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Well, what a week!!! Points on the board and new players too!
I was always certain we'd achieve the latter prior to transfer deadline day but after witnessing our opening day performance I wasn't quite so sure about the former. Credit where credit's due though, last weekend's win at West Brom was a hard fought, determined performance that at least showed we're resolute enough to fight through this tricky period.
Although we never "took the game to West Brom" (as I hoped we might), we weren't, in all honesty, unduly troubled throughout. Tim Howard was solid and dependable while Joseph Yobo and Joleon Lescott snuffed out the "threat" of Ishmael Miller. Mind you, after the pairings inexplicable performance against Blackburn it would have been hard not to have shown improvement. And while we have the likes of Mikel Arteta, Leon Osman and Yakubu, class will always tell.
Major credit too for a half-fit James Vaughan, whose introduction ensured the game turned in our favour.
We should remember though it was only West Brom, newly promoted and lacking enough real class to trouble the Premier League's elite.
Portsmouth will be a different proposition. They may have lost their last six league games (four at the end of the last campaign and two this) and not scored yet in three outings this season. But it has been Manchester United (twice) and Chelsea whom they've come up against!
I'm convinced they have enough quality to secure a top ten finish again and will rally after their difficult start..............hopefully though, that will be after 5 o'clock on Saturday!
We must take confidence from last week's victory and I'm sure the mood in the camp has been lifted substantially with the new signings.
Louis Saha (if the deal is completed!) is a proven goalscorer and Sir Alex Ferguson doesn't often get it wrong. But for injuries the French striker would have enjoyed a much more prolific spell at Old Trafford, I'm certain. His goalscoring record at Fulham was almost one in two games and even at United with his injury problems he was still averaging one in three.
He's just 30 too, so although he may have lost some of that pace, he's still got a decent few years left in him! He knows where the net is and will surely be able to strike up a good partnership with The Yak. Good work Mr. Moyes.
Although a full back didn't appear to be our most pressing concern, the experience of Lars Jacobsen in the squad will assist. My only worry on this one is that he may take a little time to get match fit and adjust to Premier League football having only appeared on seven occasions last season for Nuremburg (and not against us either!). However he is an international and Scandanavians tend to adapt quickly in England.
As for Segundo Castillo, well, again he's an international footballer with 33 caps - but Ecuador aren't exactly dominating world football currently. That's not his fault though and he can only perform to the best of his ability for club and country and all reports on that count are positive (and my memories of the 2006 world cup against England for that matter). And he does play in a position where we would appear to have an urgent need.
So it may have been a Bank Holiday and a four day week for the majority of us, but it seems David Moyes has been working overtime to put things right. I'm sure the next four days will be equally as busy for him. They're four days that might, depending on who puts pen to paper, just shape our season.
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