This time last week the wife was packing – heading off home for a family reunion.
We went through the checklist before she got into the taxi – ironing done, meals in the freezer, woman coming in to do the cleaning, enough Frosties and milk to last a month, and then she says to me “NOW can I have my passport” – like I’m some kind of Ogre!
Seven hours later I get a text from her telling me she’s landed and she’s heading for the Duty Free. 15 minutes after that I get a text from my bank advising me that my credit card has just bought the Duty Free.
In her absence, having finally tipped the scales at a less than svelte 250 pounds it was no surprise to look in the freezer on Monday afternoon and see a shortage of things like steak and kidney pie, but I honestly thought it wasn’t possible to freeze lettuce.
To add insult to injury, beer is out altogether, and I’m restricted to a couple of glasses of wine a night.
Now here’s the problem.
Toon playing Liverpool, no wine in the house and a frozen salad lurking in the kitchen.
What do you do?
The night was saved by a fridge full of beer, the number for Pizza Hut delivery and a wife who never reads my articles.
All totally justified by the final result which, lets face it, could not have been guaranteed with a bowl of crispy green stuff and a glass of something that apparently comes from Jacobs Crack.
My Alternative Assessment for this week was already written.
Perch Simpson and Williamson were useless without Colo there to cover, Tiote was going to need another couple of weeks to get back into his stride but we could always depend on Krul and Jonas to put in a good shift.
Hang on, lets have another look at that.
Tim Krul – 6
Nothing special from Tim this week. A good finger tip save onto the bar but looked a bit shaky at times. I was a bit disappointed that he seems more intent on gobbing off these days, and have to say I wasn’t impressed with the fact that he went up for a ball against Carroll, punched him on the chin and Carroll didn’t even flinch.
Full credit to him though for pulling out of the challenge that got Carroll booked. He’s already spent too much time with Suarez.
Danny Simpson – 7
Life is so much better when you actually get away with stuff.
Simpson could have been off early on for a handball on the line that would have screwed us, but he wasn’t, it didn’t and he came out a hero.
Decent game. Played the odds, got away with it.
Mike Williamson – 8
Bit of the usual Dancing With The Stars but he also got away with it, and nearly got a goal aswell. Cracking game but he doesn’t get my Man Of The Match
James Perch – 9
I think I might have been a bit generous here, but that’s probably because I normally expect so little from him. I was almost looking forward to slagging him off and telling you all how you’ve just been too bloody forgiving and now look what he’s done….. and then the bugger shafts me by playing a corker.
Without a doubt my Man Of The Match, but not impressed with his amateur dramatics at the end.
Jonas Gutierrez – 6
Poor old Jonas was always onto a loser. Commentator reckons that Dalglish put Bellamy on the wing when he heard that Jonas was at left back. Bellamy was just too quick for him, and while he gave his all, as he always does, he was completely outplayed by the little Welsh mouth breather.
Yohan Cabaye – 7
Played one of his better games of late. He’s been off the boil for a while but turned it on against the ‘pool.
Danny Guthrie – 7
Another decent shift – I hope we can find a way to keep him.
Cheik Tiote – 8
Straight into his stride with a solid blocking performance. He does a brilliant job playing just in front of the two centre-backs, and I think that Cheik and Cabaye are responsible for the vast improvement in recent weeks to our DairyLea passing game. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the lads knock it about in those little triangles with such confidence. Superb.
Hatem Ben Arfa – 9
Another brilliant performance from the French lad, though in all honesty Enrique did a fine job of marshalling him down the line.
It is expected that we might lose one or two decent players in the summer as Ashley cashes in on his new business model. Benny might be one to go, but I hope not.
With Cabaye and Benny in midfield our two strikers are now getting service.
Unfortunately we are starting to expect such great things from him that a performance like this doesn’t get him Man Of The Match
Demba Ba – 8
There’s a lot of talk at the moment that Ba has gone off the boil now that Cisse has arrived. I like to think that he’s just focused on other things. When he first arrived Ba always played with either Best or Ameobi behind, knocking the headers on to him. Story appears to be that Cisse is actually the better striker and Ba has turned provider.
Either way – having both of them in your lineup can’t be a bad thing.
Papiss Cisse – 8
So – only 8 for banging in 2 goals when Ba gets 8 and doesn’t score? From my seat Ba seems to work a lot harder for the team.
Not complaining, well, OK just a little bit. CAN SOMEBODY PLEASE EXPLAIN TO CISSE ABOUT OFFSIDE?
Twice he was standing a yard offside looking along the line. Yes yes yes, I’m being picky, but it’s a bit like the wife’s Yorkshire puddings – there’s just no excuse for it.
The subs did a decent job, but nothing of note so we’ll skip over them and on to Pardew.
The plan had to be to just niggle Carroll and hope he puts himself out of the game, and a yellow card after a few minutes took care of that, and pretty much the same with Enrique’s younger brother, Suarez, who was basically, well, rubbish.
As a whole our makeshift back four hardly inspired confidence and there were times when I was viewing the game through the green tint of a Heineken bottle, but the result was just that and three more points on the board. Personally I would say that was one of the best team performances of the season and the way the boys were throwing themselves in front of everything was , well, Tayloresque.
I don’t really consider Pardew a tactical genius but what he has achieved this year is not far short of a miracle, so he must be doing something right.
One of the highlights of the match has to be spotting a Ron Weasley look-alike in the crowd when Cisse celebrated his first goal.
If you thought that Cisse’s Paycheck and NutMeg Ryan were bad last week, playing Liverpool has opened up the door for Kenny standing on the side line yelling at his Dutch forward to keep an eye on Tiote, or rather “CHECK OUT CHEICK, KUYT”
Yes – I know – like the wife’s Yorkshires!