Why the schedule is all wrong

By STUART WATSON Last week I raised some concerns about picking up all three points at the Reebok, I needn’t have worried as a Cesc Fabregas inspired Arsenal knocked Owen Coyle’s men down relatively comfortably in the end.
It wasn’t with out some defensive concerns though, I lost count of how many chances Matthew Taylor missed, and we were very lucky when he was clear through on goal but shot way too early.
One thing that had everyone drooling was the sublime touch by Fran Merida for our second goal. The way he brought the ball down under pressure from the defenders and goalkeeper and to then switch it to his other foot before putting the ball into the net was exceptional.
Often ‘Goal of the Month’ or such competitions are 25-yard top corner efforts, but I would put forward that one from the Spaniard for technical ability and the finish. Tomorrow night sees us play Bolton again for the second time in three days.   This game should have been played back in August, but was rescheduled because of our Champions League commitments.
Here’s an idea for the Premier League, how about you don’t schedule games in for teams when you know full well that they will be competing in Europe or at least let them play the game the following week. This would make a lot more sense than re-arranging it for midway through the season, when the teams are about to play the return fixture.
This weekend brings the F.A Cup and sees us head back up the M6 to Stoke City and more eyes could be on this one than usual as we could see the return of Sol Campbell who re-signed for the club last week. I said at the start of the season that we needed more defensive cover and another striker, but I certainly didn’t think it would be Sol who would be joining us.
Arsene Wenger has never resigned a player for Arsenal and Sol must have shown him something to offer him a contract till the end of the season. Providing he can re-gain match fitness he would provide perfect cover for William Gallas and Thomas Vermaelen in the centre of defence.
Some people have said that he isn’t the player he once was and that he’s lost his pace.  But I argue that he was still playing every week for Portsmouth up till the end of last season so he can’t have lost that much of his ability. Even if his pace isn’t what it was of ten years ago then he will still be able to read the game perfectly and guide our younger players.
Looking further ahead, next Wednesday sees our trip to Aston Villa start a four game run which will probably define the game as we then play Manchester United (home), Chelsea (away) and Liverpool (home) in the space of two weeks. If we are to be taken as serious title challengers we need to pick up ten points out of that, and I honestly think nothing less than a win at Stamford Bridge will be needed if we want to see Cesc lift the trophy in May.

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