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Peter Osgood on Sunday!? - 07/11/2003

Peter Osgood on Sunday!?
Credit to him for keeping his cool
   Adrian Mutu
   Jesper Gronkjaer
   Glen Johnson
   Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink
   Eidur Gudjohnsen
   Hernan Crespo
   Claudio Ranieri
   Newcastle United

Both Chelsea and Newcastle had excellent mid-week wins on foreign soil and now face each at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. It’s a tight game to call, Newcastle have been in good form recently and will be buoyed by their visit to the capital when they played excellently at Fulham. But Chelsea have home advantage and had an extra day’s rest – and a bigger squad. It’ll be tight and I doubt whether there’ll probably be only a goal in it.

I went to Rome to cover the Chelsea game and I really enjoyed the whole experience. The City of Rome is wonderful, as is the Olympic Stadium, indeed the football played was befitting of the city and the stadium. Lazio aren’t the usual Italian team – they like to attack and I think Ranieri realised this and decided to take the game to them. He got it right, and he also got it right in selecting Crespo – a decision that I must admit to have found bemusing. Jim Smith used to spot things in training and occasionally throw a player into a game who you’d not expected to feature. It’s like a sixth sense, and perhaps Ranieri saw that in Crespo?

As for the Mihajlovic spitting incident, it’s was disgusting and the eight game ban reflects the type of indiscretion that spitting is. Mutu did well not to react, and also think that Ranieri did well to sub the Romanian in order to protect him from any subsequent Lazio aggression. In sending Gronkjaer onto the pitch, he gave the side width that would tire Lazio’s ten men – sensible tactics. The sending off of Glen Johnson was an obvious low point – and I bet the youngster felt the wrath of his manager. It was such a stupid, unnecessary and petulant sending off – and virtually in the last minute of the game.

As for which strikers will face Newcastle on Sunday…I’ve given up making predictions as during the past weeks on Radio Five Live I’ve been made to look stupid!! Mutu, Crespo, Jimmy, Gudjonhsen, or Peter Osgood – well let’s just say two out of the five will start!!!

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