A LOCAL MP once famously commented that a week is a long time in politics.
Brendan Rodgers may just be about to find out if that applies equally to football. In the next seven days he faces three games which, while not exactly shaping our season, will stand as a fair indicator of the progress made in recent weeks when at least weve become hard to beat, and looked a good side going forward for short periods of time.
These three games will provide a stiff test of the new-found resilience and attacking verve displayed at Chelsea; and though I missed the Wigan game through attending a wedding my bride insisted I attend by all accounts the second half was a blistering demonstration of pace and enterprise with the goals to prove it.
If were that bothered about progressing in the Europa League, and Id suggest we should be, tonights visit of Young Boys is an opportunity not just for sports page headline writers or tasteless comedians, but a chance to see how we respond when the pressure is on.
A home win tonight and a similar result for Anzhi against Udinese and we can avoid a nervous trip to Italy in a fortnights time and rest the first team for the game at West Ham on the Sunday. After the first game in Bern, which resembled a trip to the circus more than a football match, we might have had this game down as the home banker of the group, but a surprising double over Udinese has suddenly transformed the Swiss into an altogether different proposition.
If I was Brendan Id be tempted to start the big boys tonight and see how the game goes before introducing some of the fringe players.
Next up will be the trip to Swansea on Sunday, a match which the manager will be keen to win for more than one reason.
The League Cup defeat cant have been easy to take for him, or us for that matter, and being the proud man he is hell want to even the score with Brian Laudrup. Weve yet to beat Swansea since they came back up, and hell want to show an improvement over the frankly pathetic show we put on in Kennys last game earlier in the year.
Personal goals apart, a win here against a side enjoying a recent revival, probably triggered by their win at Anfield, would do much to lift Kopites spirits, as well as making Jamie Carragher look slightly less ridiculous in his assessment of our Champions League hopes.
And then to Spurs next Wednesday. Weve lost on our last four league visits there, plus a League Cup Tie, and last year we finished up with nine men and a 4-0 spanking. At present theyve got troubles of their own, and the debate over whether AVB is a tactical genius or a false prophet rumbles on.
Spurs fans are not the most tolerant bunch, and if we can frustrate Tottenham early on, it wont be long before theyre practically cheering for us. Itd be nice to show Sigurdsson what hes missing, though Clint Dempsey might have to be restrained from putting on a red shirt if hes allowed near our dressing room.
Lets just hope that, in a weeks time, Brendan is commenting on a continuing upward curve, rather than reflecting on the parallels between the fickle worlds of politics and football.