look a very tidy outfit, probably because it masks our defensive weakness and we look capable of beating anybody.
We’ve looked poor in the middle over the last couple of games, so the obvious question is should we make changes in the side?
There are only two options for me.
First, Hourihane comes in to replace either McGinn or Barkley. I can understand why, as both have been poor. The plus side is that Conor has that wand of a left foot, which can get you a goal.
I get that. Totally.
But he’s usually so invisible in games that he becomes a liability. If the remaining Mid (McGinn/Barkley) is also invisible, I don’t see what we’ve gained. At least the usual incumbents can offer excellent shifts sometimes.
And the other option is to put Nakamba in for Luiz.
I like Nakamba, so wouldn’t mind that sub. It can always be reversed if it’s not working.
You could probably say the same with putting Conor in too, I suppose.
But I’m not convinced either move will happen, even if they probably should.
The last thing we want is players thinking they’re undroppable, but it’s my opinion that both McGinn and Barkley are much better players on their day and Dean Smith will see it that way.
Injury news is that Traore is out for a couple of weeks, so no doubt Trezeguet will start.
And I really can’t be bothered to see what’s happening at Arsenal. Everything seems a circus there lately and they’re not the club they were, are they?
Prediction time then and I’m laughing to myself because I really haven’t got a clue.
I really believe this could be something like 6-1 either way.
Let’s go with sensible ground and I’m going to say 1-1.
Not that I think that’ll really be the score.