Friday, March 31, 2006

Hubris or confidence: A new team is born?

Heartening comments from Thierry Henry today in the mirror about the current team. He feels that the Real game has been a true turning point; a moment from which a second invincibles can be borne.

Well, maybe. It's great to see the confidence, belief, and desire back in the team, which seemed to be almost completely absent between November to February. But we've still got a long way to go this season. The game against Villa tomorrow is a must win, and I'm sure the usual cliches about this being as big a match as the Juve game will come out. Cliches aside, we do all need to recognise that all the league matches remaining for the rest of the season are all vitally important. As I've consisitently maintained, the only league game we have any justification in dropping points in, from now until the end of the season, is the match at Old Trafford. Going up there is always a big ask, and United always raise their game for the big teams. But, perhaps with a 4-5-1 system that actually works, or with an Adebayor-Henry partnership that gives us more options up front, we could even take points from that. I think this squad now has the desire to make a sprint finish to the end of the season which will guarantee 4th place.

What I also found heartening about Th's comments, were they seemed to be in the tone of someone who envisaged his future at the club. I found this story interesting as well. As Giuly points out, does TH really want to go from being the centrepoint of a team, and a club were he is universally loved, to a Barca team where he will have to fight for his position, and may not start every week? I think Henry may be realising the full potential of the youngsters, and that we have as much chance of pushing for Euro silverware as any other team in Europe. Something that could perhaps, ironically, not be said last year when we were doing better in the league, and no one really thought the club was in that bad a shape. What we've seen in the Juve and Madrid matches, and in a smattering league matches, especially of late, is a new team. One which has had the half of the spine of the invincibles -Vieira and Campbell- ripped out. One in which Hleb and Eboue gives us options on the right as well as left. One in which the form of Fabregas and Senderos, as much as Henry, dictates the strength of the team.

It remains to be seen whether Henry's statement is one of hubris or confidence; whether this team will develop into the great side it is so clearly capable of becoming. And I think Henry, increasingly, wants to be around to find out.

Having said all that read this bizarre/worrying piece. It seems having lots of friends = having lots of speculation.

Elsewhere, Martin Jol is getting a bit worried about us getting into the CL via winning it, and then denying spurs their place if they finish in fourth.

Bobby keeps on being linked to a number of clubs, including, today, Benfica and Villareal. Personally, if I was Wenger, I'd have run onto the pitch with a two year deal after that tackle. I've also heard that lawyers are sniffing around the club, well even more so, given that we only offer 1 year deals to the over 30s, which, potentially, could be construed as an ageist, and illegal, employment policy.

On that note of legal insanity, I'll bid you adieu.


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