Well, that all went according to plan. Sometimes we seem to get the plans the wrong way up but not on Saturday. There were the odd alarms of course: a decent penalty shout turned down early for them; a disallowed goal that would have made it 3-2 with minutes to go; two penalty appeals turned down for us against Bale. Their replacement keeper made a couple of good saves and as the first half played itself out without any clear chances, except for the ones that Pavlyuchenko missed you began to get that 'here we go again' feeling.
Defoe however with lightening reflexes picked up a Corluka glanced header from a corner just on half time and slammed it home. Half time talk amended, crowd happy, terrible tea never tasted so good and all is right with the world. Pavlyuchenko missed a few more but contrived to grab a couple and only defensive acrobatics prevented his hat-trick. Return ticket to Russia put on hold once again. From outcast to Harry's best mate in half a dozen games.
Palacios still hovering on the edge of a two match suspension maintained his balance and once again played with effectiveness and control. He can't get through the rest of the season can he? Bale roasted Salgado several times and picked up another assist for Pavlyuchenko's second. Salgado an experienced ex Real Madrid star paid full tribute to a fellow member of the attacking full backs club despite accusing him of diving twice. Well he would say that wouldn't he. I'm not sure how a La Liga notable ends up in the twilight of his career at Blackburn. I assume that there must have been a mix up with his travel documents.
Blackburn scored from yet another set play, where over 50% of their goals have come from. Samba was clearly holding Dawson down which was another Webb error but over the whole game his incompetence was fairly evenly distributed and didn't ultimately affect the result. We should have won it; we did win it. We are getting just a little predictable and I could get to like it.
Results are still going our way, Aston Villa drew at Stoke but at the time of writing Liverpool have just scored three in 6 mins. against Portsmouth but whatever happens there we are still 4th with nine games to go. It's still Man.City that have a possible points advantage over us in terms of games in hand but they do not look like putting a sustained run together at the moment. They blew a couple more of their points advantage in their draw at the weekend. Our goal difference is superior to all our challengers and might prove crucial in the final analysis. I have said that before but the prospect of the whole 38 game season going right down to the wire is clearly preying on my mind.
Whether I will have any thing resembling a mind by the 9th of May is debatable. We could do with a couple of our wounded warriors returning to the front line rapidisimo. Huddlestone for preference but even Bentley and Jenas lurking on the touchline would be reassuring just in case Palacios has a rush of blood before the end of the season. Lennon, King and Woodgate have been sent back behind the lines from the front line field hospital and would appear to be on very extended leave, possibly for the duration.
The seemingly endless current debate about whether we would prefer to win the cup or come 4th, is a no-brainer to me. The FA cup is a shiny domestic bauble which adds just another line to our proud history. The Champions' League offers us prestige and status in the wider world. We could look the Sky four squarely in the eye. One of them will have been discarded and the world will never be the same again. It's more than a headline its a new chapter in the History of FFootball. It means that our key players , particularly Modric will be more than happy to stay and those that dream of exotic foreign imports may get some of their Xmas wishes. The money will be nice too. Champions' League nights at the new stadium. Mmm!
Mind you there is no reason why we shouldn't do both. Now that's what you might call just being plain greedy, but its wonderful to be in this position after so many years of waiting and hoping.
Pack up all my care and woe' indeed.
On current form we should be able to handle Stoke. Another team that relies heavily on set plays. Any team whose secret weapon is a long throw deserves to be soundly thrashed and I think that we will win it, even with a depleted squad given the form we are in.
The home game was a complete mess. We conceded late to a very good goal by sub. Whelan having gone down to ten men with Woodgate and Lennon injured. Simonsen made some good saves and we missed some decent chances. It can't all go wrong again. We coped with the long throws of Delap but I assume that we will concede one but should score a couple with Defoe and Pavlyuchenko on such good form.
Official JimmyG2 forecast 2-1 and another week in the top four. Do we all not like that!