April 5th, 2005 • 5:11 am
This game was not televised here in Canada, so we had to make do with the Sunday highlights show.
It looks like Thierry Henry was back to his usual, cocky self with a well-executed hat-trick that takes him to a total of 23 goals in the EPL this season (30 in all competitions), and should ensure that he wins the Golden Boot once again.
Gilberto was back with a new hairdo that makes him look like an older version of Jermaine Pennant. His return will have little impact on the rest of this season, but there is hope that the 2005-2006 season will be better for him and for his club. The key question remains whether Patrick Vieira can really deliver and whether Arsène Wenger will get another tough mid-fielder in the Edu mould (assuming that Edu leaves), in order to have proper backup in case of injury or lack of form.
The Gunners were unable to keep a clean sheet and, while the Huckerby goal was nice, it is quite clear that it all came from yet another Lehmann blunder. In addition, the German keeper was handed a two-game suspension in Europe by the UEFA today for a bottle-throwing incident. Let’s hope that this suspension will not have any impact on Arsenal — in other words, let’s hope that Wenger gets another proper goal keeper for next season and gets rid of the German with the hopelessly flailing arms altogether. He simply is not good enough.
Elsewhere, Manchester United were somewhat improbably kept at bay at Old Trafford by a rather fortunate Blackburn team. (Let’s hope that they’ve used up their capital of good luck and magnetic goal posts and will be left exposed in the FA Cup semi-final in 11 days.)
Southamptom were unable to get more than a freak goal against Chelsea, who are now 13 points clear at the top. They simply have an incredible number of points at this stage, and, when you think about it, it all boils down to these unconvincing 1-0 wins early in the season. Had these 3-point wins been the 1-point draws that they should have been (on several occasions), we might still have a contest. Oh well.
The scenes at Newcastle were rather shameful and will surely have put a big dent in the Magpies’ hopes of staging an upset against Manchester United in the other FA Cup semi-final. I suppose that most people will have already bet on a Manchester United – Arsenal final, in which the Red Devils would be the favourites given the recent track record between these two teams.