Posts Tagged ‘Chelsea’
Given the noises being made by Luka Modric, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea, it’s time to write off any hope of signing the little Croatian, no matter how perfect a fit he would be for our midfied.
Firstly, Tottenham do not want to sell one of their two prized assets. Spurs are going to be going after Champions League qualification once more, and you’d think Gareth Bale and Modric would be absolutely integral to that. They’re not struggling for cash, or lacking of ambition, so why would they willingly sell? We’d have to absolutely break the bank to bring him in, and that leads us to the next problem.
It’s 24 hours since the final whistle blew at Stamford Bridge, and I am still absolutely buzzing about the result. Winning 1-0 there was absolutely beyond even my wildest dreams. I don’t think I found a single United blogger predicting that we would win. Most of us seemed to go for 1-1, and the rest seemed to settle for a good 2-1 defeat with an away goal.
That we did it AND got to enjoy the Chelsea fans being totally shafted by the referee in the last minute makes it all the sweeter. How does it feel boys, how the fuck does it feel?
Of course, it would be folly to get carried away with things. I can’t see Chelsea going the whole tie without scoring, which means that we’ll have to get another at Old Trafford. I had visions of Nani clipping that 1 on 1 over Cech as he raced through, and at 2-0 it would have been a completely different proposition, but Chelsea still need to score twice to win. They’re not going to want penalties. They’re still shit scared of them.
Still, when we look back on this performance we will remember it for one thing above all else – Michael Carrick’s emergence from the shadow cast by the boo-boys. Absolutely immense defensively, expansive, probing, and an absolutely perfect pass to Giggs in the build up to Rooney’s goal. If Michael Carrick isn’t the first name on the team-sheet in the run-in, then it better best be Nemanja Vidic.
I hope the irony of blaming the referee for the result is not lost on the Chelsea fans. They get the rub of the green match after match, year after year, and when they finally get one decision go against them, they all start bitching and moaning about how much of a disgrace it is. Well, sorry guys, welcome to our world. Besides, the foul was outside the box, even if no referee in the world is ever going to give a free kick in that situation. Penalties every time, as we saw against West Ham at the weekend.
Even without that, Chelsea didn’t really threaten beyond periods of extended pressure. their one flurry of post and two goal-line blocks just before half time, and the wonder save Edwin made from Fernando Torres.
Fernando Torres. The boy looks completely, utterly destroyed by the way his Chelsea career has started. Absolutely lost. The fans are on his back, he’s not sure that he has the support of his players or his manager, and he can’t even begin to see where his next goal is coming from. Since he last scored he’s hit the post, had goals disallowed, had shots cleared off the line, and seen Edwin claw out a header which, to be fair, was basically perfect. He must feel like going home every night, curling up into a little ball and dying.
His tepid performance made the decision to remove Drogba all the more puzzling. He was causing us all sorts of problems, and I was delighted to see the back of him.
Anyway, so what, he’s not our problem. Up front, we don’t have a problem. Wayne Rooney is once again firing on all cylinders, and looks almost back to his devastating best from last season. Dimitar Berbatov oozes class every time he comes on to the field and Javier Hernandez, even if he does struggle to make an impact in the more physical games, could score a goal at absolutely any moment.
Antonio Valencia doesn’t look like he’s been away. Likewise Park and, with Anderson scoring twice for the reserves this weekend, we have pretty much our full compliment of midfielders available. Just Fletcher out with his mystery virus.
This all bodes so, so well for the end of the season. Still, if we’re even going to start breating the t-word, we have to follow this up with a win at the weekend. However ecstatic I am with this result, I will be more pissed off than that if we drop points. With our fixtures, we simply cannot.
Our form is fantastic, though. I’m sure we won’t. Fingers crossed.
Thanks, Wayne Rooney, for scoring a brilliant hat-trick to salvage three lost points for us at West Ham. Considering how crap he’s been for most of this season, and the first 60 minutes of the game on Saturday, this performance helps to mend yet more of the damage that he did when he held us to ransom.
Not all of it, but more of it.
His reaction to his third goal exemplified exactly why I struggle to feel the same I used to about Wayne Rooney. Two moments of brilliance and a clinically taken penalty to turn a game we had done our best to lose completely on its head were immediately overshadowed by a juvenile, hostile and downright offensive outburst.
It’s not the swearing that I have a problem with. I don’t give a fuck what he says, although I appreciate that parents of young children may feel differently. I swear like a trooper on the football pitch myself. It’s the hate that fills Wayne, the hostility which he seems to reserve for absolutely everyone who isn’t Wayne Rooney, including his own supporters. He’s just such a hard man to love.
There is passion, and then there is aggression. Wayne’s celebration was so far over the line of aggression as to be almost untrue. Gone is the enthusiastic young goal machine from Liverpool who said he loved the club and did everything in his power to prove that to the fans. Instead, we have a self-interested, self-important snarling nutcase, rich beyond his wildest dreams and completely out of touch with the fans. He’s had a bad season both personally and professionally, but he’s started banging in goals again.
This is what makes the case of Wayne Rooney so difficult for me to get my head around. I want to love him again. I really, really do, especially after he single-handedly won us a game that we had no right to. I just can’t. I don’t feel like I have anything in common with him. Not even the love for Manchester United that we all take for granted.
The comparison between the classy, cultured and understated Dimitar Berbatov is staggering. Although Wayne snatched the headlines, both good and bad, the man that turned the game was Berba. I have never in my life seen a player so composed on the ball, so aware of his team-mates and so easy on the eye. Some of the things Berba does make me laugh out loud at the screen. As others have pointed out, there is absolutely no coincidence in that fact that all of our goals came with him on the pitch.
If the rumours doing the rounds today, that Berba will be allowed to leave for any offer over £20m, are true then I will break down and cry. I will literally fall to pieces where I am sitting.
Ryan Giggs was so good at left-back that, having missed the first minute of the second half when I flicked over to check the cricket score, I didn’t at first realise that Evra had gone off and Giggs had filled in. He was up and down the flank, an attacking outlet and defensively solid. Yet another top class performance from a player that I am going to miss so, so much when he is gone.
Arsenal are bottlers, pure and simple. Chelsea have now dropped one point too many and nobody else is even in the hunt. It’s a little premature to claim 19, because it could still all go horribly wrong, but this weekend’s results could barely have gone any better for us.
Bring on Chelsea. Surely it’s time to beat them again?
Udinese have confirmed that someone has bid E35m for their main man, Alexis Sanchez, who scored four goals away to Palermo at the weekend and is pretty awesome otherwise.
There are, as yet, no clues as to the identity of the bidder, but Manchester United are known to be long-term admirers of Sanchez, so could it be us? Who else could be bidding, and could afford to pay the dough?
Theory 1 – It’s Us
The most palatable of the possibilities is that Sir Alex Ferguson has decided he wants Sanchez and, as is his wont, is seeking to get the deal wrapped up early so that we’re not drawn into some bidding war at the 11th hour, only to lose and not have time to sign anyone else.
I’d love this because I fucking love Alexis Sanchez. I make no secret of the fact that I think he’s brilliant to watch and devastating on his day. Much like Ronaldo’s after the summer of 2006, his days are now becoming more and more frequent. He’s an absolute matchwinner.
Do we need him? The evidence would suggest so. Nani and Valencia are our only two options out wide, and athough the two are both brilliant, when one breaks down we have to make wholesale changes to our system to accomodate a more defensive outlet. Signing Sanchez would allow us to be more fluid when one of the two are out.
Where does he fit long-term? Well, Rooney is becomming a bigger dick by the day, and Berbatov, as brilliant as he is, is the wrong side of 30, so I imagine he will end up replacing one of these two, as you don’t want to waste a player as gifted as Sanchez on the wing. If we reverted to a 4-2-3-1 formation, as we have tinkered with in the past, he would play in the middle of the three.
Theory 2 – It’s Chelsea
If those fucking rent boys whip out their chequebook and sign one more top class player that I want, then I will seriously rampage down the Kings Road with a Kalashnikov shooting indiscriminately at passers by. It’s been beyond a joke since they got Joe Cole and Michael Essien.
Unfortunately, with Florent Malouda seemingly on the way down, it’s likely that they’ll need Sanchez to fill that gap. Drogba and Anelka will both be gone within two seasons, meaning Chelsea will have Torres and Kalou as striking options. Hardly devastating. They will stick Sanchez on the left, probably have Neymar or some shit to play on the right… It’s possible.
Theory 3 – It’s Man City
Theory 4 – It’s Real Madrid or Barcelona
Tenuous press reports about that his agent has confirmed that it’s a La Liga club that have bid. If so, boo, but who would go in for him? Valencia don’t have that sort of money, meaning it could only realistically be Barca or the Virus.
Barca have a very settled front three – witness the fate of January signing Affelay to see what happens when you try to break it up – and I can’t see them wanting to strengthen there. If I was Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola, I would be sitting on my arse in my gold-plated chair, smoking cigars and watching repeats of the A-Team, because they need to do absolutely nothing to improve that team.
Do the Virus really need Sanchez? Don’t they have enough forwards already? I’m sure they’re not planning on selling Ronaldo, so where would this leave the impressive Meszut Ozil? That said, transfer policy at the Bernabeu never makes much sense, so he could well be on his way there.
The dark horse here is Villareal. They’re doing very will this season, have Champions League money to spend, and could do with a bit of stardust in their side. Alexis Sanchez would represent a majour coup for them.
Theory 5 – Nobody has bid yet but Udinese want a bidding war
Udinese may have decided to cash in on their star man in the summer, but want to get the best price possible. So why not say that “Someone has offered Exxm for him” and wait for Chelsea, Man City and Real Madrid to start making silly offers.
It makes sense. It’s what I’d do if I were Udinese manager.
Yes, Luiz should have been off, yes, we should have had a penalty in the first half and yes, another fucking 50 50 decision goes against us.
Let’s not get carried away, though. This is nowhere near the disaster that losing at Wolves was, and we recovered from that well enough. Let’s put some perspective on things.
Manchester United haven’t won at Stamford Bridge since 2002. In that time, we’ve won 4 titles. It’s hardly the be all and end all of the entire season. Yes, we’re going to have to put up with more rentboy gloating, but it’s nothing we’re not used to. Besides, they don’t have a little 1 next to their teams name in the table. We do. So they can STFU.
Secondly, if I’d come to you on August 1st and told you that on March 1st, 7 months later, you’d have lost twice in the league, you’d both have been pretty happy with that and expected Chelsea away to have been one of those games. On that note, it’s not all bad.
Lastly, if we play like we did in the first half against most of the shit in this league, we’d be 2 or 3 up at half time. Home and dry.
As for the game, it was unfortunately typical United away. We did well in the first half, but then got absolutely overrun in the second half. Essien, I player I envy in the extreme, started to boss things, and Ramires looks ten times the shy, ineffective loser he did in the late summer. Put that against Scholes, Carrick and Fletch, stuck out on the right, and unfortunately there’s no contest.
Scholes needs a boss alongside him – that’s what we bought Hargreaves for – and Carrick is not a boss, he is a ball-playing centre mid doing a job in the holding role. It’s not his natural role, but he does alright. Pit that against Frank Lampard, who annoys me so, so much by being shit but still good, and Essien who would get into any team in the world, and there’s only ever going to be one side coming out on top.
The need for a boss is why we’ve been liked to players like Tiote. We’re absolutely crying out for one.
I’d also like to laud David Luiz. What a player he looks! Although he should have been sent off, he was dominant, composed, imposing physically (some United fans would call it bullying, but when Vida does it it’s fine) and took his goal well. He brings the ball out of defence with the composure and intent that Rio at his best does, and Smalling shows signs of doing.
Difference is that we don’t have £xxm or roubles or whatever to go and spend on the finished article. Penalty aside (which was unlucky, he just got caught in the wrong place at the wrong time) Smalling was again superb. He could well become the player Luiz looks to be.
Torres still looks lost. Never mind what the cockney bastards on Sky think, he still looks woefully short of form and touch, and barely threatened the goal. Drogba, a player I despise, showed more in his short cameo than Torres has since he joined the club.
So, overall, the same old problems came to haunt us again, but we shouldn’t be too disheartened. We need to put this game behind us and get on with our season, because we’re yet to see how Arsenal react to losing the League Cup. They WILL drop more points – we need to make sure we don’t. We are still in the driving seat, and 19 is just a couple of months away.
It’s not snowing anymore, and that means that, this time, the rentboys have nowhere to run or hide. Manchester United are heading to the bridge tonight, and I think that we’re going to do them.
I wasn’t this confident before the Arsenal game we won 1-0, or any of the City / Liverpool games we’ve played this season. I tend to err on the side of caution, expecting us to draw most of these big games.
Not so this time out, against an out-of-sorts Chelsea team who lately have been behaving like even bigger tossers than usual. Not content with signing the greatest ladyboy ever to play football for far too much, and pissing off their main man in the process, they have continued to play shit and plunged new depths of behaviour.
Carlo Ancelotti is clinging on to the reigns, no more in control than a cowboy over a rodeo bull, as the players run rough-shod over his rule, like the self-centered and entitled arsewipes that they are. In scenes so incredibly ludicrous I at first thought they were biting satire, Ashley Cole actually shot a work experience student with an air rifle this week. That’s right. Ashley Cole shot someone.
Of course, you’d never know, because Wayne Rooney also ebowed someone on a football pitch within the past few days. This, clearly, is a far bigger crime than shooting someone (and attempting to hide the incident from the police and hospitals…) and worthy of all the column inches it has been given.
A crime that you or I would get jailed for is simply swept under the carpet. Just like that. No wonder the rentboys behave like dicks. They’re positively encouraged to by their management. Remember John Terry’s “charity” tours?
Anyway, the game. Torres is going to fancy his chances of once again bending over Vidic and fucking him sideways. I don’t think he’ll have the same joy he’s previously had, however. Vida is on an imperious run of form, and with the fresh and confident Chris Smalling alongside him, I think they will have enough between them to snuff him out.
Anelka is the one I’m worried about. He seems to be doing well and, if anything, Torres’ arrival has given him more space from which to profit. I don’t expect him to be afforded this space tonight.
Fergie has been playing Gibson lately, which to me gives the biggest indication that he’s not intending to play him tonight. I have also been nonchalantly saying that the defence picks itself then seeing O’Shea preferred to Rafael. I’m not John’s biggest fan, but he’s done well recently and can now be classed as “experienced”. I see no reason that he won’t start again. That leaves Vidic, Smalling and Evra elsewhere.
We’re almost certainly going here in a 4-5-1, with Scholes, Carrick and Fletcher playing. That leaves Nani on the right and, whilst we’ve still got injuries and Giggs is doubtful, Rooney on the left with Berba up front.
The only other option available would be to bring Gibson in for Fletcher, or put Nani on the left, Fletcher on the right and play 4-4-2, but since when did we play 4-4-2 in the big away games? I’ve probably also called the right-back position wrong again, but there we go.
I expect Chelsea to set up as they have been of late, stringing five across the midfield, albeit with one of those being Anelka playing in a very advanced role. The Drog won’t start, because with the shit he’s been talking this week Ancelotti surely won’t e able to bow to player power, because that would send the message that he’s completely lost his team.
Although John Terry and David Luiz are yet to settle as a center-back pairing, the same could be said of Vidic and Smalling, so this isn’t particularly an advantage we have. Ashley Cole, tosser that he is, is also a very good left back who will do his best to silence Nani. Because of this, the way that Ivanovic handles Rooney, and the performance of Berba (should he get service) will be absolutely key to deciding this game.
I can’t see us losing. Perhaps another draw. I doubt it will be goal-less though. With Chelsea’s season in disarray, this is all that’s left for them to play for unless they can avoid Barcelona in the Champions League. They’re going to be up for it. They’re goint to come after our blood.
Five Cantonas Prediction
We’re going to suck up everything they throw at us early, hit them on the break, and come out 3-1 winners. I’m THAT confident.
The big news yesterday was that Fernando Torres has finally ended his long-term unrequited relationship with Roman Abramovic and signed for Chelsea. This has been on the cards for about 18 months, but has finally come about. King Kenny obviously couldn’t persuade him that Liverpool were going to be challenging for the title any time soon, which isn’t surprising since they haven’t won the league in the Premiership era. Read the rest of this entry »