by David Sweeney.
With Arsene Wenger’s Arsenals stuttering start to the season hitting a new low and Blackburn’s bumbling boss Steve Keen somehow convinced his side deserved more against a rampant Villa, today’s ‘Monday maulings’ are somewhat manager intensive. We also take a trip to the Championship to see how son of legendary Danish Goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel, Kasper is faring at his new club as well as working out who is to blame for Ipswich’s 7-1 humiliation at newly promoted Peterborough before rounding off at the Stadium of Light to see which mackem had a ‘mare in the North-East derby on Saturday.
Arsene Wenger and Arsenal
Losing your skipper and prized asset as well as potentially another hugely talented midfielder, Samir Nasri coupled with a dour opening day draw at Newcastle and only managing to scrape an unconvincing 1-0 win at home against Udinese in the Champions League qualifier with the away leg still to then it could hardly be classed as what you would call a vintage start to the season for Arsenal and in particular Arsene Wenger, who for the first time in a long time has come under criticism from some quarters including the clubs’ fans for failing to invest the money allegedly available to him on top proven talent that will help turn the Gunners from top-four pretenders to title contenders
If you thought all of that sounded problematicc for Wenger then the 90 minutes that followed against Liverpool on Saturday made things no better. Out-fought and out-thought Liverpool’s superior fitness and strength in depth shone through as Arsenals inexperienced eleven were taught a footballing lesson in the final fifteen minutes at the Emirates further piling the misery on an increasingly venerable looking Frenchman.
Too add insult to injury for poor old Arsene, he has today been handed a two-match ban by Uefa after being found guilty of breaching the terms of a previous Champions League sanction.
Arsenal now face a season defining ten-days with the Udinese return in midweek before embarking on a tough-trip to Old Trafford. Two defeats would spell disaster for the Gunners, with that in mind it’s time for Arsene take on his biggest test yet.
The second manager to come under-fire is the highly deluded Steve Kean of Blackburn Rovers. The rookie gaffer reckons Rovers will be Champions League contenders within 5 years with him at the helm so with these lofty expectations a home game against Wolves followed by an away trip to Villa should see an easy 6 points winging themselves back to Ewood shouldn’t they? The answer to this question is no. Two defeats out of two, with even the ‘prolific’ Emile Heskey managing to find the target has so far have left the Scottish sumpremo perhaps even more embarrassed than when he last week received an 18-month driving ban after he admitted to drink-driving. Very much like Wenger, Kean has endured a hell-ish start to the league campaign both personally and professionally and with a distinct lack of investment coming from his chicken-mad chairmen, the outlook does not look good for Keen with the bookies making him the hot favourite to be the first manager to get the sack this season.
The now suspended pair must shoulder a good chunk of the blame for this frankly embarrassing score-line.
With Leicester City cruising to a 2-0 away win at Nottingham Forest the referee correctly awarded the home side a penalty, and from that decision a crazy two minutes commenced leaving Leicester new keeper in prime position for a ‘mauling.’
Schmeichel, taking exception to the referees decision, protested profusely to no avail and was booked for his troubles. He was then beaten by Lewis McGugan from the subsequent spot-kick. As if that wasn’t bad enough he then grabbed the ball and hurled it into the stands foolishly stopping Forest from quickly resuming play. Within a minute of receiving his first booking Schmeichel was given his marching orders for a unforgivable show of naivety.
Although claiming his innocence the Leicester goalkeeper whose father was famed for his red-nose was himself left red-faced as his childlike display of petulance effectively lost his side what would have been a vital three points had he stayed on the field.
His manager, the usually calm and suave Sven Goran Eriksson was less than impressed and dismissed the keepers excuse that he did not see the ref giving him his first booking as ‘not good enough.’ And coming from Sven that’s quite the criticism
Lee Martin and Tommy Smith – Ipswich Town
Posh even had the audacity to allow Ipswich to go a goal up before storming back to trounce the hapless Tractor Boys, 7, yes SEVEN, 1. The inexplicable
sending offs however were the catalyst for Jewell’s men to disintegrate and give up the ghost as they allowed the on-song Posh to run riot and easily waltz through Town’s terrible back line. Therefore Lee Martin gets ‘mauled’ for his needless challenge near the touchline which saw him red carded, followed by Tommy Smith who equally as inelegantly hopelessly hacked down the through on goal Peterborough forward. Without these two incidents the result would not have been as crushing and the now suspended pair must shoulder a good chunk of the blame for this frankly embarrassing score-line.
Ipswich Manager Paul Jewell was refreshingly realistic and commented that the fans who demanded refunds from the stands in protest should receive them.
A devastating derby-day defeat was all but realised when Sunderland full-back Phil Bardsley was dismissed for a second booking due to a reckless tackle on Newcastle’s star performer Fabricio Coloccini. The tackle was out of pure frustration as Sunderland slipped to another defeat to their Geordie neighbours despite dominating for large spells. Tackles like Bardsley’s are unnecessary and need to be stamped out of the game therefore he receives a mild-mauling for his poor on-the-field behaviour.