Timothy Henry Henman achieved a modest level of success during his professional tennis career. This is appropriate given that Mr Henman was a player with modest abilities and achieved a level of success in keeping with his abilities. For some reason though, that only certain members of the British public can answer, whenever the Wimbledon tennis tournament came round in the summer of each year the expectations of Henman’s chances of reaching Wimbledon would suddenly increase exponentially. I think Henman achieved far above his level of talent in reaching the semi finals four times at Wimbledon.
First Set – Arsenal vs Chelsea
Arsenal Football Club, in their present form under Arsene Wenger, are basically Tim Henman. They have some decent players in the squad and should achieve a decent level of success, such as finishing in the top four and qualifying for the Champions League. The Arsenal faithful, like their Liverpool counterparts, always start the year with the belief that they can win the league title. There is a sense of expectation in the first half of the season, that carries them through December and January and then come February – things fall apart like Chinua Achebe.
Arsene “specialist in failure” Wenger lived up to his moniker this weekend as Arsenal were on the wrong end of a tennis score administered by Chelsea. Unfortunately, this is not the first hammering that Arsenal have received this season – they lost 3-6 to Manchester City and 1-5 to Liverpool earlier this season. The manner of all three defeats is what should alarm all Arsenal supporters the most – when faced with strong opposition, Arsenal appear to wilt under the pressure and have not physically turned up for the game.
Arsene Wenger was supposed to be celebrating his 1000th game in charge of Arsenal, but to my mind he has been in charge for about 500 games too many. Wenger may have an eye for talent and have the ability to coach talented young players, but he seems to lack the tactical nous (or the motivational skills) required to overcome strong opposition.
Second Set – Liverpool vs Cardiff City
Liverpool started this match as favourites and were expected to add to their impressive goal difference with ease against relegation troubled Cardiff. The Merseyside team have tended to start games very quickly this season, but struggled to get out of first gear during the early part of the game. Cardiff were ahead early on and fully deserved their lead as they started strongly and pressured the Liverpool players into silly mistakes.
Luis Suarez swept home a Glen Johnson cross, set up by a delightful through ball from Jordan Henderson to equalise the score. Cardiff went ahead again through Frazier Campbell, but were pegged back again by a Martin Skrtel goal just before half time.
This game highlighted the reason why I feel a Liverpool cannot win the title this year. A hat trick from Suarez, another Skrtel goal and a Sturridge goal proved to be too much firepower for Cardiff to handle. However, Liverpool’s habit of conceding silly goals at crucial moments may prove to be the difference between a long-awaited league title and Champions League football next season. There is a positive to take though – Liverpool have found a fighting spirit which they have lacked in previous seasons which bodes well for the future.