Anorak News | Lucky Stars

Lucky Stars

by | 17th, September 2003

‘A GREAT night for British club football in the Champions League saw Manchester United thump Panathinaikos 5-0, Chelsea beat Sparta Prague 1-0 and Glasgow Rangers come from behind to win 2-1 against VFB Stuttgart.

‘Anyone seen Joe Cole?’

All the papers are full of praise, showing pictures of United’s goals and Chelsea’s William Gallas, scorer of the Blues’ only goal.

The Sun also hears from Claudio Ranieri. “I am a very lucky man,” say the Italian, whose mastery of English makes him sound like an Italian Clouseau.

“I am such a lucky man to have so many fantastic players. It means I can change my system at any time. If I want to make alterations I can do that at any time and always know which are the best players to do that.”

The English word Ranieri is clutching for is tinkering, although we will accept meddling or interfering. If other teams weren’t looking forward to a game with Chelsea this season, they will take heart from the news that Ranieri will fiddle while the game goes on.

But sticking with the Champions League, the Mirror takes a look at Arsenal’s preparations for their game against Inter Milan tonight. And it hears the club’s captain Patrick Vieira say that the Gunners have to toughen up.

Given the team’s disciplinary record and aggressive streak, Vieira’s comments conjure up images of the Gunners marching onto the pitch dressed in gloves and boxing boots.

But his point is more educated than a simple call to fight, fight, fight. “It’s not that we are naïve,” says Vieira, “but it’s because we want to play too much. Maybe we should sit back and be more patient.”

While not a call for the return of George Graham, the Gunners must have realised by now that going forward all the time leaves holes in the back.

Defending a lead is something England cricketers must also learn how to do. The Test series against South Africa was there for the winning. Scampering to a 2-2 draw was not good enough.

But Michael Vaughan, England’s captain, has found the reason for England’s failure to win everything – too much cricket.

The Express says that the counties are supporting Vaughan’s pleas for the number of county games to be reduced. This will surely make the game more streamlined and competitive at domestic level.

But where will the fans who attend the county games now go on a damp Friday morning? Over to you Doris Pickles and your dog Boycs…’

Posted: 17th, September 2003 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink