October has ended and November is upon us. With a new month, fresh challenges arrive for Liverpool FC and Brendan Rodgers. A hearty haul of points in October has been gathered with considerable ease and a dollop of disappointment yet this autumn/fall month continues a start full of promise. As November beckons, will Liverpool experience a harsh gust of reality or a continuation of a revolution, no...an evolution?
October extinguished itself in a rush of howling winds and driving rain and November arrived, cold as frozen iron, with hard frosts every morning and icy drafts that bit at exposed hands and faces.
In a month where the wind blows colder and the temperatures drop faster, ETW's crystal balls reveal a trip to the league leaders. As our current standing was unexpected, so too is the identity of the Premier League's overlords. If it was not previously clear to the good people who populate the comment sections here, ETW is quite the Arsenal sympathiser and Wenger acolyte. Such respect does not touch the stratosphere within which affections for Liverpool reside but there is no doubt that if Liverpool cannot triumph over all domestically then Arsenal would not be an unenviable second option. However, anything but glory for Liverpool is a strenuous digestive exercise and an experience that only sinks one's heart no matter the season or the year.
One two-part question staunch comrades, haterade imbibers, future delurkers, and infrequent visitors. What will happen if Daniel Sturridge or Luis Suarez fail to score in any of the matches in November? Will bitter winds assault our facial expressions or do you envisage smiles to form at the sight of the unexpected?
AS Roma recorded the best ever start in Serie A while Napoli and Juventus remained within touch of the leaders. American international Michael Bradley came off the bench to score a late winner to help Roma make history. Roma's dream start has not been made in the face routine fodder for Serie A's cannon. Parma and Inter Milan's sole home defeats have come at Roma's hands. In fact, Inter's only loss in Serie A has been against the Giallorossi and Rafa Benitez's I Ciucciarelli have been making strides, Roma ensured that Napoli would suffer as Inter did. 9 games. 9 wins. 23 goals. 1 conceded. 5 points in front of any rival. Roma fans must be at their most ebullient for a long time and could this season match that Scudetto of 2001 under Fabio Capello?
AC Milan's struggles but Max Allegri has confirmed the impending January signings of the coveted Keisuke Honda and Adil Rami. The Rossoneri have notable problems in defensive organisation as the 18-time champions appear far too easy to play against. A few instances of failing to protect a lead has halted progress but the defeat against Parma displayed some battling qualities as Allegri's side came back from two nil down but losing the game in the last minute makes the rest seem quite trite indeed.
Inter and Fiorentina in fourth and fifth only separated by goal difference. AC Milan are further back in tenth too and if Max Allegri can find solutions to some of AC Milan's problems then there could be some fierce competition for places in Serie A's top spots. Italy could benefit from having strong representation in the Europa League as the national coefficient desperately needs clubs to progress in all European competitions.
No Ibrahimovic goal this weekend but what do you do when Ibracadabra cannot be called upon to pull a rabbit or four out of a hat when you're two nil down and facing ten men? Wait for Edinson Cavani of course and hope Matuidi scores in the last minute. That's exactly what occurred as PSG secured a dramatic draw at St Etienne to return to the Ligue 1's highest peak after Monaco won at home against hapless Olympique Lyonnais.
Marseille suffered a third straight defeat in Ligue 1 at home to Reims but the coach retains the confidence of his superiors, which is their fifth straight defeat in all competitions. Élie Baup oversaw a bright start in domestic competition and the club still sits in sixth position even with such perilous form of late. Results in the Champions League is not as worrying considering the esteemed opposition that Marseille must contend with but domestic fortunes must improve with considerable haste. Saturday's afternoon trip to Rennes offers an opportunity to redress the poverty in recent results.
At least Marseille fans can look at Lyon's wretched fortunes to offer solace at this time. Just three wins in eleven all season and fourteenth in the league by virtue of goal difference. Jean-Michel Aulas and Rémi Garde have some serious work to do.
There's going to be some rain in November but let's hope it doesn't fall too heavily around Liverpool FC.
Guns N' Roses - November Rain