Look into my eyes and repeat after me: 'I am Wilson Palacios'
Well Harry got it completely wrong against Stoke. He prioritised the wrong competition and in order to ensure that we still had Wilson available for Wednesday's replay against Fulham he kept him on the bench and sent on Kaboul in his place. How wrong can you be.
As a result of these errors we won the game and Wilson is still available. Not only that but Gudjohnsen, once described in this very column as a 'once great player but now sadly past his best' scored a fine goal with a clever assist by Crouch, once described in this very column as a 'very poor footballer'.
However I did get the score correct, even though that prediction was made before Defoe was ruled out and Harry made all those tactical errors. So once again we are all thankful that Harry is our leader and that he got it right but clearly for all the wrong reasons. Is it better to be wrong for the right reasons as I often am? Or do you prefer Harry's system which seems to work against all the odds? Harry's mistake was the worst since Sir Alf dropped Jimmy Greaves for Hurst in the World Cup Final nearly 50 yrs ago. We not only won the World Cup but Sir Geoff scored a hat trick. Managers: what do they know.
The game itself lacked interest as a footballing spectacle and was more engaging for the side shows, most of which occurred in the 20 minutes after half time. Ekotto had a spat with Corluka; Ekotto still surrounded by the Red Mist conceded a pointless penalty which enabled them to equalise; Gudjohnsen replaced the injured Pavlyuchenko before half time, which gave us all that sinking feeling; but Eidur then proved us all wrong, well me anyway, by playing with some craft and skill, scoring a first class goal and later providing a clever step-over for Kranjcar's winner. We threatened to overwhelm them but then came the penalty. Before that Whitehead had earned a second yellow card for another crude foul on Modric who had been targeted as had Bale in the first half.
Kaboul is no Wilson but proved more than adequate for the occasion especially in the air. He even emulated Wilson's shooting skills: high wide and averagely good looking. The defence was largely untroubled because Stoke played more like the away side and anything resembling actual football was provided by ourselves which prevented Stoke FC being charged under the False Descriptions Act.
The much vaunted 'afternoon of the long throws ' was largely a damp squib thanks in part to Crouch and to Gomes' enthusiasm. We got into more trouble trying to avoid giving away throw-ins than from the throws themselves. Bale flickered gamely in the first half but then donned the cloak of invisibility for the second. Modric kept the ball well without creating a great deal and they had a couple of late chances, the best from a poor back pass header by Bassong which Sidibe found so comical that he fell over laughing and Gomes was able to clear. Kranjcar was lively and effective but Gudjohnsen stole the show.
So now we have proved that we can play without Lennon, King, Woodgate, Modric, Defoe, Jenas, Huddlestone, our Friend in the Far North and Wilson Palacios. We have got to within spitting distance of the end of the season and are still fourth having been in the top four for most of the time and not once below 7th. place. Of our challengers only Man.City have a theoretical advantage on us and we have to play them in what could be the Champions' League place decider.
On Wednesday it's Fulham for a place in the semi finals against Portsmouth and on Saturday its Portsmouth again in the league. These are two 'winnable' games, a term which is starting to have more meaning than previously'. Konchesky has attempted to raise the stakes by huffing and puffing after their victory against Juventus but by Sunday Man. City had reduced their claims to their proper level.
At home we should be able to progress . We have played Fulham three times this season and they have yet to score, home or away. Assuming that we have a dozen or so players available who can be put in some sort of team formation I predict a win by the odd goal, probably 1-0. Anyone attempting to make a career out of placing wagers on my predictions are warned that past performance is no indication of future return.
Some fans are worried that we might make the Champions' League places only to go out in the qualifying or fall be the wayside next season. Enjoy it while you can friends; nothing is guaranteed, anything can happen, 'better to fail aiming high than succeed aiming low', 'to dare is to do'. I'm still lovin' it and so too should all of you.
This reminds me of an old Spurs fan's reaction to an apocryphal Jenas hat-trick.
'Ah yes', he said, 'but can he do it every week?'
Lets get there first and see what happens.