Wednesday, 26 January 2011

#52 - Drama

After a first half of football that could have resulted in another blog like I posted in January 2010, United cunningly waited, like Homer Simpson boxing (pictured), for Blackpool to wear themselves out after going 2 goals ahead as well as squandering other chances to make a bigger margin. Blackpool even had a penalty denied by the referee before perhaps tiring themselves out.

Craig Cathcart, ex-United reserves captain, who for some reason never got a game and was sold for apparently 28x cheaper then Charlie Adam's corners (of which he scored from). MC GM DJ Campbell got the second after a clever flick-on (similar to O'Shea's assist for Berbatov's first goal against Birmingham) by the disappointing Darron Gibson.

Sir "Evergreen" Ryan Giggs - in a brilliant advert for his new fitness DVD - came on for Gibson for the second half, adding more to United's play. More than the very little of Gibson at least. It's harsh on Gibson, and I rarely like to get on a United player's back (except maybe when we had Kieran Richardson) but this surely has to be his last season to impress. Hernandez came on later for the below-par Wayne Rooney and not long after the goals for United began to flow. 71 minutes gone as Berbatov pounced on Fletcher's cross. Just 3 minutes later and Chicharito scored after an excellent bit of control from Ryan Giggs, who then put in the through-ball for Hernandez to score from. And in the 88th minute, Scholes ball to Berbatov, who stayed calm to smash it home. Not before 10 minutes of extra time, which many ABUs might refer to as "Fergie time" had United not already been winning at that point.

Rafael da Silva's serious looking injury, followed by extra sad close up camera shots of Fabio da Silva - isn't too bad. The brilliant youngster may only miss Saturday's FA Cup match against Southampton which he probably would have been rested for anyway.

It was important for United to get rid of one of the games in hand we've been so complacent about since the league table started looking so good after Chelsea's large blip. Putting us 10 points clear of Chelsea (although yet to play them, twice), 6 points ahead of Manchester City (with a game in hand) and 5 points clear over Arsenal. It's looking good already, but there's still a long way to go. Oh, and if you'd like to know, we're 22 points clear of Liverpool.

Danny Drinkwater has been recalled from Cardiff City. The United staff are apparently big on the young lad's talents, and loaned him to Cardiff to relinquish his thirst for first team football but he's only managed 12 appearances for the Welsh club.

In spite of United not going to sign anyone, we're still linked with dozens of players of the transfer window. Luc Castaignos from Feyenoord, and Romelu Lukaku (here by now always referred to as "Lulu"). In a slightly more surreal take, United (and other clubs) have been linked with two players from Galatico club Dulwich Hamlet. According to Sky Honestly-We're-Not-Sexist-Look-At-Our-Pretty-Female-Presenters Sports, Quade Taylor and Paul McCallum are both under the microscope for Dulwich's blockbuster game against that scummy lot over at Romford FC.Interestingly, the game will be played in the Isthmian League Cup, which is also the Championship Manager Cup. Meaning players who lift the trophy may well get a free copy of the game, which they can then sell in exchange for Football Manager instead.

So until the game against Southampton on Saturday let's turn our attention to Andy Gray and Richard Keys and laugh. We should laugh a lot. Although, in the mists of all of this, especially with Richard Keys' using the phrase "Smash It" many have forgotten just what Jamie Redknapp once said about Cristiano Ronaldo.

This blog has been brought to you by;
  • Tooth ache and then good people of Nurofen.
  • Feeling bored by FIFA 11.
  • Annoyed to have been snubbed by the Oscars. Again.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Other Stuff II

I'm always trying to write more, so I did. Here's my bit of United's season up until right this very second I posted it.

Manchester United: The (Possible) Season of Being Average, Yet Invincible
for The Oval Log.

As always. READ IT! If you want me to write things because I can, then tell me.

The Oval Log is well worth checking out too.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

#51 - Easy

So, the United vs. Liverpool rivalry rolls on, except last weekend it came and went fairly unspectacularly. Once again, a team pretty much sort-of let us win without us really having to get out of first gear, or even neutral. We pretty much didn't even get in the car, but just search the directions then decided to call a taxi instead. Still, Liverpool (pictured) made it even easier then most teams this season by conceding a penalty and then getting their captain sent off before whining and going home to bounce back to a, er, 2-1 defeat away to Blackpool.

Was it a penalty? Probably, yes. Well, by the law, yes. For some reason in England there's a culture of what many commentators say "could have got away with it [a yellow]". Yes Agger and Gerrard could have both gotten away with it if it wasn't for those pesky rules! Agger did make contact with Dimitar Berbatov, and did not win the ball. Penalty. Doesn't matter if Berbatov was too lazy to stay on his feet and maybe possibly score/assist anyway. It's how the game is.

Gerrard's was a certain red though. Jim Beglin's not-at-all-bias "I feel a yellow should have sufficed" after ITV had already screened a few replays, which I assume he did not see. In fact, many replays later he moved slightly up the scale to "he has a case there, the referee". Yes, Jim. His main case is that the tackle was textbook for a red card offence. Two feet lunge off the ground. Maybe if Michael Carrick's leg was shattered all over the pitch Jim may have been inclined to think it was warranting a red card. It's not the aftermath that should decide the punishment, it's what action is actually done.

Besides those nothing incidents, possibly given too much screen time for an otherwise average game - Liverpool looked a shadow not just of their former selves, but also of a shadow of many other teams as well. Not that I *enjoy* sticking the knife into Liverpool, I bloody love it.

So, besides the League Cup (which we're not even too arsed about when we win it) United remain unbeaten since the Chelsea game at the back end of last season. Not too shabby.

Goalkeeper's have been hogging pages of the internet lately, with Anders Lindegaard arriving and being on the bench against Liverpool, Tommy K trying to push to become the team's goalkeeper and Rene Adler telling the world his love for the club. They just never shut up those goalkeepers, do they?

Speaking of not shutting up, Sky Sports News is delighted when David Beckham does ANYTHING they can get their hands on. Giving no interest to Serie A or MLS as Sky never does, when Becks comes back to England they feast around him like a group of hungry ducks around a lovely thick pack Warburton's* bread delivered by an old lady who gets caught up in the feeding frenzy. Or something like that. So David Beckham, who always likes to say he would never play for another English club, may well be on the way to Spurs. Should we care? Not really. We should cheer him, but for the most part, as much was we love him, he's had his day. Which is a sad thing to say considering what a legend he was for us. Sometimes he even made the England national team likable, no mean feet indeed.

(((*Wikipedia (as of posting) has an amusing unsourced "fact" of Warburton's saying they won a Bread World Cup (better than the Rugby World Cup) against 32 other types of bread. Now firstly, that would be mean 33 teams (of bread?!) - which doesn't make sense in a knockout-round way. And secondly, who would bother? Although, thirdly, I can understand why it would have won.)))

The press, despite Fergie's statement that we probably won't sign anyone, are still linking us with... anyone. Southampton's brilliantly named Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (apparently not a 19th century philosopher, despite the name) is apparently on his way to a bigger club. Don't pretend you have insightful thoughts on whether he's good enough, you don't know yet! He has though, been described as the "next Theo Walcott" which is a lazy description in itself. I can't wait for the "next Jamie O'Hara"s or "next Gavin McCann"s to start crawling out of the woodwork in a few years time. The "next" tag should purely be used, used again, and used yet again for Diego Maradona. Isn't that right, Aimar? Messi? Tevez? Aguero? Saviola? D'Alessandro? And the many other players missed out.

Speaking of people not knowing if a player is good or not yet... Federico Macheda! The "hard bastard" as Fergie has once described him has gone away to Sampdoria on loan until the end of the season and managed an assist on his first substitute appearance for the club. Kiko Macheda is said by some United fans to be: no-way near United quality, because he's frankly not won any ballon d'ors yet and he's already 16 years too old for us anyway...... or by some United fans as: deserving another 5-10 seasons in the Reserves just to really see if he is ready or not to cut it. I exaggerate, but on the internet, you can't really tell anyway.

So what next for United? A game away to probably-David-Beckham-less-Spurs. Which will be a hugely tough game and perhaps a major turning (or unturning?) point in the title race. And it's a sunday so Sky Sports will be on the very best to hyperbole it as GAME OF THE FUCKING MILLENNIUM.

This blog has been brought to you by;
  • Tea & biscuits.
  • Louis CK
  • Wanting a real job.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

#49 - Shrug / #50 Rossobianchi Awards 2010

The snow in Manchester has finally melted. It's a fair amount warmer and no one fears instant death by slipping on ice anymore as they step out of the house. This isn't caused by global warming this time. No, thousands and thousands (millions?) of Manchester United fans (pictured) collectively shrugged their shoulders over the holiday season as they saw the club somehow hold a fantastic place in the league table. It's a bizarre situation that is making most people rewatch the league thus far to find out how exactly it's happened.

Or perhaps, on the run on to his 69th birthday and beyond, Sir Alex Ferguson has finally discovered that playing good football isn't actually necessary at all.

After a dodgy patch in Birmingham recently, culminating in an unlucky draw against Birmingham City and a lucky win against West Brom, United now stand top of the league, level on points with Manchester City, but with two games in hand over them as well as a superior goal difference.

Gary Neville too, ever the apprentice, shows that you no longer need to be able to play football to play football. It's genius, really.

But the fad of not needing to play football should come in handy actually, as our next game is against Stoke City Rugby League Club.

Moving on. It's a new year. Which means wasted breath and thought on New Year's Resolutions and pointless transfer speculation for an entire month, with United doing no major purchases in January since 2006. Now, as I do my best to put tabloid papers out of business I can tell you this from my "sources". No Ronaldinho, no Kaka, no David Beckham. No anybody! Except possibly a current nobody, who might, or might not, be a somebody in 2-3 years.

In fact, more likely is the excellently named Magnus Wolff Eikrem on his way back to Norway, striaght into the arms of the ever-lovely Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Without ever being able to make an impact at the club, except when sitting on the substitute bench a few times.

Federico Macheda too, one excelling on the subs bench could well be on the way out on loan to either Lazio, Parma, Fiorentina, Juventus, or whoever Darren Ferguson manages next.

A recent interesting quote from Sir Alex Ferguson regarding a mystery player's agent demand an entire block of flats for a condition of an incoming player. We can only assume this player in question wasn't Nemanja Vidic, as t
here is no block of flats in Manchester stretching from the ground to the moon.


Hurry up and win the Asian Cup, Ji!


So, everyone, put on your penguin suits, it's time for the Rossobianchi Awards 2010 (prize pictured). Last year, only one award was given out, but this time I'm going with two. Simply because all it takes for me to do them is to write and think a little bit. Not even that much.

Rossobianchi Player of the Year 2010:
Originally the award was to be given to Dimitar Berbatov, for going from flop and classy bastard to simply classy bastard. The Berb has had a great 2010, especially the beginning of this season, ending this current year top goalscorer in the Premier League, and in our hearts, probably. Unfortunately though, Dimitar Berbatov told us all not to vote for him anymore. Well, actually he only meant in Bulgaria, but I rounded up to include the world. Berbasex is too classy for awards anyway.

So instead the award goes to another player who has stepped up in 2010, massively so too, Nani. The owner of the best statue ever is no doubt delighted with his award and would like to thank god, or whoever else. Maybe his agent. Definitely his teammates and manager. And without a doubt he'd like to thank me for giving him this award. Nani's assists in particular have been exception with 15 last season and 11 already so far this season.
Runner Up: Nemanja Vidic.
(2009 Winner - Patrice Evra)

Rossobianchi Obligatory Award for Patrice Evra 2010:

Winner: Patrice Evra.
Runner Up: Ji-Sung Park
Third Place: Rafael da Silva

So there it is! It was a glitzy night, and all the stars were out but the Rossobianchi awards still produced a homely atmosphere. So, here's 2011, where my waste of space resolution is to try and update this more.

This blog has been brought to you by;
  • Enjoying Chelsea slip ups.
  • Trying to not look in the mirror until the excess Christmas eating is gone.
  • Goading people who actually think the world will end next year.