Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Seeking an effective metaphor for Babel and Dossena trying to run the overlap down the left flank: A final word on the double derby

It's three days late, sure, but processing the derby in the Cup from Sunday was more complicated than I thought. Derby day, whenever it is, can be a struggle, at best. The nature of how Liverpool failed to win both matches was particularly grueling, however. After three hours of football, we got this flicker of amazing from Torres to help keep our hopes up.

But in that Cup match on Sunday, what we mostly got was an Everton eager to force the action onto the flanks, where Kuyt and Arbeloa were clumsy and impotent on the right while Babel and Dossena combined along the left to provide conclusive proof why Rafa hardly ever picks them for those roles in the League. Lordy, was it miserable.

At the time, I commented to some friends at the bar that they resembled the famous cartoon magpies Heckle and Jeckle, their combined efforts trying to run the overlap offering only cartoon laughs. Then my good buddy Wikipedia reminded me Heckle and Jeckle often started each adventure appearing hapless, only to outsmart their foes in the end before winding up victorious.

That doesn't describe Babel and Dossena at all, so I'm going with Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Babel and Dossena are interchangeable for either role, so I'll leave it to you to assign the parts.

Luckily, Liverpool has a couple games here to figure this out, the replay not being until a week from today at Goodison. Everton is headed into the grinder here, home to Arsenal today and away to United on Saturday. I only have my hunch to go by, but the Toffees seem like they'll have little left to offer in seven days. They were massively up for the two derby matches, but unless Moyes plays a weakened side for some reason today or Saturday, I don't see how Everton survives this string of tests in their current form – even with Arteta and Fellaini set to return.

Who knows? I've been wrong a bunch this year, except for when I refused to get excited about Liverpool's fast start. Once I began to believe, well, things have been all over the place and my brain is scrambled. That's enough on the derby. Back to the League.

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