Well, this week has been dominated by the story of where Benteke will be at the end of the season. Regarded as the one bright spark in a truly awful season, I think, to be fair, such is the talent in Benteke that we would have struggled to keep hold of him regardless of our position. Benteke had been offered to a number of the top clubs and they weren’t prepared to take the risk. In many ways it was the same with Swansea’s Michu. We were one of the clubs that turned him down, so you have to take the rough with the smooth.
However, I think the EPL is now reaching a very dangerous phase. Have the new rules on spending and the wage cap simply ensured that the status quo now remains for the foreseeable future? The clubs that have spent early will be able to generate money from their sales whilst the rest of the league may struggle. Nevertheless, the story of Benteke is indicative of where we are: we have dismantled the team that was capable of staying in the top 6 and we can’t afford 10 million on a single player so I expect us to continue go down the Benteke route. That means taking the risk on a relative unknown and then selling him on if he proves to be a success. This may be frustrating yet we might also get to see some exciting young players at the club who know they will get their chance. This gives us an edge then against the bigger clubs.
Moving on, I was delighted to see that we beat an excellent Ajax side 2-1 in the NextGen cup. We continue to have an excellent academy and I do think that in the long run we will see the benefits of this approach. As I stated before, the club needs a change in mindset and we need to really embrace the change and get behind Lambert. I have a suspicion that after 2 defeats Arsenal will be coming at us all guns blazing. As ever with Arsenal, they blow very hot and cold so let’s hope they are Arctic cold for Saturday’s game.
As for Man City, I really can’t see us getting anything from that game so really it comes down to QPR and Reading. These, for me, are the 2 games that decide whether we stay up or not. It is about mindset and obviously with a young team it’s also about confidence. The West Ham game will have helped so let’s hope the next two games don’t dent that. But let’s be sure about one thing: no matter the opponent the team really needs to try and go for the win. Southampton showed that Man City can be beaten and so why can’t we do the same?
It is a very nervous time for us, but I DO believe we can beat the drop.
Keep the faith and UTV.